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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked comic masterpiece
And not for the squeamish.
I may have been the only one laughing out loud when I saw this in the theater. I remember at least two people walking out sometime during the show. No matter because for me, this ranks as one of the the most brilliant and unique comedies in a long, long time.
The Farelly Brothers, who would return to us in such top form with...
Published on June 7, 2003 by halda

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Underrated Comedy
Kingpin is not great art. It is pure tasteless trash. But, gosh, it's actually pretty funny!. The Farrelly Brothers make a movie out of a very un-funny subject: bowling. Yes, bowling. That's what makes it even funnier. Woody Harrelson stars as a bowling pro whose bowling hand is cut off from some thugs. It's years later and he's a balding, fat bum with no life. He sees...
Published on September 16, 2001 by Barry


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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked comic masterpiece, June 7, 2003
By 
halda (World Wide Interweb Network Machine) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Kingpin (DVD)
And not for the squeamish.
I may have been the only one laughing out loud when I saw this in the theater. I remember at least two people walking out sometime during the show. No matter because for me, this ranks as one of the the most brilliant and unique comedies in a long, long time.
The Farelly Brothers, who would return to us in such top form with "There's Something About Mary" give us an insane twist on the comeback-kid story.
Woody Harrelson is Munson, a washed-up former bowling protege who finds a way out in Ishmael, a simple Amish farmer with exceptional skill on the bowling lane. Munson sees the kid as a tool for revenge, for money, for fame -- all the things that were denied him (largely by the hand of his ruthless rival, deliciously played by Bill Murray in one of his funniest supporting roles).
What follows is a practically non-stop series of gags, satire and slapstick that are brilliant in their timing and effect. The Farrelly Brothers give us no mercy as we follow Munson and Ishmael on their journey. But the jokes, many of which border on the surreal, never seem gratuitous. It's just the filmmakers having a total blast, and I for one appreciated it.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Was I talking out loud?", December 6, 2003
By 
Michael Crane (Orland Park, IL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Kingpin (DVD)
"Kingpin" has quickly become a cult-classic, and it is easy to see how it became that. The Farrelly have created a comedic masterpiece with this movie. There are so many funny lines and so many memorable moments. Vulgar, disgusting... and hilarious all the way through, "Kingpin" is a comedy treat that stands out from most of the comedies of today.
Roy Munson was a bowling legend until a hustling gig gone wrong ended up taking his right hand. Now, Munson is an alcoholic mess who can't even afford his rent. Everything seems to be a giant downward spiral for him until he sees somebody who has the potential of becoming the next great bowler that he could've been. That person he sees is Ishmael; a person of Amish decent that secretly goes bowling without his family's knowledge. Munson knows that with this Amish bowler under his watch that they can turn the bowling world upside down...or at least do their best not to "Munson" it all up!
I absolutely love this movie. It is hilarious and clever at the same time. There are sick and vulgar gags, to be sure, but I don't see them as overly gratuitous or annoying. They work for what the film is trying to accomplish. There are many, MANY moments were I am laughing out loud hysterically. Woody Harrelson is terrific as the alcoholic mess, "Roy." Randy Quaid is also a joy to watch, as he always is. Yet, I must admit that the man who simply steals the show without breaking a sweat is Bill Murray. He is brilliantly funny and outrageous in the most subtle of ways. He's always the showstopper without trying too hard. I loved everybody in this movie, but I have to admit that Bill was the one who I was the most impressed with, and he makes the movie what it is. The script is extremely funny and takes the comedy to a different level.
The DVD is poor when it comes to special features. It'd be great if they would releases a special edition of this movie, as it is extremely popular. The great thing about this movie is that it's not PG-13 anymore and now has an R-rating, which includes footage that was not included in the original theatrical version. The picture and sound quality is more than satisfactory. The DVD includes both widescreen and fullscreen versions. Commentary from the Farrelly Brothers and the original theatrical trailer are included as well. I wished more was included, but hopefully a fully-loaded special edition will come out sometime in the near future.
"Kingpin" rolls strikes every single time when it comes to delivering laughs and a great script. While the gags can be a bit disgusting and vulgar at times, they are not gratuitous and they end up working in the movie. If you're looking for a comic gem that is unlike any other comedy that is out there, this may be the one for you. A five-star movie all the way!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pay No Attention to The Review At The Top Of This Page!, March 7, 2003
By 
Matthew P. Swintek (Albany, ohio United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Kingpin (DVD)
Tom Keogh slams the movie. What the heck is that all about? This is truly one of my favorite comedies of all time. I have watched this movie probably 30-40 times and I still find it enjoyable. You don't feel like you are watching the movie. The performances, storyline, and perfect soundtrack make you feel as if you are in it. It's true. There is some dumb slapstick humor. At the same time, you start feeling sorry for the characters. As soon as you think they have hit rock bottom, they fall further into the well. I won't spoil the ending. Just give this one a chance and prepare for some good old fashioned "Brunswick" fun. Disco Bowling? That's a good time.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Probably the Funniest Movie of the 90�s!, September 7, 2000
By 
