HomeMoviesThe Top 10 Movies of 1996

The Top 10 Movies of 1996


Release Date: February 16th

Cast: Adam Sandler, Christopher McDonald, Julie Bowen, Carl Weathers, Frances Bay, Ben Stiller, Bob Barker, Kevin Nealon, Will Sasso.

Director: Dennis Dugan

Why I Love It (Angelo Gingerelli): Before Happy Gilmore was released on February 16th, 1996, golf had been a target of comedy for several decades.  From movies like Caddyshack to sketches like Tim Conway’s “Dorf on Golf” to Robin Williams’ classic stand-up set, golf’s traditionally elitist image had provided material for comedians for decades.  However, for a generation of 90’s kids, it would be Adam Sandler’s portrayal of an aspiring hockey player turned professional golfer that would be the definitive comedic take on the sport.


Happy Gilmore featured Adam Sandler at the absolute peak of his comedic prowess.  He had matured from the babbling stoner on MTV’s “Remote Control” and Saturday Night Live, but had not yet become the syrupy sweet family man seen in later movies like Grown Ups.  The movie was Sandler’s second starring role and cemented the blueprint started with the previous year’s Billy Madison.  This formula normally included establishing Sandler as a nice guy, placing him in an odd situation and then watching him comically physically assault people while being dressed inappropriately and usually falling in love in the process.  While this model provided several massive hits (Big Daddy, Mr. Deeds, The Water Boy), the well would eventually run dry and even Sandler himself would mock his career in 2009’s Funny People.  However, in 1996 the public was hungry for Adam Sandler and while the movie was disliked by critics it became clear that Sandler was the undisputed people’s champ of comedy as Happy Gilmore became just one of his massive commercial hits.

The movie has a pretty simple plot – Happy’s grandmother is going to lose her house if she doesn’t pay her taxes, so Happy does the only logical thing and becomes a professional golfer to save her home – but in the process there are so many hilarious situations that the implausibility of a man reluctantly becoming a champion golfer becomes an afterthought.   Like most Sandler movies, the physical/slapstick comedy is incredibly effective, from his slap shot inspired golf swing to his iconic fist fight with Bob Barker, almost every sight gag is Laugh-Out-Loud funny (keep in mind, this was the 90’s, when “LOL” really meant something and wasn’t routinely thrown around on social media), but what really has made the film stand the test of time is the nearly endless supply of funny lines that are constantly quoted a full two decades later.  “You eat pieces of sh*t for breakfast?” “The price is wrong, B**ch!” “You can have a warm glass of shut the h*ll up!” “Are you too good for your home?!?”  “Friends listen to ‘Endless Love’ in the dark.”  These are as recognizable today as they were when the movie was released.

The mid-90’s were filled with great comedies, but Happy Gilmore stands as one of the best because of its absurd concept, Sandler’s performance and its willingness to mock all facets of golf from pompous competitors like Shooter McGavin to inattentive instructors like Chubbs Peterson (Christopher McDonald and Carl Weathers respectively in great performances).  It has also held up incredibly well over time, and is just as funny on an iPhone in 2016 as it was on a VHS tape in 1996.

Best Line: “The price is wrong…B**CH!!!” (Happy Gilmore)

Best Scene: Happy Gilmore fighting Bob Barker at the Celebrity Pro-Am event

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Pop-Break Staff
Pop-Break Staffhttps://thepopbreak.com
Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.

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