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year: 1979 cast: Tim Matheson, Susan Blakely, Jack Warden, Matt Clark, Mews Small rating: ***1/2
Quickly following a retro opening-credit montage of the history of bowling, you’d think the movie was about to end: With the kind of climactic energy composer Bill Conti gave to Rocky Balboa's final bout, we have Tim Matheson, playing a character named DREAMER, winning a tournament as victorious music blares.

But Dreamer’s just a regular guy who works as a mechanic for a bowling alley owned by a ball-busting boss (the always-antagonistic Richard B. Schull). His best friend and mentor, the Obi Wan Kenobi or Burgess Meredith of the story, is Jack Warden’s Harry, who, with plans of buying his own alley, isn’t the only dreamer on board.
Tim Matheson as Dreamer bowls yet another strike
This mellow character-driven sports film, given a breezy theme song by Jimmy Buffett to counter the brassy Conti soundtrack, is full of individuals either wanting to get out or are perfectly content within the cozy confides of small town living. The alley itself is like a world to the viewer… Writer/Director Noel Nosseck really makes the grungy joint feel like a home away from home.

Much of the plot has Dreamer trying to qualify for a tournament, which could possibly end the film with the same glory it began: but with higher stakes and more of a payoff. Meanwhile his energetic girlfriend Karen, played by Emmy winning actress Susan Blakely… looking equally hot in a sundress as she does a sleeve-less teal green t-shirt… wants him more satisfied with real life than dreams.
Susan Blakely as Karen is angry... again in DREAMER
Poster Art
She’s defiantly no Adrian. “Yo, Karen” wouldn’t have the same ring to it. Not very patient of her boyfriend’s ambitions, she doesn’t take crap from Dreamer or anyone else for that matter.

The boss can’t boss her around and one of her tantrums even causes old Harry to suffer a heart attack. But it takes a great actress to bring such a flawed character to life, providing more genuine layers than your usual pretty love interest.

There are moments of downtime… a few plodding scenes where the characters aren’t quite sure if this is a comedy or drama… but the side-cast helps keep the pace, making the residents seem like genuine folk. Matt Clark's Spider is a regular in the pool hall/bar area, flirting with every girl till he eventually realizes Mews Small’s spunky waitress Elaine might be for keeps.

But the real star is Tim Matheson, both known for his awesome supporting roles (FLETCH, MAGNUM FORCE) or a main character sharing space with an equally important ensemble cast (ANIMAL HOUSE, 1941k, UP THE CREEK)... Here he’s cool, confident and vulnerable as an underdog hero: you’ll be damn glad to have him as the central leading man the whole way through.
Tim Matheson is Dreamer in DREAMER
Susan Blakely as Karen with Jack Warden as Harry in DREAMER
Susan Blakely as Karen in DREAMER
Susan Blakely as Karen in DREAMER
Susan Blakely with Tim Matheson in DREAMER
Susan Blakely with Tim Matheson in DREAMER
Tim Matheson with Susan Blakely in DREAMER
Susan Blakely with Tim Matheson in DREAMER
Mews Small (Marya Small) as Elaine in DREAMER
Matt Clark as Spider flirts with Mews Small in DREAMER
Matt Clark as Spider being hustled by sexy pool shark Azizi Johari
A lovestruck Mews Small as Elaine in DREAMER
Tim Matheson bowls another strike in DREAMER
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