Did Crackerjack Change the Bias of Australians About Lawn Bowls

The film Crackerjack premiered nearly 13 years ago Did the great success of the Australian Premier League in 2013 and 2014 have its roots in that film? The early reviews of the film are interesting and varied

Here are some quotes from reviews of the film on IMDB

OLD JOE did not like it
A lot of fuss was made about the new Australian movie "Crackerjack", with many people saying that it was great. If it was going to be as good as Australian movies before it, such as "the castle"and "the dish", I was sure to be in for a good time. However by the end of this movie, I could not have been more wrong, as I found, the characters, the story and the direction of Crackerjack to be disgraceful. This movie does nothing for the game of bowls or the Australian film making industry read the whole revue

Old Joe expressed a viewpoint about the film that was echoed in the attitudes of many bowlers at the time

Spleen from Canberra made some timely comments
It was while watching coverage of the 1990 Commonwealth Games that I realised: lawn bowls is not just one of the few sports that isn't unbearably tedious to sit down and watch, it's positively tense and exciting; minute for minute, probably more so than any other sport.

Am I disappointed, then, that we see so little lawn bowls footage in "Crackerjack", and we never get even an overview of a complete game? Not at all. Lawn bowls isn't really cinematic in that way; unlike a game of cricket or chess, a game of lawn bowls has little in the way of narrative structure. It's shot-by-shot skill, and that's what the camera in "Crackerjack" concentrates on. We aren't even told the rules of the game, apart from what we need to know to understand individual shots. What we see of the game is still nail-biting, and it's still enough to make me wonder why I have not taken up the game myself in the past thirteen years read the whole revue

That review highlights one of bowls biggest current problems. How do we get bowls back on the box in any way, other than a news service grab for any article dealing with old people?

These lines from a review on the ABC sum the film up very well

Molloy and his brother Richard did a "kerbside crawl" research trip of Victorian lawn bowls clubs. It really paid off with regards to the authenticity of the film. Crackerjack gently captures the arcane, timeless nature of all things "jack high", from the sport's over-regulation to its septuagenarian former captains of industry, who delight in going toe-to-toe when the occasion arises read the whole review

In this Sydney Morning Herald article actor Samuel Johnson, who played Micks sidekick in the film probably got it right back on 2003, in spite of the fact that the headline given to the article was comically wrong (it should have been the first line of the article). read on

Bowls had already taken off with the younger brigade when the film was made. Bare Foot Bowls and Night Owls had exploded and the money put into the sport by those innovations had boosted the finances of many struggling clubs

At about the time of Crackerjack many club administrators were worried that bare foot and night owls may have been only a temporary phenomenon and that the financial gains may have been be waning. The film gave these activities a massive boost, bringing in a younger group, and guaranteed the future of the game as the large number who have had fun playing barefoot bowls or night owls while young take up the sport later in life.

While we like to be able to say that "the average age of the Australian Lawn Bowls team is younger than the cricket team" club administrators know that the continuing success of the sport hinges on the influx of playing members in their fifties and early sixties.

After all lawn bowls is definitely a sport for all ages, played mostly by older people but played better by the young.

Crackerjack set the scene for the Premier League, which is now the only bowls on the box. The film is well worth seeing again