Best golf movies
Posted June 6, 2014
Sports can be a tough genre to tackle when it comes to the big screen. Real-life depictions, love story plots, misplaced comedy – it’s just hard to get it right so that the sports nut, the casual fan, and the date who just plain isn’t into sports all walk out satisfied.
Bull Durham is the perfect example of getting it right. Caddyshack II, well, that one should be erased from memory.
As we approach the unprecedented back-to-back U.S. Opens at Pinehurst No. 2, let’s look at the five best golf movies ever.
Caddyshack – This is like the Bull Durham of golf movies. As if an all-star comedy cast of Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield and Bill Murray wasn’t enough, a dancing gopher glues the film together. The “Cinderella story. Outta nowhere,” that teaches us to “be the ball,” also delivers as many one-liners as any sports movie ever made. Let’s all be glad that Bill Murray and Chevy Chase put their feud on hold long enough to do one scene together in the film – it is one of the funniest in the flick.
Tin Cup – It is probably a Hollywood requisite that Kevin Costner has to at least audition for every sports movie ever made. He’s nailed a handful of baseball roles, but Tin Cup allows him to both qualify for the U.S. Open and get the girl. A comeback tale in which the main character defeats the cocky jerk to claim love – played out, yes. But when you “hit your 7-iron like John Daly hits the 3,” you are sure to have a “winner, winner, chicken dinner.”
Happy Gilmore – A movie that involves an alligator, a fight with Bob Barker, Ben Stiller running a nursing home and a hockey stick used as a putter has to take us to our “Happy Place,” right? While Happy may have stabbed somebody with his skate in junior hockey, his long drives and oversized paychecks are really used to save his grandmother’s house. The ball may have been too good for its home, but grandma – and Happy – are not.
The Greatest Game Ever Played – It is very hard to get sports movies right when they depict actual events. Competing for a shot at the U.S. Open against Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, the amateur Francis Ouimet pulled off the upset. He then became the first amateur to ever win The Open – the first of five. The event has spawned books, documentaries and yes, a really, really good movie with Shia LaBeouf.
The Legend of Bagger Vance – Will Smith, Matt Damon and Charlize Theron in a golf movie - why not? Is Bagger Vance even real - who knows? I do know that he teaches Junuh that golf is “a game that can’t be won, only played.” Good advice for the run-of-the-mill hacker and Tour players in a funk. This is a movie with just enough tension in the love plot to not make it sappy and enough golf to make it entertaining. You walk away confident enough that you can one day find your “true authentic swing.”