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Random top ten: Bowling scenes in movies

1 THE CONTENDER (2000)

Rod Lurie's political drama co-stars Jeff Bridges as a Clinton-esque commander-in-chief making full use of the immaculate bowling alley in the White House basement – a wee nod to number 10 on our list.

2 BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE (2002)

Michael Moore's blazing firearms-control documentary took bowling as its offbeat theme – and featured a posse of Michigan gun nuts blasting away at pins for target practice. Cheating, surely?

3 THE FLINTSTONES (1994)

Fred's tiptoeing bowling run-up was one of the most-loved motifs of the unapologetically repetitive cartoon – astonishingly, John Goodman's gnarly interpretation almost got cut from the live-action movie.

4 CONSTANTINE (2005)

As demon-slayer John Constantine, Keanu Reeves is more interested in what goes on behind the pins at his local alley – his informant/armourer Beeman hangs out among the clacking machinery (until that crazy Tilda Swinton offs him).

5 KINGPIN (1996)

He's barely in the Farrelly Brothers' alley-centric comedy, but Bill Murray still steals the show as reigning champion Ernie McCracken, a man whose bowling skill, sartorial style and combover are all equally mesmerising.

6 MY NAME IS JOE (1995)

One of the redemptive sparks in Ken Loach's alcoholic downer is a tentative bowling date for Joe (Peter Mullan) and Sarah (Louise Goodall), the original Spirit in the Sky blaring on the soundtrack.

7 MYSTERY MEN (1999)

As aspiring superheroine The Bowler, Janeane Garofalo (inset) strikes fear into the hearts of evildoers by letting fly with her enchanted ball – which happens to contain the skull of her dead (but still disapproving) dad.

8 THERE WILL BE BLOOD (2007)

At the climax of this towering oil opera, there's a hell of a strike in Oscar-winner Daniel Day-Lewis's private alley, especially when religious nut Paul Dano makes him go spare.

9 LARS AND THE REAL GIRL (2008)

There are plenty of hilarious moments in this surprisingly heartfelt sex-doll comedy. But watching Ryan Gosling concentrate so hard on his shot that he gutterballs in the adjacent lane is hard to beat.

10 THE BIG LEBOWSKI (1998)

Every bowling scene's a gem in the Coen Brothers' lazily unspooling, White Russian-powered noir. But a favourite is the dream sequence where The Dude (Jeff Bridges – see also number 1) bowls himself down the lane like a sleazy Superman, all the better to look up the skirts of a chorus line of Valkyrie cheerleaders.

 
 
 

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