The Ultimate Kingpin Movie Quiz

John Miller

"Kingpin" is a movie that blends comedy with which sport?

"Kingpin" isn't your typical sports movie. It's not about football or baseball -- it revolves around bowling.

This movie has a star-studded cast. Who is NOT in "Kingpin"?

Kevin Costner doesn't appear in this film. It stars Randy Quaid, Vanessa Angel and Woody Harrelson.

The movie is directed by which famous duo?

The Farrelly brothers became superstars in the '90s, with hits such as "Dumb and Dumber," "Hall Pass" and "Shallow Hal." "Kingpin" is yet another spin on their unique brand of comedy.

Woody Harrelson is Roy, a young man who wins the bowling championship in which state?

In the late '70s, Roy wins the Iowa state bowling title and goes on to a promising professional career. But his life immediately takes a sour turn.

Roy turns pro and beats a well-known bowler named Ernie (Bill Murray). How does Ernie take losing to a rookie?

Ernie is infuriated about losing to the newcomer. He immediately plots revenge. He buddies up to Roy and tells him that they should take advantage of some amateur bowlers and then sucker them out of their money.

Roy and Ernie team up to sucker some amateur bowlers out of a bet -- but the amateurs then realize that they're playing against pros. How do they react?

The amateur bowlers are none too happy to find out they've been conned. They attack Ernie and Roy, and shove Roy's hand into the ball return machine -- it is the end of Roy's young bowling career.

This was a fairly expensive movie for 1996. How much did it cost to make?

"Kingpin" wasn't a cheap production. The budget weighed in at about $27 million.

The movie was a major success at box offices around the world.

It earned only about $25 million, not even enough to cover its expenses. However, it's still relatively popular thanks in part to its all-star cast.

After having his hand mangled, Roy retires and disappears from bowling. But then he finds a talented bowler named Ishmael, who is part of which subculture?

Ishmael (Randy Quaid) is from an Amish community in Pennsylvania. The Amish are a conservative Christian group who abstain from many of the temptations of modern life.

Roy offers to become Ishmael's manager. Why does Ishmael initially turn down that offer?

Ishmael is Amish -- and he's not supposed to be bowling. But when Ishmael realizes that he could make huge money (and save his family's farm from bankruptcy) he changes his mind and teams up with Roy.

Harrelson plays the part of a professional bowler. What were his real-life bowling skills like?

Harrelson isn't just a bad bowler -- he's downright atrocious. He required a bowling coach just to make his technique look halfway believable in the movie.

Roy convinces Ishmael to enter a bowling tournament in Reno, Nevada. What's the cash prize for winning the tournament?

The cash prize is $1 million. But first, Roy has to teach Ishmael some of bowling's finer points … because Ishmael has never bowled competitively in his life.

The Farrelly brothers initially wanted which actor to play the part of Ernie?

The two directors originally thought Jim Carrey (of "Dumb and Dumber" fame) to play Ernie. But they settled on Bill Murray, who excelled at the role of the smarmy, vindictive bowler.

What was NOT one of the primary filming locations for the movie?

Most of the shooting happened in Pennsylvania (which has many Amish people) and Reno, where the big bowling contest takes place.

Ernie bowls with a very special bowling ball. What pattern does the ball have?

The clear ball has a rose inside. The producers didn't have to special order the ball -- they stumbled on it at a bowling shop in Pittsburgh.

Harrelson plays Roy, a depressed former pro bowler who is carrying a lot of extra weight. The actor actually gained all of that weight for his role.

Woody shaved his head for the part. But he didn't actually put on extra weight to make himself look obese -- that part was Hollywood magic.

Randy Quaid actually wasn't the first choice for the role of Ishmael. Who was?

The always-goofy Chris Farley was offered the part. But he was already committed to another comedy movie called "Black Sheep."

Vanessa Angel plays Claudia, who eventually becomes Roy's girlfriend. What other job has Angel had in real life?

Angel used to do a lot of modeling. She was on the cover of major women's magazines such as "Vogue" and "Cosmopolitan."

When Roy and Ishmael meet Claudia, she has a boyfriend. Why does she leave him to accompany the two bowlers?

Claudia is stuck in an abusive relationship with her boyfriend. She ditches the terrible relationship and joins the bowlers as they head to the big tournament.

"Kingpin" got nothing but horrible reviews from professional critics.

Critics were torn. Some thought the movie's base humor relied too much on vulgarity. Others, such as Roger Ebert, thought "Kingpin" was actually a really good film.

Roy, Ishmael and Claudia arrive in Reno for the tournament and have a violent encounter with Roy's old nemesis, Ernie. What happens?

Ernie taunts Roy, a fact that angers Ishmael, who tries to punch Ernie. Instead, he strikes a wall and shatters his hand … ending his chances to win the tournament.

What role did Mary Zophres have in the making of "Kingpin"?

Zophres did the costume work for "Kingpin." She served in the same role on another big bowling-themed movie …"The Big Lebowski."

Bill Murray essentially made up his lines as he went along.

Murray typically discards scripted lines for his movie performances. It works -- his made-up lines are typically better than the screenplay, anyway.

Claudia and Roy rarely call Ishmael by his actual name. What do they call him?

Roy and Claudia are both much younger than Randy Quaid. But they call him "Kid" throughout the movie.

A rock star appears in the movie. Which band is he from?

Blues Traveler was a hit act in the '90s. Lead singer John Popper makes a short appearance as an announcer for one of the bowling scenes.

Ishmael breaks his hand, ending his title hopes. What does our group of heroes do?

Claudia and Ishmael push Roy to enter the contest, even though he lost his right hand. After some encouragement from his friends, Roy decides to try bowling with his rubber hand.

Roy enters the tournament, plays against his nemesis Ernie, and wins the money and the glory.

Roy does his best and nearly beats Ernie even though he's using a rubber hand. But he loses by a single agonizing pin.

After Roy's disappointing finish, he goes back into business and gets a huge endorsement from which kind of company?

Thanks to his rubber hand, Roy gains fame for his tournament appearance. A major condom company offers him hundreds of thousands of dollars as part of an endorsement deal.

Claudia leaves behind Roy and Ishmael in Reno. Then what does she do?

Claudia's heart belongs to the one-handed bowler. She tracks down Roy and the two ride off into the sunset together.

What does Roy do with much of his endorsement money at the end of the movie?

Roy's curmudgeonly side gives way to a bit of tenderness. He uses the money to help Ishmael's family pay off debts to save the farm.

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Image: The Movie DB

About This Quiz

In the '90s, the Farrelly brothers made all sorts of goofy feature films, including one called "Kingpin." It blended copious helpings of vulgarities with surprisingly tender moments. How much do you know about this classic bowling film?

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