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Kegler's Korner

January 9, 2006

Kegler's Korner: Bowling rarely spared when it comes to the silver screen

TERRE HAUTE — Through the years, bowling has rarely been portrayed in a favorable light on the silver screen.

Any progress achieved from the two highest-rated “bowling” movies in the past few years literally went right down the gutter with the recent 40-minute DVD film release of “Life in the Bowling Lane.”

It’s producers describe this short film as “a nonstop, fast-paced comedy romp.” The film brings together the “talents” of The Unknown Comic — remember him from the old “Gong Show”? — and comedian Bob Zany — whose credits include the “Tonight Show” and is heard regularly on radio’s Bob and Tom Show with his “Zany Report.”

Your basic “boy meets girl, girl dumps boy, girl hooks up with another boy” plot is combined with bowling. The producers hope this film does for bowling what actor Tim Conway’s “Dorf” character did for golf.

I highly doubt it.

Television has done a bit more justice to bowling. Bowling-related plots that come to mind on TV screen include shows such as “Ed”, “Andy Griffith Show” and “Home Improvement.”

But we’re talking bowling in movies.

The two most recognized “bowling” movies of all time are the recent comedies “The Big Lebowski” and “Kingpin,” created from the fertile comic minds of the Farrelly brothers and Coen brothers, respectively.

My two favorite “bowling-related” scenes from the “The Big Lebowski” — there were a lot to choose from — find Jeff Bridges (the Dude) lying prone on the ground wearing a Walkman headset, listening to a cassette tape labeled “Venice Beach League Playoffs 1987” as the viewer tinnily hears the impact of a bowling ball hitting the pins.

A second personal favorite involves John Goodman (ex-Vietnam vet Walter Sobchak) pulling out a gun from his bowling bag to settle a dispute over whether or not an opposing player made a foot foul.

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