A League of Ordinary Gentlemen (2005)
Critic Consensus: Even if bowling isn't your sport, this colorful documentary is still an entertaining watch.
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Can one of America's least glamorous sports survive a media-savvy makeover...and can it survive without one? In the 1950s and '60s, bowling was one of America's most popular sports, with millions spending their spare time on the lanes and watching professional bowling on television. However, the game's popularity took a nosedive in the 1980s and '90s, and matters only got worse when network television dropped regular bowling coverage. Eventually, the Professional Bowlers Association was bought out by a group of Microsoft executives, who pumped five million dollars into the organization and hired former football player Steve Miller to give the game a PR makeover in hopes of attracting a new audience. In A League of Ordinary Gentlemen, documentary filmmaker Chris Browne follows four professional bowlers -- Pete Weber, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Chris Barnes, and Wayne Webb -- as they scrape out a living on the pro bowling circuit and try to make sense of Miller's attempts to give the game a higher profile, with the solid play of Williams, who has won the PBA championship a whopping 39 times, often overlooked in favor of the "bad boy" showboating of Webber. … More
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Critic Reviews for A League of Ordinary Gentlemen
It's a workmanlike film, but by the time two of the above bowlers are rolling against each other for the PBA championship, Browne has the audience sweating every spare.
After a few flourishes of Errol Morris-like editing, first-timer Browne settles into a tone resembling the ESPN telecasts so crucial to the PBA's revenue stream, thriving on the intrinsic drama of competition and the league's emerging star system.
The film is part nostalgia, part wary tale of wasted youth and part underdog struggle.
Manages to be funny, sad and as informative as you'd want any movie about bowling to be.
It's a curious movie, in the best sense, acknowledging that everybody is obsessed with something, then finding out why this particular group of people is obsessed with this particular pastime.
Audience Reviews for A League of Ordinary Gentlemen
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