“But Jake! You can’t be a boxer! You’re a bowl! If anyone hit you, you’d just break, and also you couldn’t hit them because you don’t have arms or hands.”
The tragic biopic of ‘Jake LaBowl’ (played by Robert De Niro) a bowl who really really wants to be a boxer, but who keeps being hindered by the fact that he’s a bowl, and consequently that this is absolutely, 100% impossible. As a result, he keeps getting really really angry, and the cereal in him keeps catching fire and becoming inedible. His long-suffering brother Joey (a china cup played by an early career Joe Pesci) and his wife Vicky (a spoon played by Cathy Moriarty) and all his nice kitchen cupboard friends such as Billy the Colander and Leo the Sink try again and again to explain that not only can he himself not fight, it would be nearly impossible even to find anyone who could legally fight him because there are no other boxers who are the same weight as a bowl, but Jake is convinced that it’s because of the Mafia, and there’s just no reasoning with him. Instead he just gets angrier and angrier.
As the film progresses, Jake LaBowl’s rage increases to the point where all he wants to do is run around the kitchen roaring at things, and it gets so bad that the only substance that can be put in him without catching fire is super-hot tabasco, and even that comes out weirdly and unpleasantly warm. Cooler substances such as guacamole don’t stand a chance, and immediately fizzle into nothingness leaving behind a small black hole. All in all, he becomes a very poor bowl indeed, and never gets chosen when guests come round. All this is compounded by the fact that he suspects that Vicky is secretly having an affair with Leo the Sink (who, in fairness, is a very sexy sink), and before long no-one in the house can sleep because of the constant muffled roaring coming from the crockery cupboard.
In despair, the owners of the house relent and somehow persuade boxing legend Sugar Ray Robinson to come to their house and fight their bowl. Sugar Ray is supremely weirded out by this, but they pay him a very great deal of money and he decides it won’t do any real harm. They set up a small ring on the table, and after a lighthearted comic scene in which they try in vain to put boxing shorts onto Jake, the two fight. There follows a tragic slow-motion bit where Jake realises that he’s actually not much good at boxing and certainly not the equal of a twice world champion, and then he gets slightly fractured and they have to stop. Sugar Ray climbs off the table and is full of apologies, because he likes bowls and wants to encourage new talent, but the world’s media are very cruel in their reports of the fight and Jake is inconsolable, and there’s a really sad bit where, all alone in the cupboard, he repeatedly hits himself against the cupboard doors weeping and muttering ‘so stupid…so stupid’.
Jake ends up leaving the kitchen and pursuing several other careers that allow him to indulge his anger, including being a plate at Greek weddings and piracy.
CLASSIC LINES FROM THE FILM
(to Vicky) “AaaaaaaAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!!”
(to Joey) “AaaaaaAAAAARRGGHHH!!!!”
(to Sugar Ray) “AaaaaAAAAAAARRGHHHH!!!!!”
“go get ‘em, champ…I’m the bowl…I’m the bowl…I’m the bowl…I’m the bowl…”
– Sugar Ray Robinson is so muscular and heavy that he kept breaking tables during the iconic table fight scene. In the end, a special table made of cast ion reinforced with sturdy ship’s beams was created.
– Robert De Niro spent months going to the finest restaurants in New York getting to know bowls in preparation for his role. He also spent several weeks training in an Ikea. He’s stated that the hardest thing about the role was ‘being completely round all the time’.
– Cathy Moriarty actually was having a behind-the-scenes romance with the man playing Leo the Sink. Scorsese noticed this early on and, thinking it would help the film’s dynamic, encouraged it by saying things like ‘Phwwooar!’ when he walked past.
– There’s a deleted scene in the director’s cut where all the kitchen implements sing and dance before the big fight. The studio decided it didn’t fit the film’s tone.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAID
“I love bowls and I love boxing, so this film ticked all the boxes! My favourite bit was the bit where Billy the Colander gets partially stuck in the small black hole.”
I’m A Film Critic Magazine
“I’m no Olivier, but if he’d seen ‘Raging Bowl’, then he might say, it’s very good”
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“Horrendously inaccurate. A bowl, however angry, would never be able to go even one round with Sugar Ray Robinson, even if he was trying really hard not to hurt it. In this film it’s three rounds before the iconic slow-motion bit before the fight stops. Ruined all films for me, forever.”
World Boxing Quarterly
WRITTEN BY WILL SEAWARD