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RoundTable: Happy Gilmore 20th Anniversary Edition

RoundTable: Happy Gilmore 20th Anniversary Edition

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Happy Gilmore. So, we here at The Open Field felt it was a perfect opportunity to all contribute to our first ever Roundtable Blog, which will be a staple on this site in the coming months. Below, you will find a small piece from each author about what Happy Gilmore meant to them 20 years ago, and still means to them today. 



90% percent sure I’ve never seen the movie start to finish. Have I seen it all or at all? Doesn’t matter, dude’s been making the same flick forever. I guess there’s an argument to be had here about what Sandler’s “best” movie is, and given the popularity of Shooter Mcgavin’s Twitter account that’s probably pretty fair. That said, there’s just something about “Is that it, Dad? Did the penguin tell you to do this?” that screams all time greatness, never wanted to fuck with that thought process.

My own dad was a doctor, he missed the playing 18 lecture in med school so to that point the hockey stick – teeing off bit is hilarious regardless of context. It legitimately reminds me of myself on the green with or without the beers and with an actual club. I could do without the Bruins affiliation, but he does the accent soo well…like I said: the guys got FORMULA. On second thought, keep the B’s jersey, I couldn’t love anything more than the best comedic Boston accent of all time coming from a Brooklyn-ite.

BOB – 

On Why I Am I Better Match For Bob Barker Than Happy Was Or Ever Will Be

On the 20th Anniversary of this beautiful and generation-defining movie, there is really only one thing that matters – revisiting the Barker-Gilmore fight. Why? Because it’s time to face the facts: Bob Barker brings out the worst in men. And I, for one, would love to end him.

Let me pick apart the inadequacies in Mr. Barker’s fighting style right now and show the world once and for all that I could kick the shit out of a 92 year old in hand-to-hand-combat like our dear friend Happy was so woefully unable to.

First thing any seasoned warrior will notice is Bob’s punching stance. Left hand hangs a bit low when he starts tossing uppercuts with his right. Tssk. Bob, Bob, Bob. You really think you can leave Western Barkerfaceyllvania open like that and I’m not gonna paint it with precisely-placed jabs like a young Drago? For such a charming and respected man, you sure are ignorant.

From there it does get a bit tougher. I respect that Bob knows how to work an opponent. Body-body-head. Hands come down, hit the head, hands come up, hit the body. Work it Bob. I can appreciate that. But I can also assure you that my diligent routine of four v-sit pull-ups per week has left me with an impenetrable torso like Anhur, the Egyptian god of war. You hit this body, you hit a steel wall reinforced with a thin layer of fat primarily for storing heat during the cold Boston winters.

Oh now you’re gonna keep your hands way out wide? This isn’t Karate Kid, Bob. You are not and will never be Ralph Macchio. There is no crane stance to save you. You leave that sternum wide open, you better believe I’m channeling my inner high school wrestler and delivering a blast double the likes of which your sorry Tales-From-The-Crypt-Lookin’-Ass has never seen. I will sweep your leg, I will win this match with no honor, and I will take both Elisabeth Shue and Vanna White as my lawfully wedded wives, monogamy be damned.

Oh I’m sorry, you think I care you hosted WWE Raw in 2009? Let me counter that hypothetical question with another. You think I wouldn’t clean house on WWE Raw using a debilitating combination of Sicilian wits and egregious application of vaseline to my underwhelming body? Think again, Bob.

And, unlike Happy, I won’t make the same mistake as every movie protagonist ever (see Oberyn Martell and his squished head). I will never, and I mean never, stand over your motionless body and gloat. Happy may have delivered one of the iconic shit-talks of all time, but hubris kills. Instead, I will take two steps back and deliver six to seven decisive chops to your carotid artery. And because I always learn from others mistakes, I will light your pale, yet surprisingly lithe body on fire to ensure no post-mortem tomfoolery will occur.

It would be a pleasure to meet you on the field of battle, Bob. But know that, should our fates ever cross, I will end you.


