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Brandon’s Blu-ray Wishlist – April 3, 2014

Brandon's Blu-ray Wishlist THUMBToday, Brandon’s Blu-ray Wishlist is taking to the lanes and going bowling!  It’s the film that beat Lebowski to bowling by 2 whole years!

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Kingpin wishlist

Kingpin (1996)

“Who are you calling a psycho?!?!??”  No, Kingpin isn’t frickin’ on Blu-ray yet!  And it’s a shame.  But, I think this slapstick/gross out comedy has always sort of flown under the radar.  It was the Farrelly Brother’s sophomore effort following their big debut film Dumb And DumberDumb And Dumber was a raving success, so you think Kingpin coming from the same makers maybe wouldn’t be as huge, but at least draw a bigger crowd than it did.  The film did over $100 million less than Dumb And Dumber, leading one to conclude that people saw the film due to the current hot budding superstar Jim Carrey (it was the 3rd film in his run following Ace Ventura and The Mask).  Kingpin just kind of came and went.  And merely holds as a trivia answer as the film that came between Dumb And Dumber and There’s Something About Mary.  But it really deserves to be known for better than that.

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If you’re not familiar with Kingpin (it does turn 17!!! this year), or it’s been awhile for you, it tells the story of Roy Munson, a once promising small town rising star on the bowling circuit who gets conned reluctantly pulling a con with a devious bowling vet, Ernie McCracken one night.  He ends up losing his hand becoming a loser for the next 17 years.  Until, one day selling bowling products he witnesses what he thinks is greatness in a young Amish man bowling named Ishmael.  He takes Ishmael under his wing, hoping they can strike it big and he can reclaim some lost glory at a major tournament in Reno, Nevada.

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Immediately, you can see that the cast of this movie doesn’t have the draw that the previous Farrelly film had.  But, still, this is a great cast.  And now in hindsight its actually pretty terrific.  You had Woody Harrelson in the lead, who wasn’t quite the “awesome” casting addition he is now.  He was coming off of Cheers and making some great and interesting , but at the time considered “questionable” choices with his film roles.  Those roles today would seem like nothing, but back in the 90s the films he was doing were “taboo” amongst film audiences and strong material like that would work as sort of a turn off to general audiences.  Looking back now, you would think I’m silly saying that, but really its how it was.  Probably the big draw here was Randy Quaid, who looking back you may say “Whaaaa??”, but the guy was at the apex of his career here and was just coming off of the biggest film that summer (a few weeks earlier) in Independence Day.  Bill Murray was a solid get, but nothing that was going to take the film over the top.

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Vanessa Angel, you’re getting your own paragraph.  Was she the biggest luring device for this film?  The advertising surely focused on her and her sexy outfits.  This would be the first and I think the last time her name would go above a title (which the title animation is throwback 70s awesome!).  How did this woman not become a bigger star?  She’s absolutely stunning.  And this role probably earns a place as being one of the top 10 sexiest roles of the 90s.  As a kid growing up watching USA Up All Night every weekend, I definitely was an avid watcher of her on the television version of Weird Science too.  She still gets work according to IMDB, but her bigger fame was a short lived affair.  As a heterosexual male, it’s surprising as she is incredibly striking in appearance to where you think you’d want to put her in many more movies.  Plus she’s not too bad a performer either.

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The film features a lot of Three Stooges type humor mixed with some major gross out moments as well.  And it all holds up and works quite well.  If you’ve seen this, how can you not be haunted by Lin Shaye’s short-lived but forever last screentime.  I also got great laughs from the comb-over hair mess we get at the end.  A lot of the bowling stuff too feels very genuine with the lifestyle and the attitudes (check out the terrific documentary A League Of Ordinary Gentlemen and you’ll see the Farrelly brothers were right on the money with the eras and way of life of the pro bowler).  It’s just a really fun road trip/redemption movie full of really great laughs.

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Growing up in the Northeast Indiana, when trailers popped up for this movie it was a MUST to go see.  Why?  Because it had Amish in it and we lived and went to school with them.  So for some reason, that means you have to see a movie.  So, family and friends all pretty much were familiar with the film and would throw around terms like “Munson” as a part of our joking language.  Maybe some of that is why I enjoy the film more than most, I dunno.  But what I do know is that it definitely deserves a home on Blu-ray.  I popped in the DVD the other night in preparation for this article and it’s got plenty of ugly spots that a high def transfer would clean up and a mostly unimpressive picture.  There’s a commentary they can port over, but no other bonus features.  How about Kingpin finally getting its due in November in preparation for the release of Dumb And Dumber To?  I say YES!

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

4 Responses to “Brandon’s Blu-ray Wishlist – April 3, 2014”


  1. Brian White

    The obvious question should be how can this title not be on Blu-ray by now?!

  2. Aaron Neuwirth

    If Kingpin wasn’t a hilarious comedy it would be a wonderful character piece about Woody Harrelson wrestling with failure. I love this film and the way the story plays out.

  3. Brandon Peters

    Exactly Aaron! Its a great character piece/redemption story aside from all laughs.

  4. KINGPIN Rolls Onto Blu-ray October 14! at Why So Blu?

    […] be too, to give this overlooked film another try.  To read my plead for it to come to Blu-ray CLICK HERE, and to find all the information on this release scroll down!  Just think about 90s Vanessa Angel […]