DID YOU READ

15 Things You Never Knew About Kingpin… Unless You’re Super Into the Movie

KINGPIN, Woody Harrelson, 1996, © MGM/courtesy Everett Collection

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Be sure to buff your balls… bowling balls, that is, and get ready for some little-known facts about the Farrelly brothers’ 1996 comedy, Kingpin.

1. WOODY HARRELSON WAS ONCE PETER FARRELLY’S ROOMMATE.

The pair lived together for four years while Harrelson filmed Cheers.


2. HARRELSON WAS A TERRIBLE BOWLER.

And we mean terrible. His bowling was so bad that bowling coaches were brought in to teach him how to look believable just throwing the ball down the lane. Because of this, stand-ins were used for most of the shots of Roy bowling.


3. BUT HE WAS COMMITTED TO LOOKING THE PART.

Harrelson shaved his head and grew an actual comb over to play Roy, but he wouldn’t go so far as to put on weight—the beer belly he sports in the movie was a fake.


4. CHRIS FARLEY WAS ORIGINALLY SUPPOSED TO PLAY ISHMAEL.

He had to drop out because he had contractually committed to Black Sheep.


5. RANDY QUAID CONVINCED BILL MURRAY TO APPEAR IN THE MOVIE.

Murray initially passed on the part of Big Ern; his friend Randy Quaid, who was cast as Ishmael after Farley dropped out, ultimately talked him into taking the role. Murray agreed to be in the movie only two weeks before shooting began.


6. BILL MURRAY IMPROVISED NEARLY ALL OF HIS LINES.

He’d speak with the directors about what they wanted to achieve in the scene, then change his lines with each take.


7. BIG ERN’S ICONIC ROSE BOWLING BALL WAS BOUGHT AT A PITTSBURGH PRO SHOP.

The filmmakers found it while shooting on location—no changes needed.


8. BILL MURRAY ACTUALLY BOWLED THE THREE TOURNAMENT-WINNING STRIKES.

Murray got lucky and made the three final strikes Ern needed to win.

9. LIN SHAYE SHOWED UP TO HER AUDITION IN CHARACTER AS THE LANDLADY.

She was so convincing that people thought she was a homeless person, and the costume she wore to her audition was used in the final movie. Shaye previously appeared in Dumb & Dumber as the dog owner Mrs. Neugeboren, and would go on to appear in the Farrellys’ next movie, There’s Something About Mary, as Mary’s perpetually tanned roommate Magda.


10. PAUL SIMON WAS A FAN OF THE BLACKMAIL SCENE.

After seeing the full cut—with music—of the scene in which the landlady blackmails Roy into having sex with her instead of paying rent, Simon personally approved the use of his song “The Sound of Silence.”


11. THE FARRELLYS DIDN’T HOLD CASTING CALLS FOR THE NON-SPEAKING ROLES.

Instead, they simply hired their friends.


12. THE 1986 MOVIE SOMETHING WILD INSPIRED KINGPIN’S AESTHETIC.

The Farrelly brothers liked the cinematography in Jonathan Demme’s road movie so much that they told their own cinematographer to copy its style.


13. THE MOVIE IS FULL OF CAMEOS BY PRO ATHLETES.

Legendary Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens makes a cameo as the biker Skidmark. Pro golfers Billy Andrade and Brad Faxon also make appearances, as members of the crowd in the opening bowling scene. Roy also defeats pro-bowlers Mark Roth and Randy Pedersen in the final bowling tournament.


14. THE FARRELLY BROTHERS INCORPORATED THEIR LOVE OF BLUES TRAVELER.

John Popper, the band’s lead singer, plays the announcer at the final bowling tournament, and the whole band—dressed in Amish garb—play a song over the closing credits.


15. IT SHARES A CREW MEMBER WITH ANOTHER ‘90S BOWLING MOVIE MADE BY BROTHERS.

Costume designer Mary Zophres worked on both Kingpin and The Big Lebowski.

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Inauguration Alternative

Bill Murray On Repeat

It's a movie "Murray-thon" all-day Friday on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs courtesy of GIPHY

Democrats, Republicans and Millennials agree: 2017 is shaping up to be a spectacle — a spectacle that really kicks into high gear this Friday with the presidential inauguration. Not only will the new POTUS swear in, but all the Country’s highest offices will be filled. It’s a daunting prospect, and to feel a little anxious about it is only normal. But if your anxiety is snowballing into panic, we have a solution:
Bill Murray.

He’s the human embodiment of a mental “Happy Place”, and there’s really no problem he can’t solve. So, with that in mind, how about we all set aside reality for a moment and let Bill take the pain away by imagining a top-shelf White House cabinet filled exclusively by his signature characters. Here are a few hypothetical appointments for your consideration…

Secretary of Defense:
Bill Murray from Stripes

His incompetence is balanced by charm, and dumb luck is inexplicably on his side. America could do worse.

Secretary of State:
Bill Murray from Lost In Translation

A seasoned globetrotter steeped in regional traditions who has the respect of the whole wide world. And he kills Costello in karaoke, which is very important.

Press Secretary:
Bill Murray from Ghostbusters

“Cats and dogs, living together. Mass hysteria.” Dude knows how to brief a room.

Secretary of Health and Human Services:
Bill Murray from What About Bob.

A doctor-approved people person who knows that progress is measured in baby steps.

Secretary of Energy:
Bill Murray from Groundhog Day

Let’s be honest, this world is going to need a lot of do-overs.

Feeling better? Hold on to that bliss. And enjoy a healthy alternative to the inauguration brouhaha with multiple Murrays all Friday long in an IFC movie marathon including Kingpin, Zombieland, Ghostbusters, and Ghostbusters II.

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Home Run

Hank Azaria Gets Thrown A Curve Ball

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Unless you’ve somehow missed every episode of the Simpsons since 1989, then surely you know that Hank Azaria is one of the most important character actors of our time. He’s so prolific and his voice is so dynamic that he’s responsible for more iconic personalities than most folks realize. Basically, he’s the great and powerful Oz — except that when you pull back the curtain the truth is actually more impressive. And now Hank is coming to IFC to bring yet another character to the TV pop culture hive mind in the new series Brockmire. Check out the trailer below.

Based on the following Funny or Die short and co-starring Amanda Peet, Brockmire follows the story of imploded major league sportscaster Jim Brockmire as he tries to resurrect his career by calling plays for a floundering minor league team in a podunk town.

The series is written by Joel Church-Cooper (Undateable) and produced by Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and Joe Farrell, meaning that there’s funny in front of the camera, funny behind the camera–funny all around. Sounds like a ball to us.

Brockmire premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Car Notes

Portlandia On People Who Can’t Park

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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If flagrant bad parking takes nerve, then retaliatory note writing takes neuroses. Watch Fred and Carrie take passive aggression to next level in Car Notes, the new Portlandia web series presented by Subaru. The first episode is yours right here and now, and you can see every installment of Car Notes anytime online, on the IFC app and on demand.

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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