I do wish I had the answer, what makes bowling films better? Lets take a look at a few for comparison.
"Tin Cup"(1996) - uh, interesting cast- Kevin Costner, cute, charming, occasionally funny. Renee Russo, beautiful, great laugh, a terrific straight man comedy timing. Don Johnson ...ooooh so pretty. Cheech Marin, again a terrific sense of straight man comedy timing and silly attitude. But this film falls so short. The pacing is off, the story is bland, the golf shots are not that exciting (did I just say that about golf?)
"Happy Gilmore" (1996) - mmmmm- maybe it was just a bad year all around for movies? IDK-and I apologize sincerely to those Adam Sandler fans who laughed hysterically at this film (the doob was rolled too tight and you weren't getting enough oxygen is the only reason I can think of) but this movie was one note. Two laughs on the same joke doesn't make a comedy.
"Kingpin" (1996) Well, look at that -we can't blame the year. An interesting and quirky cast- Woody Harrelson, Bill Murray,Randy Quaid and Chris Elliot- create a silly, sometimes pulling too hard on the joke, but fun and delightful movie. Tops both golf films put together.
"The Big Lebowski" (1998) - I almost feel silly writing anything here. The film speaks for itself. Best movie with bowling. If you haven't seen it or its been awhile, better buy it online cus with "True Grit" in theaters anything starring the brothers Bridges is probably out at the video store. Plus, this one is not a must see but a must own. Jeff Bridges as the DUDE. Seriously, Dude, its terrific.