Sometimes, after wading through a lot of Very Serious Films at Hot Docs and enduring multiple crying headaches as a result, you need to source an emotional power boost to rev your spirit, recharge your engine and lighten the mood. I’ve already told you to check out Set!, and here’s another lighthearted gem to give you some extra life.
Cannon Arm and the Arcade Quest (6/8)
It’s not hard to figure out why this cinematic ode to friendship, video games and the pursuit of one’s dream was selected for Hot Docs, as it’s a refreshingly fun respite for audiences amid a wealth of heavier, more emotionally taxing fare. Directed by Mads Hedegaard, it’s the story of Kim “Cannon Arm,” a bespectacled Danish grandfather of indeterminate age, who sports a killer mullet, loves Iron Maiden, and has a singular goal: to set a new world record by playing his favorite arcade game (Gyruss) for 100 hours straight. (That’s more than four full days and nights, people!) From the opening strains of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, Hedegaard crafts a lively, engaging adventure, replete with ‘80s music, fabulously creative effects and interstitials, and a rag-tag group of wildly watchable friends, who undertake this mission with all (well, most) of the focus, seriousness and dedication of prepping Rocky before his next big title fight. And, before you scoff, remember that the reality is: staring at a videogame screen for 100 hours (heck, even for 48 hours) can cause all manner of physical and psychological damage, so it’s not a mission to be undertaken lightly or by the (literally) faint of heart. Never dull and always fun, and with a fantastic editing job by Mark Bukdahl, Cannon Arm is one of those surefire crowd-pleasers that Hot Docs audiences will love. (Pro tip: Don’t turn off the film too soon — keep watching through the credits!)