Bowling alley mechanic Jake Chate is a bit of a voyeur. When the girl of his dreams begins to bowl a perfect game, Jake becomes entranced by her elegant beauty.
‘Bowl Me’ is just a simple short with a brilliant display of play on words. And it’s no hideous tackiness that we are used to seeing when an abundance of word plays are used, Ben Nelson‘s film seduces us with its fractional and gloomy style along with it’s quite unique storyline.
Bowl Me is my intermediate (or junior-level) film at NYU. I’d say this film is a bit of a love letter to bowling. I’ve always been a big fan of the sport, though I’m not particularly good at it. My bowling swing looks more like Spiderman trying to throw a web with a broken arm than someone rolling a bowling ball down a lane. But it’s one of the few sports where not only is drinking and eating an option, it’s encouraged. Naturally, I’m a fan.
To our big surprise ‘Bowl Me’ was not quite a scripted film as we thought it marvelously was, and turned out to be an improvised session or rehearsals. We always encourage well scripting before shooting, but sometimes improvisations come out with a more natural and unexpected outcome. ‘Bowl Me’ is the perfect example of this.
The rest of the film just fell into place. I kept asking myself what kind of things might happen with one character bowling and another behind the pins. At one point, the story was about a drug dealer who put drugs in the finger holes of bowling balls and sent them back through the ball return. But, perhaps unsurprisingly, people liked the sexy version better, so that’s what we made. Almost all of the dialogue was improvised during rehearsals, and the action was written with some incredible input from my actors. If it weren’t for them—and my incredibly talented friends at NYU—this film would not have turned out like it did, if at all.
Nelson’s student film is extremely lustful and utterly funny, pinned together by some simply magnificent cinematography and passionate acting by all three characters.