10. Axel (Chuck Aspegren) - Deer Hunter
Yes, there was bowling in the Deer Hunter. Aspegren, who oddly NEVER ACTED AGAIN, played Axel. Axel is the stand out bowler in the scene due to his commitment to the game. After rolling the ball, Axel chases it down the lane. True, this is not within the rules, but it is funny.
What a start. The first movie bowler is a guy who can’t bowl and possibly couldn’t act.
9. Arnie (Jeremy Piven) - Family Man
Arnie and Jack (Nicolas Cage) are neighbors, and like ALL good neighbors, they bowl together. Arnie has some skills on the lane, but it is his skill OFF the lane that puts him on the list.
Jack is thinking of cheating on his wife, but it is Arnie who talks some sense into him. This Buds for you Arnie!
How clever of me to mention a character no one has ever heard of from a movie no one remembers. Oh, by the way that was sarcasm.
8. Buck Russell (John Candy) - Uncle Buck
Yes, aside from making awesome pancakes, Uncle Buck is a bowler. He takes the kids out for a night at his favorite bowling alley, ensuing another generation of Russell’s will knock down pins.
Are you starting to notice the trend? This isn’t the GREATEST movie bowlers, it’s EVERY movie bowler I could think of listed in some random order.
7. The Bowler (Janeane Garofalo) - Mystery Men
Sure, it is quite a conceit to call yourself THE Bowler, but who can resist a bowling superhero? The Bowler uses her special bowling ball to STRIKE down TURKEYS and SPARE the innocent. Puns are stupid. I am sorry for that whole strike/turkeys/spare sentence.
I am down with any list that includes Janeane Garofalo. This includes the BEST JANEANE GAROFALO MOVIES list and the SUCKIEST JANEANE GAROFALO MOVIES list.
6. Michael J Fox (Daniel McTeague ) - Greedy
A film about a bunch of people trying to get a dying relative’s money. Michael plays Daniel, a pro bowler.
Too bad he wasn't Marty McFly, then he could have thrown the ball 1.21 jiggowatts faster. Or he could have gone back in time and stopped himself from appearing in The Hard Way.
Well, I do have to give myself credit for this choice and EXTRA credit for not making an Anna Nicole Smith joke after the line “A film about a bunch of people trying to get a dying relative’s money”. Well played, me, well played.
5. Head Pin Pal (Monti Ellison) - Six-String Samurai
In one of the greatest movies no one ever saw, Buddy is on his way to Vegas to be crowned King. Heavy Metal, is doing everything he can to stop him. Three of the goons that Heavy sends after Buddy are the Pin Pals.
The Pin Pals conceal knives in their bowling pins, so they are always ready to rumble.
Of the three Pin Pals, it is the head Pin Pal who is most intimidating with his shaved head and bad attitude.
When he sees Buddy's suit he udders the words no one will ever forget.
Head Pin Pal: Nice tuxedo. Nice tuxedo to die in.
If I do one thing with this list, I hope I get people to see THIS fine, underrated film. If I do TWO things I hope I can get people to give me free money.
4. The Dude (Jeff Bridges) - The Big Lebowski
As laid back as a La-z-boy recliner (in the reclined position, or turned on it's side) The Dude is the perfect counterpart to Walter's uptight bowling prowess.
Ever the underachiever, the Dude would be more comfortable at number four than number one, and that is where he is.
Sure, he may have been willing to bend the rules for Smokey, but you gotta love a guy who listens to audiotapes of bowling matches.
The Dude abides, and so do I.
3. Roy Munson (Woody Harrelson) - Kingpin
So what if his name is slang for loser. So what if he loses the big game. Roy, is a LIKEABLE LOSER. You root for him, even though he always lets you down. It's like being a Milwaukee Brewers fan (if there is such a thing.)
Perhaps the best bowling comedy ever made. Glad to see it made my list.
2. Donny (Steve Buscemi) - The Big Lebowski
The Dude was the star of the story, but Donny was the star of the team. Bucking conventional wisdom Donald adopts the nickname Donnie, but opts for the Swedish spelling 'Donny.' Thus, he gets to correct people who misspell his name all the time. Donny throws the ball hard, as he so eloquently puts it 'I am throwing rocks, tonight.'
Sure, he gets John Lennon confused with Vladimir Lenin, but who among us HASNT? Can you honestly say that you have not heard Let It Be on the radio and asked yourself "Is this the Beatles? Or that guy who split with the Left Social Revolutionaries and renamed the Bolsheviks the Russian Communist Party in 1918?" I bet you cannot.
Donny throws strikes throughout the movie, but at the end, he misses. Soon, Donny dies of a heart attack. If only his heart were as big as his bowling ball. Of course, that kind of anomaly would probably have killed him sooner.
Note to self, begin work on the bowling ball heart invention immediately. Later, use it to rule the world (or at least use it when I split with the Left Social Revolutionaries and renamed the Bolsheviks the Russian Communist Party.)
1. Fred Flintstone (John Goodman) - The Flintstones
Old 'Twinkle Toes Flintstones' tops the list. Were you expecting anyone else? Fred, the predecessor to Homer Simpson, is possibly the greatest bowler that ever lived.
Playing alongside his Water Buffalo brethren, Fred took the sport to a new level. Always bowling on his tippy toes, Fred knocks 'em down like few others.
Plus, if he is stuck with a 7-10 split, he can make the ball split halfway down the lane to get both pins.
Fine choice to put Fred on top. Overall the list was actually pretty good. Funny and full of references to some great films that I had forgotten about. Still, I don’t think I could think of one more bowling movie if I tried for a week.
That will change when documentaries are made about my secret bowling ball heart.