ATB’s Top 25 Comedies: (2) Happy Gilmore

This is At the Buzzer’s countdown of the best 25 comedies of all-time. Our panel of 10 cast their votes, and we’re revealing the results one by one until we get to No. 1 on Tuesday, May 10.

And now, our number 2:

2) Happy Gilmore (5 votes, 279 points)

What’s this I hear about you breaking a rake and throwing it in the woods?

What? I didn’t break it. I was just testing its durability, and then I placed it in the woods because it’s made of wood and I just thought he should be with his family.

Chris: I’m surprised at how high this movie finished. Not in a disappointed or upset way (it was in my own top 5), just…I didn’t know other folks on the panel loved this as much as I did.

This is an extreme outlier for me because I’m not an Adam Sandler fan, but damn it, I love Happy Gilmore. Maybe it’s because I’ve been a mediocre golfer for 25 years, and I understand the frustration that boils inside of you on a bad shot — but you can’t let it out because golf courses are sacred, quiet, reverent places. Or maybe it’s because the movie is ridiculous and aggressively funny from start to finish. You decide.

Three supporting roles stand out to me. Carl Weathers is great as Chubbs, helping Happy navigate the rage-inducing world of putting and playing the piano in heaven like an angel. Christopher McDonald kills it as Shooter McGavin, the aloof and somewhat dumb professional who can’t understand why some upstart punk is ruining his pro tour. And then there’s Ben Stiller (another actor I don’t really love) in a small but surprisingly good role as the abusive orderly at the nursing home.

But this is Sandler’s show, and his work is why you can watch Happy Gilmore over and over. I get a kick out of watching him launch 400-yard drives that apparently kill people — a nice couple on the driving range, a man minding his own business on a boat. Anyone who has played golf also gets the feeling of four-putting (or five-putting, or six-putting) on a green and ruining your scorecard, and almost everyone has tried to step into Happy’s signature swing on the driving range.

…Okay, I wasn’t going to get through the whole thing without bringing up Bob Barker. I think his appearance has to be among the top 10 cameos in film history. Savvy watchers of The Price is Right may have noticed that Bob could occasionally get exasperated and sarcastic with especially dumb contestants, but for most people, his frustration with Happy in the pro-am tournament probably came out of nowhere. Then he destroys Happy in a fistfight, calls him a bitch as he walks away, and…I mean, what more could you want. Really.

Cary: Is everyone going to talk about Bob Barker? Because everyone probably should talk about Bob Barker. I doubt we’d be talking about this movie today if he hadn’t been in it. Granted, Happy Gilmore is, overall, one of Adam Sandler’s better movies. It’s got a fair plot that revolves around sweet and understandable intentions (Happy helping his grandmother), and it features good mix of intentional and unintentional comedy. Not everything Sandler does in the movie is funny, but his actions and reactions, as well as those of the rest of the cast, help bring everything together coherently. Happy Gilmore is one of those “watch anytime” movies because it’s easy and entertaining.



Honorable Mention




(25) The Princess Bride

(24) Shaun of the Dead

(23) Arsenic and Old Lace

(22) Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

(21) The Big Lebowski

(20) Young Frankenstein

(19) Zombieland

(18) Liar Liar

(17) Blazing Saddles

(16) My Cousin Vinny

(15) Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

(14) 21 Jump Street

(13) What We Do in the Shadows

(12) Airplane!

(11) Tropic Thunder

(10) Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

(9) Role Models

(8) The Hangover

(7) School of Rock

(6) Mrs. Doubtfire

(5) Zoolander

(4) Little Miss Sunshine

(3) Monty Python and the Holy Grail


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