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A movie directed by Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly

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Only Bill Murray could make a bad combover rocking

  • Apr 20, 2011
Seriously, look at that hair during the tournament when Bill Murray is holding up that ball, tell me he doesn't look awesome inspite of looking stupid.

Kingpin tells the story of gross, desperate or sleazy people all in the world of bowling and even hits another point on this where our protagonist tells his naive friend "Welcome to my Kingdom" and the friend remarks how he's never been around so many great athletes, meanwhile said athletes are smoking, eating pizza and are generally obese.  If any one of them tried running a mile they would have a heart attack.  It would be too easy to slap bowling in the face except that any sport or career has it's share of seedy and starving people with it's own types to poke fun at.

Woody Harrelson stars as Roy Munson, a boy raised from birth bowling with his dad and after winning a championship against rival Ernie McCracken (Bill Murray), Ernie decides to take Roy under his wing and hustle for some extra cash.  Things don't go well and Roy loses a hand to angry players.  Flash forward about 20 years and Roy is washed up with little cash with a hook hand replacing his missing one and selling supplies to bowling alleys.  Glamor.

One day Roy meets Ishmael, an Amish man who goes bowling in secret as to not alert his family.  After getting Ishmael's families approval to take him on he road to earn money and save the family farm (and make Roy some money on the side) the two are off to Reno for a bowling tournament.  Along the way are some classic gross out moments including a urinal, bull semen, dental floss and more.  If it spits craps or squirts, theres a good chance that a joke about it is here.

I think the thing that surprised me is that the movie maintains it's juvenile humor AND keeps a heart with Roy admitting his failures in life, a growing relationship with Roy, Ishmael and Claudia; another hustler they meet on the run from an abusive boyfriend and even with an ending that isn't THE happiest it's still satisfying to see.  Plus it helps that Blues Traveler in Amish gear pound out a song on an outdoor stage with Amish people stage diving.

A bust at the box office but finding it's place on video, Kingpin is a winner and Woody Harrelson and Randy Quaid make a great team.  It does have lulls and it could be too gross for some people but Kingpin isn't a total 7-10 split.
Only Bill Murray could make a bad combover rocking Only Bill Murray could make a bad combover rocking Only Bill Murray could make a bad combover rocking Only Bill Murray could make a bad combover rocking

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April 21, 2011
loved that opening scene too!!
April 21, 2011
Oh yeah. I liked this movie and short of The Big Lebowski, I don't know any other movies with bowling in them. Vanessa Angel was cute and not a terrible actress either. I wonder what happened to her.
April 21, 2011
Angel I believe stars on several b-movies such as Sabretooth and one with some kind of monster mutant fish. Thanks!
April 21, 2011
You mean The Donald doesn't? :P Love this movie. Great post!
April 21, 2011
Not while holding up a bowling bowl with green lasers in the alley he doesn't. Thanks.
April 21, 2011
April 21, 2011
I loved this movie! I used to live in Reno and let me tell you, they are dead serious about bowling there and the tournament that they show in the film is a huge event! I had no clue until I saw it with my own eyes LOL Great review :)
April 21, 2011
That's what I've heard about Reno and bowling. That scene I reference in the movie about the "atheletes" smoking and eating though does have to be one of my favorite scenes. Howard Stern even made a remark once about bowling: "What kind of sport is that, you can eat and drink while you do it." I like bowling but I think of it more of a game instead of a sport.
April 21, 2011
Oh yeah, it's definitely a game to me as well!
More Kingpin reviews
Quick Tip by . April 20, 2011
Promising 70's bowling prodigy is on the outs and finds an Amish bowler with promise and takes him to Reno to win big money. Farrelly Brothers take the stupid/gross comedy they pioneered with Dumb and Dumber and push it further and grosser here.
About the reviewer
John Nelson ()
Ranked #8
Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … more
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About this movie


The team behindDumb and DumberandThere's Something About Mary--two really stupid, gross-out films that worked and were quite funny--also made this really stupid, gross-out comedy that doesn't work and isn't funny at all. Woody Harrelson stars as a former bowling phenomenon with a hook for a hand, and Randy Quaid is an Amish farmer with a hidden talent for pins. The two join forces and get a sexy business partner (Vanessa Angel), and the film starts looking more and more like a jokey variation ofThe Color of Money.The Color of Money, however, didn't feature jokes about having oral sex with a hideous landlady or defecating in a sink or dragging disgusting stuff out of one's teeth with a length of floss. Bill Murray provides some much-needed relief as Harrelson's ex-partner turned rival. How come this stuff is obnoxious while the equally perverse punch lines ofThere's Something About Maryare a riot? It's a great mystery, all right, but there it is.--Tom Keogh
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Dumb and Dumber (1994)

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