A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
Everybody has a film that is incomparably close to their hearts. A film that they grew up with and that has remained a major part of their lives. A film that you can quote endlessly and one that you love to share with those around you, no matter how good or bad it really is.
For me, that film is “Happy Gilmore”. It has everything about an outrageous comedy that ticks the boxes for me. Adam Sandler was at his prime, it was the best thing to happen to golf since “Caddyshack”, and it possesses arguably the best soundtrack in history.
Dennis Dugan’s films have been notoriously hit and miss. Like “Gilmore”, releases such as “Big Daddy” and even “The Benchwarmers” have been relatively enjoyable pictures, whereas films such as “Grown Ups 2”, “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan” and “Jack and Jill” will not be discussed…
“Happy Gilmore” is about a rugged, down on his luck, hot-headed, below-average ice hockey player of the same name who discovers his grandmother is in financial trouble.
After hearing that his grandmother has not paid her taxes in a long long time, Happy tries his best to halt proceedings. On a work break, two moving men (if that’s what they’re called) are interrupted by Happy and it is during this moment where Happy unearths his greatest asset – an incredibly strong golf swing. Smashing a ball 6 blocks down the road with scarily precise accuracy, Gilmore decides to show off his skills and ultimately join a Pro Tour with the aim of winning to be able to save his grandmother’s house from being taken away.
This heartwarming and endearing tale wouldn’t be complete without a central antagonist though. ‘Shooter’ McGavin (played to a tee by Christopher McDonald) is the archetypal sporting comedy bad guy. He’s successful, but wants something more to complete his repertoire; the Pro Tour gold jacket. Cunning, mischievous and cocky behind belief, McGavin is the perfect counter character to Happy.
Both are vying for the same thing, but for different reasons; this makes for some excellent conflict and hilarious dialogue moments.
As previously stated, “Happy Gilmore” could potentially posses the best soundtrack in a film. This is a big statement, but watching the film just last night for the 800,000th time confirmed it in my mind. For me, it’s my favourite soundtrack for many reasons, mainly because it is definitely of an era.
It accompanies the vision perfectly, it sets the appropriate tone for the action and characters whilst it shows off some genuinely classic tracks. Exile, Pilot, Kansas, Lionel Richie, House of Pain and Lynyrd Skynyrd bookending the film – need I say more?!
Above all else, this is not the best film ever made, but for me, it holds a major sentimental spot in my childhood for endless reasons. It’s not only a classic sport comedy flick that shows Sandler at his prime, it’s actually a touching tale of one man’s love for his grandmother.
The performances are plausible (apart from McDonald’s McGavin which is far superior) however for a film such as this, it’s absolutely fine. Furthermore, the cameos are excellent, as well as the several pop-culture references. For a well-rounded comedic narrative, “Happy Gilmore” simply works.
You won’t see Sandler in a better role, while it’s as good as it gets for many of the cast including the director. For a classic comedy from a classic decade in films, “Happy Gilmore” is one of the best!