"filmbuff2000" (San Ysidro, Ca USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Kingpin [VHS] (VHS Tape)
The Farrelly Bros. have proven themselves to be inspired comic directors that have enormous talent even if their idea of humor is crude and raunchy. Their short career has been filled with ups and downs starring with `Dumb and Dumber' which is so-so, then `Kingpin', which is probably their best, followed by `There's Something About Mary' which has a softer side and a larger audience and then the Jim Carrey misfire `Me, Myself & Irene'. While `Mary' is often thought of as their best, `Kingpin' is in a lot of ways better and has a higher LPM (laughs per minute) average. Quite possibly the funniest movie of the 90's, I'm not saying it's the best comedy, just that it's the most constantly funny. Woody Harrelson is hilarious and so is Randy Quaid as bowling Amish (?) Ishmael. Bill Murray is hilarious and steals almost all his scenes. Vanessa Angel is the super-sexy Claudia, she is the typical sexy female presence that the Farrelly Bros. seem to need to round up the cast, in order they are; Lauren Holly, Vanessa Angel, Cameron Diaz and Renee Zellweger. As for the typical `hair gel' joke we've come to expect from the Farrelly's, this time it deals with Roy `milking a bull' and drinking the `milk'. The film is filled with these jokes that are still hilarious even after repeated viewings. It also features a great soundtrack with songs from Goldfinger and other modern bands. The `bowling sequences' are well made, nicely edited with a great soundtrack, with a heavy dash of humor and exciting as well. Roy loosing the tournament and avoiding the typical ending was a great move and heightens the originality level, which is very high. Peter and Bobby Farrelly are very talented comedy filmmakers and some of their films (at least 2) have become instant comedy classics. If they're lucky they might be considered the `Mel Brooks' of their generation, not because their humor is the same (it isn't, Brooks is better), but because they are fearless and original filmmakers that revive the comedy genre every decade or so. From a scale of 1-10 I give this film an 8!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kingpin Rules!, March 1, 2001
By 
Olden Boy (Rochester, IL United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Kingpin [VHS] (VHS Tape)
By far the best and funniest of the Farelly Brothers films, the overlooked Kingpin features a lot of laughs and a truly excellent soundtrack. Woody Harrelson plays Roy Munson, a once promising bowler whose career is cut short along with his right arm. Randy Quaid plays Ishmael, an unworldly Amish man whose one vice is bowling. After being down and out for several years Munson convinces Ishmael to enter a $1 million winner take all bowling tournament in Reno. Roy and Ishmael hustle their way across the country from Pennsylvania. Along the way they hook up with the beautiful Claudia played by Vanessa Angel. Bill Murray plays top professional bowler Ernie McCracken. McCracken is a total scumbag who is largely responsible for Munson's misery. This movie is loaded with laughs with most gags hitting the mark. By the end of the movie, if you have any heart at all, you will find yourself rooting for Roy and Ishmael. My only complaint is that the home version contains added scenes that were best left edited out of the movie.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best film of the Farrely brothers, June 2, 2001
By 
This review is from: Kingpin (DVD)
There's something about Mary probably is the most movie from the Farrely brothers and also the most successful but Kingpin is the best. It is very funny with wonderful casts (Woody Harrelson, Bill Murray, Randy Quaid and the lovely Vanessa Angel). About down on his luck bowler(Woody) who coach a naive amish bowler (Randy Quaid) to win $1,000,000 winner takes all bowling tournament in Reno, Nevada. It is non-stop laugh for 2 hours. Bill Murray is especially good in the role of a sleazy bad guy and Vanessa Angel deserved to be a major star. She is both beautiful and talented. The DVD gave you both full screen and Wide Screen versions of the movie with enough extra features. The picture is very good and The Dolby 5.1 is fair. Get this DVD. You won't be sorry. Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reel sleeper, April 22, 2000
By 
This review is from: Kingpin (DVD)
I past on this in the rental section until an associate found out how much I enjoyed "There's something about Mary" and recommended Kingpin. I'm a Bill Murray Fan and now Farrelly brothers fan. A great movie is one that you have to see several times. Great lines in this movie. I use them at work. Bill Murray is at his best. Rivals Rushmore. This movie grows on you. The CD soundtrack is worth its price of admission.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I'd rather get Munsoned out here in the middle of nowhere...", October 18, 2006
This review is from: Kingpin (DVD)
Isn't it funny that the guy chosen to write the editorial review gave this movie the written equivalent of zero stars, while the 120+ customers who reviewed it gave it an average of 4 1/2 stars? I have yet to meet someone who didn't think this movie was absoluteley hilarious, but according to Tom Keogh (who?), it "doesn't work at all" and "isn't funny at all". Who picked that guy? Do not listen to him.

This is one of the funniest movies that you'll ever see, full of laugh-out-loud slapstick as well as a myriad of more subtle, creative jokes that will just crack you up. Its so funny and so enjoyable its basically guaranteed to put you in a good mood, and I can't imagone anyone thinking it's not funny, unless their name is Tom Keogh. Its an excellent sophomore effort by the Farelly brothers, following the enormous success of the insanely funny Dumb and Dumber, and it has their trademark style imprinted all over it (downtrodden protagonist, stunning hottie, crude gags, cheerful rock soundtrack). But rather than relying almost entirely on the comic genius of Jim Carey, this movie spreads the funny almost equally amongst its stars. Woody Harrelson as the cynical, alcoholic bowling has-been Roy Munson, and Randy Quaid as his naive Amish prodigy, are a pure joy to watch, and Bill Murray gives one of the funniest performances of his career as Roy's perfectly evil worm of an arch-nemesis, Ernie McCracken ("Big Ern's got a heart of gold, Bob").