Happy Gilmore has an endless amount of quotable lines, and it is one of the greatest sports-comedy films (maybe even sports films) ever.  It provides a hilarious blue collar slant to one of the stuffiest atmospheres in the world: a golf club.  All jokes aside, Shooter McGavin may be one of the best movie villains of all-time, and other than Caddyshack, I do not think any golf movie gets recited on the course more often by regular guys like you and I.  And of course the film also starred Julie Bowen, and she is just splendid!

While I could still tell you the first time I ever saw the film because it is that important to my low brow choice of film-watching (rainy vacation on Cape Cod, circa 2001), let us take a step back and look at it in the big picture of Adam Sandler’s seemingly endless career on film.  This dude sold his soul to the devil, because no one with his resume should have two decades of films.  But here we are.

In 1996, Sandler already had a name for himself thanks to Saturday Night Live and his solo comedy albums, but his career on the big screen was not much to stop and look at.  Looking back now, Billy Madison sits on the Mount Rushmore of Sandler movies alongside Happy Gilmore, but in 1995 it crashed pretty bad and was not well-received, even by Sandler standards (which are staggeringly low).

But following Happy Gilmore’s success in the box office, in which it debuted at #2 in its opening weekend, the film marked the blast-off point in Sandler’s film career and he has not looked back, amassing over $2 BILLION in box office sales since.  After Gilmore, Sandler rattled off The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy, Big Daddy, and Little Nicky all within the next few years – and all of which he wrote himself, along with Happy GilmoreLittle Nicky was also the first film Sandler starred in under his own production company, Happy Madison Productions.  The name of the company came from… well you guys are smart so I will leave that to you.

Say what you will about the guy – he barely seems like he is even trying on screen sometimes.  But he has been successful and he has found his niche.  I like the guy.  I’ll admit it.  It is hard not to.  And Happy Gilmore was the first glimpse I caught of him as a 10-year old kid who was just glad his parents were not paying attention enough to catch him watching this movie at the time.

The PGA even spent an entire day last week paying homage to the film’s 20th anniversary.  It has cemented itself as one of the hallmarks of comedy when it comes to the game of golf, and given the age of the new golfers on Tour when the film came out, its legacy is only going to grow.

And from now until I am too crippled to swing a golf club, whenever I miss a putt, or two, or sometimes three on the same hole, it is almost a guarantee that I am going to ask the golf ball if it was too good to go in its home.  Kind of crazy to imagine that we are devoting this much attention to such a crazy film but it was a staple of our childhood.  Happy 20th Birthday, Happy.



Ben Stiler changed my perception of old people homes forever


There’s enough humor above to take this a slightly different route, so I want to dedicate this space to shout out an unsung hero. The man responsible for making the movie everything it was 20 years ago, who did so by showing a lack of institutional control on par with Roger Goodell, but in alllllll the right ways. Fictional PGA Tour Director – “Doug”


Doug, your inability to control any of the PGA Regulations that I KNOW were in place 20 years ago is why you are the MVP of this entire movie. Happy was literally fighting Bob Barker on national television and you suspended him like, a week. Shooter “Shooter” McGavin actually employed someone to follow Happy around and yell profanities during his back-swing. You’re either a moron or a god damn visionary allowing that to happen. In fact, I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you allowed it by choice, in which case kudos to you brother. Without you, Shooter and Happy both become polarizing figures without a counterpart. Keeping them together, opposing each other so directly throughout the entire tour, in order to boost revenue and let integrity fall to the wayside, as most good leaders do. You set up the “Magic v Larry” the PGA needed during a very difficult period for viewership. You are probably the reason golf still exists today. Hats off to you Doug, for allowing the type of tomfoolery the PGA so desperately needed.

Oh, and also, a very serious tip of the cap to Happy Gilmore, Chubbs, Doug, Shooter, Bob, Julie Bowen and everyone involved in the movie that cemented itself as a transcendent masterpiece in the minds of everyone who has had the pleasure of enjoying it. We, here at The Open Field, salute your 20 years, and hope for another 100 to follow. Now, KICK HIM OFF THE TOUR DOUG!



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