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Feb 5, 2008

Recycling Rocks! (Movies that Roll)

I could watch Seinfeld reruns probably until the end of time. Somehow, the exploits of Jerry, Kramer, George and Elaine just don't get old. Likewise, the writing featured here on Blog Cabins ages like a fine wine, somehow getting better with time. At the same time, I'm swamped at work and short on reviews - so, in the spirit of television syndication, I present to you a repackaged BC post that I'm sure you won't remember, either because you weren't yet a reader here, or because you just have a bad memory. Here is "Fletch's Favored Five: Movies That Roll" (originally posted 4/13/07) in its original form:

It's high time to unveil a new feature here in the Blog Cabins. While Top 10 lists are highly cliched and terribly unoriginal, "Favored Five" are wildly clever and wholly unique. Therefore, I shall periodically choose a topic of my liking and tell you which are the top, er, favored films that fit into said topic. (If you like, you can suggest a topic for me to cover by emailing me.)

Today's topic: Movies that Roll

I don't know if you've noticed, but movies that either revolve around or feature bowling are much better than those that don't. Ok, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but there certainly seems to be some magic brought on by the scent of cigarettes and beer and the sounds of pins crashing - just go here for more evidence. For the purposes of this article, I'm only looking at films that feature bowling, but do not revolve around it completely (which, to my knowledge, only knocks out Kingpin and possibly some documentaries about real-life bowlers).

5. Pleasantville: There's really not a lot of bowling going on here, but the scene in the bowling alley is pretty key, and features a pissed off J.T. Walsh, which is always a good thing when it comes to film. William H. Macy has just come home from work, only to find out that his loving wife has not cooked him dinner (!). Cue thunder and lightning, along with a walk to the bowling alley, where the men have gathered (naturally) to discuss just what in sam hell is wrong with the womenfolk. (Note: Pleasantville also may make a list in the near future for having one of the all-time great soundtrack songs/cover songs, with Fiona Apple's interpretation of The Beatles "Across the Universe." Check it out if you can.)

4. Napoleon Dynamite: Another short bowling scene in a pretty good movie, as we get a dose of Uncle Rico and Kip making their way to the lanes to strategize their sales and marketing strategy as only they can. Docked some points here for the brevity of the bowling.

3. Teen Wolf: That Scott Howard sure turned into a cocky bastard once he became a little more comfortable with the "wolf out" abilities. Here we see young Scott raising the ire of 35-year old Mick by taking his girlfriend, the much desired Pamela Wells, to the lanes for an evening of bowling lessons, ball throwing and extraneous hair.

2. Uncle Buck: Entire books could probably be written about the mystery that is John Hughes' career. The undisputed King of the 80s teen comedy has written a ton of movies, though the last good and/or successful one was 1990's Home Alone. Meanwhile, he has only directed 8 films in his entire career (!!), starting with Sixteen Candles in 1984 and concluding with Curly Sue in 1991. In between, he made (in order): The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Ferris Buehler's Day Off, Planes, Trains & Automobiles, She's Having a Baby and Uncle Buck. A simply amazing run of success if ever there was one.

Uncle Buck brought us one of the last, great performances by John Candy, and it ranks number two in the countdown. Buck was a big-time bowler, so when he handles his nieces and nephew (a pre-Home Alone Macaulay Culkin) for a few days, you can't blame the guy for taking them bowling. The icing on the cake is when a sleazy buddy of Buck's comes over to hit on his 16-year old niece Tia, only to make a fool of himself getting a toothpick stuck inside his mouth. Ouch.

1. The Big Lebowski: As if there could possibly be another choice. Though it does not technically revolve around bowling in the way that something like Kingpin does, Lebowski isn't far off, with a good third (and possibly half) of its scenes taking place at the lanes, in some fashion or another. It's probably also the most realistic portrayal of bowlers/bowling yet, what with the ultra-competitive Walter Sobchak and the beer guts and wrist protectors featured in the opening credits.

F*ck it Dude, let's go bowling.

8 people have chosen wisely: on "Recycling Rocks! (Movies that Roll)"

The Fraze said...

Haha - sweet post, gotta love the Dude

Mikey Filmmaker said...

Teen Wolf is a "classic". I worked with Mick on a student film shoot once and it was the highlight of my week.

soundtrackgeek said...

Aah, the dude. I've only seen it once though, I don't know why. Kingpin is great, and I've watched it a few times.

I'm with you on Seinfeld. Without exaggerating, I can say that I've seen all episodes at least 10 times and it's fascinating how they are just as funny as the first time I saw it, sometimes even funnier.

I hope someone can find the "Seinfeld" formula one day so we can have more of that.

Matt said...

I totally agree with your assessment that movies are better with bowling. I do not agree with your exclusion of Kingpin.

Where else can you find gems like these?

"So, you two are dictionary salesmen?"

"You would be punctilious in assuming that."


"Hey Roy, can you get sick from drinking piss?"

"I think you can."

"Even if its your own?"

It's gold, Fletch! Gold!

Fletch said...

@ Mikey - that's awesome. Mick is an all-time great 80s villain. Did Billy Zabka steal all the good parts? I can't recall seeing Mick in anything else...

@ Matt - Hey, I truly love Kingpin, though I think my favorite sequence is when Roy is in the diner with Phil ("Why don't you just go eat that outside?"; "Hey. Not you.").

That said, it would be too obvious a choice and too easy to have a list of bowling movies and include Kingpin. That would be like doing a list of bobsledding movies and including Cool Runnings - it has an unfair advantage.

David said...

Its true, I must of missed this post a long time ago. It was a good one to bring back though. It was interesting to see the movies that have bowling in it the I never would have thought of. Maybe bowling is the only reason I thought Pleasantville wasn't half bad.

Fletch said...

Don't worry - the longer I go, the more I'll have to recycle. ;)

Glad you liked it.

Fletch said...

Oh, I forgot - there's been a couple movies that have featured bowling lately that haven't been living up to my billing - The Break Up and Lars and the Real Girl. Both "meh" in my book.