The Made-in-Vancouver Movie Bracket: Happy Gilmore vs. Hot Rod

As part of our March-April film issue, we’re setting out to determine the best ever made-in-Vancouver film. Follow along on Twitter or Instagram.

Happy Gilmore (1996) vs. Hot Rod (2007)

Two beloved Saturday Night Live alums head up silly comedies about, respectively, a hockey player who turns to golf and an amateur stuntman. And both were filmed almost exclusively in Metro Vancouver.

They also both feature sports-obsessed idiots with daddy issues as protagonists and obnoxious preppy dudes as villains. But which one holds up? (Does either of them?)

We take a shot at figuring it out.

As a refresher, here’s how the comedy section of the bracket began:

Rotten Tomatoes rating

Happy Gilmore: 61 percent

Hot Rod: 39 percent

That Happy garnered a positive RT rating is a small miracle. It was Adam Sandler’s first movie to hit the 60-percent threshold for a “fresh” rating, and such films (especially his comedies) have since been few and far between.

Hot Rod didn’t manage to garner such respect. And while we’d argue that it’s criminally underrated here, it does pale in comparison some of Andy Samberg’s later efforts, like 2016’s Popstar.

Worldwide box office (USD)

Happy Gilmore: $41.2 million

Hot Rod: $14.35 million

Even without adjusting for inflation, Happy lays a Bob Barker–style beat-down on Hot Rod.

But to be fair, Hot Rod has morphed into something of a cult classic


Happy Gilmore: 8/10

Hot Rod: 7/10

Happy employs some of Lower Mainland’s many golf courses (Swaneset Bay Resort & Country Club in Pitt Meadows and Stanley Park Pitch & Putt, for instance), yes, but it also features Shaughnessy (Happy’s grandmother’s house she’s getting kicked out of, to really drive home the Vancouver comparison) and Mount Pleasant (Happy’s apartment).  

Hot Rod, meanwhile, puts Surrey onstage with multiple shots of the suburb and a scene involving the titular Rod trying to jump over Greenaway Pool (renamed Parkdale Pool) and failing spectacularly.


Happy’s status as one of Adam Sandler’s few actually good comedies and its hallowed place in comedic lore (who can forget Chubbs or Shooter McGavin?) is enough to tap it over the line. 

After two rounds, our bracket looks like this: