There are thousands upon thousands of great assholes in the
annals of cinema; the kind of characters that are both goofy and smarmy, but
also cunning and devious. For some,
Hedley Lamarr from Blazing Saddles is the perfect example, while others might
see Biff from Back to the Future as the quintessential goofy villain. Both great choices. But for me, look no further than one Shooter
McGavin from Happy Gilmore.
As brought to glorious life by magnificent character actor
Christopher McDonald, Shooter has become one of the most memorable villains to
emerge from the 90’s. He’s a great
villain, in that he pulls some pretty despicable shit, but he’s funny because
McDonald was in on the joke the entire way.
That ever present “I’m better than you” smirk, that weaselly voice, the way he carelessly mouths off to a
guy who is ten times bigger than he is (who, in case you forgot, also wore a “Guns
don’t kill people. I kill people”
t-shirt)… these are all striking characteristics of a man who is an unabashed
dumbass, but hasn’t been clued in to the fact, nor does he care.
As soon as we see Shooter saunter across the frame, you know
you’ve just laid your eyes on a living legend.
The way he pulls his imaginary guns out of his holster in order to shoot
the golf ball into the hole is beyond pathetic, yet we can’t get enough of
it. His absolute lack of class and
respect is something we, the audience, cherish simply due to the fact that he
is proudly larger than life.
His odd threat of “I eat pieces of shit like you for
breakfast” is still a regularly uttered phrase within my close knit group of
friends. His hiring of the Jeering Fan
who yells “You jackass!” is a stroke of genius.
What’s more, it’s because of Shooter’s relationship with the Fan that
got me to fall in love with Red Lobster.
So for that, I thank you, Shooter.
I mean, even the way he asks for a Diet Pepsi is slimy and rude. But that’s what’s so great about McDonald’s
delivery. He’s played plenty of antagonists
before and since Happy Gilmore, but none were even close to achieving Shooter’s
Now that I think about it, that’s the missing ingredient
from the more recent Adam Sandler movies, the one thing we grew to expect; in
other words, great villains. As
disappointing as Little Nicky was, the long list of villainous characters were
great. And who can forget “O’Doyle rules”
from Billy Madison or the greasy bastard from The Wedding Singer?
Every time I watch Happy Gilmore, a part of me hopes that
Shooter will pull through and win the big game and get that damn jacket. But to no avail. Every time, he’s on the losing end. And every time, I shed a tear of respect for
the great man that he is. Here’s to
Shooter McGavin… that jackass.