One of my favorite movies of last year was Wreck It Ralph; as a former video game enthusiast, I appreciated all the inside jokes and it was really nice to walk out of a theater completely delighted after seeing a film. I see a lot of movies in a year, but most of them are pretty serious or a lot of people die in them. Wreck-It Ralph was just straight up fun and provided a nice change of pace from my steady diet of moody independent film, gory horror films, earnest documentaries and explosive action movies. Wreck -It Ralph was so delightful that it didn’t even bother me that I was the only person in the theater who was not there with a child; parents will occasionally give adults in a kids’ movie the side eye, but if they did so during Wreck-It Ralph I was far too wrapped up in the film to notice or care.
True to my word in my original review, I immediately pre-ordered the Blu-ray of the film from amazon.com and it was magically delivered to my office yesterday. Its arrival pretty much made my day, which is either a testament to how great this movie is or a sad comment on how my day was going in general (or perhaps a combination of the two). The movie alone would have been enough to lift my spirits, but yesterday the marketing team behind Wreck-It Ralph also released the thirty minute short “Garlan Hulse: Where Potential Lives,” a delightful faux-documentary in the style of the 2007 very real documentary King of Kong.
I think I’ve mentioned King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters before on the blog, but it is one of my all-time favorite documentaries. The film chronicles one man’s quest to obtain the world high score on Donkey Kong, as well as profiling the man who is the current record holder and is so perfect for the story that the documentary is trying to tell that you have a hard time believing he isn’t straight from central casting. My favorite documentaries tend to be those that elevate a small story or obscure event and make them feel important and riveting; it’s easy to make a gripping story about war or the AIDS crisis, but if you can make me get emotionally invested in something as mundane as the high score on an old arcade game you have really done something. King of Kong does that – even if you don’t know anything about Donkey Kong, you can’t help but totally get sucked into this underdog’s journey for a flickering moment of relatively obscure greatness. If you haven’t seen this film, I can’t recommend it enough.
“Garlan Hulse: Where Potential Lives” applies the King of Kong model to the fictional account of a one-time Fix-It Felix, Jr. high scorer trying to regain his crown. It’s like the people at Disney were in a laboratory trying to dream up the perfect short to appeal to me. This is so in my wheelhouse that I can barely stand it and may be the more effective use of a mesh shirt since that recent episode of Girls. You can watch the entire 30 minute film online:
As documented, I’m not the world’s biggest Disney fan, but between Wreck-It Ralph, this faux documentary and the short Paperman, they may be slowly bringing me into the fold.