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A League of Ordinary Gentlemen (2004)

R  |   |  Documentary, Sport  |  March 2004 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 294 users   Metascore: 66/100
Reviews: 9 user | 24 critic | 17 from Metacritic.com

Filmmaker Christopher Browne documents the mission of a group of middle-aged bowlers as they attempt to revitalize the sport and get the television-watching public interested in it again.

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THE BIG CHILL meets THE GRADUATE. What could have been? What might have been? Reunions can be exciting, frustrating, exhilarating, nostalgic, one life given over to practicality while ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Himself
...
Himself - Actor / Producer
Bernard Goldberg ...
Himself (as Bernie Goldberg)
Robert Putnam ...
Himself - Harvard Professor / Author
Wayne Webb ...
Himself - Professional Bowler
Dick Weber ...
Himself - Professional Bowler
...
Himself - Professional Bowler
...
Himself - Professional Bowler
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Storyline

Tracing the historical arc of the professional bowling tour, the film includes archival footage from the sport's glory days in the 1950s and '60s, through its near extinction in 1997. The story takes a twist when newly installed CEO Steve Miller sets about modernizing the PBA. In addition to Miller, the chronicle focuses on four pro bowlers: Pete Weber, bowling bad-boy and son of legendary bowler Dick Weber whose conservative style doesn't jibe with the direction Miller is taking the new PBA. Pete's nemesis is Walter Ray Williams Jr., a straight-laced six-time world horseshoe-pitching champion and, with 36 PBA titles to his name, the dominant player on the tour. Also, there's Chris Barnes, a young father of newborn twins, who must leave his wife and sons at home and hit the road to compete for the winnings that his young family is depending upon. Finally there's Wayne Webb, a 20-time PBA champion who has fallen on hard times and hopes to squeeze one more good season out of his career ... Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

bowling | See All (1) »

Taglines:

Inside The Wild Wild World Of Professional Bowling!

Genres:

Documentary | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

March 2004 (USA)  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$4,498 (USA) (27 May 2005)

Gross:

$18,326 (USA) (29 July 2005)
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User Reviews

 
BOWLING'S BACK BABY!!! This review has NOT been brought to you by Odor-Eaters
1 June 2005 | by (NYC) – See all my reviews

Almost every major sport has been 'modernized' in order to compete with the growing demand for LIVE sports on television, and now the long-forgotten endeavor known as Professional American bowling re-enters the media spotlight with a BANG! For decades bowling has been a favorite of the blue collar set for it's mixture of 'beerdrinking & camaraderie', or basically a glorified 'boys-night-out' while the wives did their thing at home. Amidst this laid-back milieu the Professional Bowlers Association began to cultivate a more refined interest in the game for those bowlers capable of consistent 'perfect' games (that's a 300 score). ABC's 'Wide World of Sports' came on board and the sport seemed legitimized for many years until ABC left and the league itself faced bankruptcy.

Enter the 'new blood'. It only cost a few guys from Microsoft $5 million to BUY the PBA and launch their own strategy to bring bowling back to the world stage. This film entertainingly chronicles both the pluses and minuses of modernizing a long beloved sport as well as what it takes to get everyone on the 'same page'. A perfect example of this is when new CEO Steve Miller opens the normally low-key pre-season league meeting with a slew of visceral invectives that compared favorably in my mind with Alec Baldwin's f-word laden opening speech in "Glengarry, Glen Ross." As you can see, this is not your ordinary behind-the-scenes sports documentary with no punches pulled and nothing having to be censored for FCC approval. Best of all, the filmmakers have chosen several bowlers to profile that encompass almost everything the sport represents while managing to incorporate the requisite 'drama' that separates exciting docu-tainment like this from your ordinary, average sports documentary.

Most notable exception to the idea of 'blue collar' bowling is Walter Ray Williams Jr., a former physics professor who's parlayed his knowledge of centrifugal force (along with a keen eye) into a string of championships in both bowling and horseshoes. His laid-back style makes him the obvious 'good guy' in this competitive tale, but he's also the man that everyone else is out to beat.

His main nemesis is outlaw bowler Pete Weber, the son of PBA legend Dick Weber and the exact opposite of Walter in every way except his desire to knock down pins. Pete is the John McEnroe of bowling with his loud mouth, dark sunglasses, and inappropriate psyche-out methods that include taunting opponents as well as his signature gesture - the 'crotch-chop'.

Film follows the entire season from start to finish culminating with the first-ever 2003 PBA World Championships in Detroit, MI. This is one showdown that's worth the price of admission alone and seeing bowling on the big screen adds a lot more to excitement and suspense. Perfect movie for a double date followed by a night at the lanes. Get the tix, and set up the pins - BOWLING'S BACK BABY!!!


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