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Kingpin

Year: 1996
Production Co: Rysher Entertainment
Director: Peter Farrelly/Bobby Farrelly
Writer: Peter Farrelly/Bobby Farrelly/Barry Fanaro/Mort Nathan
Cast: Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid, Vanessa Angel, Bill Murray, Chris Elliott

The earliest classic offering from the Farrelly brothers saw them at their career best. The humour, while slapstick, corny, tasteless and gross-out (the genre they're famous for recreating) is surprisingly sharp and the characterisations are truly original even though the movie manages a lot of heart.

Years after his youthful stupidity sees him lose everything at the hands of his nemesis Big Ernie McCracken (Bill Murray in one of his funniest roles ever), once promising bowling champ Roy Munson (Harrelson) hits rock bottom. But a chance encounter at a local bowling alley somewhere in Middle America offers him his chance at redemption when he offers to coach and manage gifted Amish protegé Ishmael (Quaid, who despite his limited comedic range, is one of Hollywood's finest actors for the range of roles he plays).

The pair hit the road, Roy expecting nothing but a quick payday, but with the beautiful girlfriend of a bowling mafiosi (Angel) in tow, the three will teach each other much more about life than they bargained until Roy must face off against Big Ernie one last time.

It's a classic hero's journey motif but the Farrelly's wrote a hilarious script to go along with it. The Apatow stable of the 2000s didn't exist when this film came out, and the Farrelly's were the title holders of cinema comedy for a good reason.

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