Kingpin (1996)

When I was a kid, Beaver Valley Bowl always seemed so intimidating. How strange then that it’s the place where Roy Munson has his hand smashed and his bowling career ruined. I never had such a bad time there myself, but you always felt like something could go badly. That scene where they walk up the steps and Roys asks, “People bowl here?” They didn’t fake a single thing about that place. It has always looked that frightening.

Kingpin is filmed in and around the bowling alleys of Pittsburgh. You can see just about every major lane in the film, other than my favorite, the Hollywood Show Lanes inside Arsenal Lane with their giant photo of Telly Savalas, autographed with “Who loves you, baby?”

I’m sure that everyone has seen this movie, but you’d do well to watch it again and appreciate the magic that is Bill Murray in this movie. Every single moment he’s on screen is perfect. That scene where he bowls three strikes in a row? That’s real. He also ad libbed just about every line in the entire movie.

It’s worth remembering that before assassins began hunting down Randy Quaid, he was a pretty wonderful comedic actor. This is also probably one of the first times that many realized who Lin Shaye was.

At one point, Michael Keaton was to play Munson, with Chris Farley as Ishmael and Charles Rocket as Big Earl. Jim Carrey was another choice to play the evil bowler.

It’s also worth noting that the character Seabass from Dumb and Dumber (played by Cam Neely) is a confirmed relative of this movie’s Skidmark, who is Roger Clemens.

Many of the lanes in this movie are gone. We’ll always have this movie to remember them by.

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