Intensities in Ten Suburbs

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Qlassic Quotes: Setting Shooter Straight in Happy Gilmore (1995)

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on July 17, 2007

“Spoken like a true asshole!”

Forget Darth Vader. Forget the Wicked Witch of the West. Forget Iago, either the Shakespeare character or the Gilbert Godfried-voiced bird. Hell, even forget Mary Tyler Moore in Ordinary People. If you grew up in the mid-90s, there was but one personage whose name and face was immediately synonymous with the purest of evil, and that man’s name was Shooter McGavin. The first in a long line of cartoonishly wicked villains in Adam Sandler movies (Glenn Goulia, whatever the name of Bradley Whitford’s character in Billy Madison was), Shooter isn’t even given the boon that most villains get of usually being cooler and more fun than the heroes–rather, Shooter’s villainy stems merely from his sheer tooliness.

As a consequence, one has virtually no choice but to root for Happy Gilmore in his clearly destined-to-be-successful rush against Shooter in the PGA pro tour. But despite how obvious the hero and villain roles are in Happy, the movie keeps throwing in random characters who seem to exist only to prove how much more righteous Gilmore is than Shooter. There’s Richard “Jaws” Kiel, who despite getting shot by Happy in the head with a nail gun at the beginning of the movie, shows up to cheer him on and bully Shooter around (“And you can count! ON ME! WAITING FOR YOU! In the parking lot!“) There’s that barely-intelligible black dude, who slurs something about “don’t worry Happy, you got this, Shooter’s gonna choke” (whose presence, unless it was a Wesley Willis cameo and I missed that in the credits, continues to make no sense to me whatsoever). The only guy seemingly not rooting for Happy to win is the doctor who treats him after he gets hit by a car, but decides to go on with the match anyway. (Incidentally, the doctor gets the movie’s second best throwaway line: “Fine! Do whatever you like. What would I know, I’m just a doctor…”)

And then there’s Mexican American golf legend Lee Trevino. I have no idea why he was given this role in the movie, but it’s one that’s unbelievably integral. He hangs around Chubbs Peterson’s funeral, eavesdropping on Happy and Shooter’s conversation long enough to hear Shooter respond to Happy’s promise to win the tournament for Chubbs with “Yeah, and Grizzly Adams had a beard!”

Grizzly Adams DID have a beard!” he responds.

Cut back to Shooter, looking confused and walking away. End scene.

I didn’t get this line the first 15 times I saw Happy Gilmore, and now that I know who Grizzly Adams is, I think I get it even less (similarly, I did not know until writing this very blog entry that the dude responding to Shooter’s taunt was anyone other than a random short Mexican-American dude–does this mean that the random black guy is actually a pre-fame/weight loss Tiger Woods?) Is not the beard Grizzly Adams’ defining characteristic? Is it a reference to something? How could you know who Grizzly Adams is and not know that he had a beard (and if he was being sarcastic about it, why does he look so confused after being corrected?) Or is the point how totally clueless Shooter is? Whatever it is, the line continues to puzzle and delight, getting only better and weirder with age.

Is it weird, though, that the movie’s obvious anti-Shooter agenda is starting to make me feel slightly sympathetic towards him? I mean, let’s be fair–Shooter thought this was finally going to be his year, and now some young upstart who never played the game before a couple weeks ago is stealing all the attention, glory and groupies? You’d probably be a little bit pissed off too–maybe not so much as to hire Joe Flaherty to try and kill him, but enough to definitely feel that the media’s extremely one-sided portrayal of the feud was unfair, to say the least. Maybe I’ve just seen that I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry ad one too many times.

Also: noticed for the first time watching it yesterday that when the recently-deceased Chubbs is playing the piano in Happy’s happy place vision, when he lifts his hands up to show Happy that they’re both back to normal now, the piano keeps playing. Nice touch.

9 Responses to “Qlassic Quotes: Setting Shooter Straight in Happy Gilmore (1995)”

  1. Victor said

    I’ve always felt sympathetic for Shooter since day one. Being a Bills fan I can understand the feeling of never winning the big one. Besides Happy didn’t respect the game, it was just a means to get money for him.

    “Let’s get one thing straight, this is Shooter’s tour. I’ve worked hard my whole life, paid my dues, and now it’s Shooter’s turn. And Shooter’s not about to let his reign at the top be spoiled by some freak, sideshow, clown.”

  2. Wesley said


  3. […] Zac Efron Link to Article tiger woods Qlassic Quotes: Setting Shooter Straight in Happy Gilmore (1995) » Posted at Intensities in Ten Suburbs on Tuesday, July 17, 2007 Qlassic Quotes: Setting Shooter Straight in Happy Gilmore (1995) July 17th, 2007 by Andrew Unterberger “Spoken like a true asshole!” Forget Darth Vader. Forget the Wicked Witch of the West. Forget Iago, either the Shakespeare character or the Gilbert Godfried-voiced bird. Hell, even forget Mary Tyler Moore in Ordinary People View Entire Article » […]

  4. Tal said

    Shooter: “I eat pieces of shit like you for breakfast”

    Happy: “You eat pieces of shit for breakfast”

    Shooter: (awkward pause, Shooter looks around nervously) “NO!”

  5. billy said

    Kanye ruined that line for me.

  6. Sonja said

    I really really love this movie, almost as much as Sam does, and that’s really saying something because I think he loves it more than anyone even should.

    My favorite part is the triumph at the end. I’m a sucker for happy endings.

  7. Andrew Unterberger said

    It does have one of the best closing scenes of any comedy–when he returns to his Grandma’s house with the deed and the championship, and he looks to the sky, and sees Chubbs, the alligator that bit his hand off, and Abraham Lincoln (?) waving to him.

  8. Undercooked Sausage said

    what the hell is this “first in a long line of..” when billy madison predated happy gilmore by like a year clownshoes

  9. one year anniversary…

    […]Qlassic Quotes: Setting Shooter Straight in Happy Gilmore (1995) « Intensities in Ten Suburbs[…]…

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