Today’s installment of 73 Sports Movies in 73 Days is the 1996 comedy Happy Gilmore, which many people consider to be one of the funniest sports movies ever made. Some of my friends believe that it is the funniest sports movie ever made, but I won’t even have that conversation as long as I have a functioning brain and am aware of the existence of Slap Shot, which will have its day here soon enough.
While I didn’t plan on watching Happy Gilmore (for the gazillionth time) just yet, my hand was forced by a conversation with a friend who believes that I truly hate all of Adam Sandler’s work, from his Saturday Night Live days all the way to his latest effort Grown Ups 2, and that couldn’t be any farther from the truth. The fact is that my discontent and borderline loathsome animosity toward Sandler and his Happy Madison cronies is actually the result of how much they’ve regressed and devolved since the days of Happy Gilmore, which I have always believed to be Sandler’s finest piece of work.
Also, it’s Friday and I just wanted to watch something stupid and fun.
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The “Guilty Pleasure” Film
A lot of people that I know and read consider Happy Gilmore to be a guilty pleasure, which is a ridiculous idea to me, because there’s nothing to feel guilty about. It’s as hilarious today – to a 34-year old blogger with no alcohol (at the moment) or THC in his system – as it was 17 years ago to a teenager that might have possibly had plenty of those in his system at any hour of the day. Unless his mom is reading this, in which case, what are alcohol and THC?
The only person who should feel guilty is Sandler, who started off his film career with two cult hits that eventually grew into mainstream hits, with Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore, although I’d argue that the former definitely doesn’t age as well as the iconic golf comedy. If anything, I wish we could have cryogenically frozen Sandler right after The Wedding Singer and only defrosted him every few years so he never went on to make forgettable duds like Mr. Deeds, Jack and Jill and, my least favorite of anything ever made in any medium of entertainment ever, That’s My Boy.
(*Bobby Big Wheel and I had a brief discussion yesterday about how we both actually enjoyed You Don’t Mess with the Zohan. I also admittedly enjoyed 50 First Dates, which I’d say qualifies as a guilty pleasure. But I also attribute my enjoyment of both of those films to the fact that I’ve watched every Happy Madison film, especially those in recent years, and I appreciate their creativity so much more when comparing them to That’s My Boy. Food for thought.)
For those of you who refer to Happy Gilmore as a “guilty pleasure,” please stop. Embrace it as an actual, proud pleasure and perhaps we can force Sandler to reclaim this ridiculousness that appealed to everyone and not just his gaggle of herp-a-derp friends who wouldn’t know a fresh joke if it kicked them in the balls while making a record scratch.
The Longevity Of Such A Ridiculous Film
One of the true signs of a classic and iconic film is how many quotable moments it features and how long people keep quoting it. I play golf semi-regularly and I’m awful, but not a round goes by that I don’t hear at least one mention of Happy Gilmore. Some of the lines that people, including myself, still let fly to this day include:
And of course:
We certainly can’t forget:
Nor can we exclude:
Even the moments that didn’t necessarily have lines:
And those that don’t even have anything to do with golf:
Or the line that I constantly say to myself at the driving range to keep from snapping all of my clubs in half:
Hell, even the pro guys are still trying to master the Happy Gilmore drive at tour events.
One Thing That Still Makes My Sides Hurt
This guy slays me. Every damn time.
Young Julie Bowen
I still kind of dig older Julie Bowen on Modern Family a little more, but young Julie Bowen should have been a lot more famous.
Whatever Happened To This Kid?
This kid should have been famous just for his unique looks alone. According to IMDB, Jared Van Snellenberg had several roles post-Happy, including in Saving Silverman, Rat Race and Air Bud: Spikes Back. But he never appeared in another Happy Madison film, which strikes me as very odd because of Sandler’s longstanding tendency to take care of his own. Poor Jared. I think he’s due for a comeback in whatever Happy Madison turd is next.
This Might Be One Of My All-Time Favorite Movie Scenes
Again, I don’t feel guilty about this at all.
Chubbs Was Perhaps Carl Weathers’ Finest Character
I know, this is where I cross the line from playful hyperbole into outright blasphemy, because blah, blah, blah Apollo Creed and Dillon. But if I cared enough to walk outside and I didn’t hate talking to people in person, I’d love to take a survey and ask random strangers what they remember Carl Weathers for most in his career. I’m willing to bet that the majority of people would say, “Who’s that?” and then the second most popular response would be Chubbs. My gut feels pretty strongly about that one.
Also, I Love The Opening Credits As Much As The Movie
Not too many movies are able to incorporate top notch dick jokes into their opening credits. That’s an impressive feat in itself.
Final Grade: I could go on and on about the movie and probably GIF the whole damn thing and call my old college buddies and quote it until we accidentally start confusing it with Billy Madison and probably a movie like Anchorman that doesn’t even feature Sandler. Happy Gilmore is a true classic that deserves to be openly appreciated with no guilt or shame. I give it all the Abraham Lincolns, Chubbs and one-eyed alligators in the world forever and ever.