This film kind of flew under the radar and didn't recieve as much attention as the Farrelly flicks that came immediately before and after it (Dumb and Dumber & Something about Mary), but its at least just as funny. In fact, in my opinion, the Farrelly brothers have not approached this level of funny since. Sure, Something About Mary was very funny, but it is much more dependent on the crudeness of its humor than on the funniness of its chracters and script. And each Farrelly movie that has come out since then is for the most part forgettable. There are way too many hilarious moments in Kingpin to list here, so many that there are a few you might not even notice ("What're you doin' there, Mr. Munson?" "Flossin'." "Flossin? Where'd I get Munson from?"). But trust me, if you watch this with your friends, you're stomach muscles will hurt from laughing and you'll be quoting its jokes amongst each other for years to come. I'll leave you with this:

"I took the liberty of milkin' your cow for ya. Took a while to get'er warmed up, she sure is a stubborn one." (sips from the pail of milk)

"We don't have a cow. We have a bull."

"......I'm gonna go brush my teeth."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars too funny, November 19, 2005
This review is from: Kingpin (DVD)
A down and out former pro bowler mentors an amish guy over the course of a a road trip to Reno. I love every minute of it! Then again, I've never seen a bowling-based movie I didn't like, so maybe I am biased. I'd estimate that about half the people I've asked say they don't like this movie. Most of them twist up their face as part of their reply, to emphasize perhaps the level of their distaste. Reminding them of the classic Mrs. Robinson inspired scene that ends with Woody Harrelson puking over the toilet (very convincingly by the way) for what seems like several minutes, has never suceeded in changing a single mind. The other half seem to love this movie as much as I do (I get similar polling results when I inquire about the 3 Stooges). If you like good slapstick, you will love this movie and probably find yourself watching it again and again, chuckling at work over whatever bit is tickling you at the moment. Probably too raunchy to recommend for kids, anyone else looking for a good laugh should check this wonderful movie out.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Crude, hilarious, and somewhat...touching?, June 22, 2001
By 
Ruth Dubb (Alexandria, VA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Kingpin (DVD)
The primary purpose of this movie is to garner laughs, even at the expense of believability and reality. Nevertheless, "Kingpin" holds a certain visceral appeal that is not necessarily related to humor and that "Dumb and Dumber" and "There's Something About Mary," two other Farrelly Brothers movies, while also funny, do not have. Maybe "Kingpin" has - dare I say it? - heart.
First, the laughs, of which there are plenty. In the tradition of "Airplane!" this movie is spilling over with gags and also in the tradition of that seminal movie, some of the gags are funnier than others. A couple of the weak ones: the urinal scene, the s**t storm. The wince inducing one: poor Buttercup (what is it with the Farrelly Brothers and animals?). The funny ones however more than compensate. My personal favorite is the depiction of the drunken, down on his luck Munsen done to "It's a Beautiful Morning." by the Rascals. I can never hear that song in the same way again! The jokes are audacious but not mean spirited, suprisingly enough.
Then there are the characters! Bill Murray as Big Ern McCracken is a comedic classic, a character of unprecedented arrogance and unctiousness. The directors were wise to let him ad lib. The landlady is wonderfully grotesque. Stan, the psycho boyfriend, deserves kudos just for the way he pulls money out of his pocket. Those shady characters in the bowling alley the night Munsen loses his hand.
Second, the heart, or the je ne sais quois, or whatever. I guess it has to do with the main characters, Roy and Claudia for being downtrodden but still kicking, Ishmael for his naivite. Even though the movie never passes up a chance to exploit Roy's prosthetic hand for a laugh, I felt sympathy for him. He actually is a three dimensional, evolving character. You want him to succeed even as you laugh at his expense or at Ishmael's expense when Roy corrupts him with non-Amish ways.
The movie is shot in a lovely way what with the rolling bucolic farmlands as Roy, Claudia, and Ishmael wend their way to Reno. The generous use of rock and pop tunes interspersed with the original music paces the movie nicely.
It is these ingredients - characters, scenery, music, not to mention a strong plot - that bolster the movie several notches above 90 or so minutes of mere laughs.
[A few words about the DVD itself: I bought it because it contains footage not previously shown but I wonder about the wisdom of including it in the movie itself. Some of the extra gags did not seem to fit. They struck me as jarring. Perhaps if I had seen it in this way first. My major complaint is that the footage I really wanted to see, that which is shown in the trailors, was NOT included. Ah well. It's still worth owning. One nice little feature enables one to watch the movie while listening to the directors' commentary throughout.]
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Kingpin [Blu-ray]
Kingpin [Blu-ray] by Bill Murray (Blu-ray - 2014)
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