Sub-Cult

Does Grandma's Boy Deserve Cult Status?

In our new feature, Nathan Rabin revisits films on the cusp of becoming cult favorites.

by | September 2, 2015 | Comments

GrandmasBoy1

Welcome to the first entry in Sub-Cult, a series devoted to weirdly infectious cinematic oddities on the cusp of becoming the cult films of tomorrow. One of my inspirations for this column is my former colleague Scott Tobias’ wonderful AV Club column New Cult Canon, but this will not be about proposing a new cult canon. Instead, it will be about exploring movies that have caught on in unexpected ways, and have attracted devoted, even obsessive followings despite a widespread consensus that they are terrible.

I will not be writing about Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Room, or Birdemic. Do not expect the usual suspects, or, for that matter, The Usual Suspects, here. I’m calling the column Sub-Cult partially because cult movies are particularly subculture-friendly, while some, like Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Big Lebowski and The Room, have attracted genuine subcultures of their own. It’s also called Sub-Cult because it’s about movies that have tenaciously hung around without rising to the level of clear-cut cult favorites. Lastly, it’s called Sub-Cult because there is a widespread consensus that just about every film I’m writing about here isn’t a cult movie that was misunderstood at the time of its release and went on to become treasured, but rather a movie that is sub-par, sub-standard and just plain not up to snuff.

I want the entries in this column to be on the provocative side. When you write about cult movies, you’re writing about audiences, time, and the way public perception shifts through the decades as much as you’re writing about the movies themselves. Cinematic cults are a glorious tribute to the diversity of human opinion. One man’s “crappy movie that rightly failed because it’s terrible” is another’s “favorite movie ever,” a movie they feel so passionately about that they’re eager to evangelize on its behalf to anyone who will listen, and even people who won’t.

I will be writing extensively here about movies that I myself panned over the course of my nearly 20-year career as a film critic who finds himself inextricably drawn to the dregs of cinema. That includes this column’s inaugural entry: Grandma’s Boy, a 2006 vehicle for Allen Covert, a member of Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Mafia who owes his career as a producer, writer, and supporting player to staying on the boss’ good side.

AllenCovertPortrait2

“With no real persona or blinding charisma to get in the way, it’s easy for fans to project themselves onto either Allen Covert or Alex, the character he plays.”

Lesser members of the Madison Mafia like Rob Schneider, David Spade, Kevin James, and Nick Swardson at least have well-defined personas to translate to film: Schneider’s a silent-movie slapstick schmuck; Spade is smarmy and condescending, even when playing a hillbilly dumbass; James is a sappy, sad sack oaf; and Swardson’s an effeminate weirdo. But the strange appeal and limitation of Covert as a movie star is that he comes across as just some guy.

Even Sandler fans who have seen Covert in multiple movies might have a hard time picking him out of a lineup or even describing him in useful terms. He’s, I dunno, handsome-ish? Or at least not bad looking, in a forgettable way? As for his comic sensibility, he’s sarcastic, I guess? And kinda immature and goofy, not unlike pretty much every lead character in a lowbrow comedy?

Yet the very features that make Covert a perverse choice to star in a theatrically released movie also make him an oddly relatable everyman. When I originally saw the movie, I quipped that it felt like Covert had won a “Star In Your Own Happy Madison Movie” contest, or that the film was the product of a month Covert spent with some very indulgent counselors and fellow campers at Happy Madison Comedy Movie Fantasy Camp.

I meant it in a pejorative way, but it also captures the film’s curious appeal. With no real persona or blinding charisma to get in the way, it’s easy for fans to project themselves onto either Allen Covert or Alex, the character he plays. On one level, that is not a tantalizing proposition. Alex is no Don Draper alpha male; he’s a 35-year-old video game tester who moves in with his grandma. And Covert was no Orson Welles when he made his starring debut, but a journeyman comedy lifer who had managed to be involved in lots of Sandler projects, dating back to his 1989 debut Going Overboard, without distinguishing himself in any way.

On another level, both Covert and Alex lead enviable existences, at least by the standards of the slackers and stoners attracted to the Happy Madison universe. Covert lucked out by starring in a movie where he gets to hang out with his Happy Madison buddies, pretend to smoke weed and play video games, and make out with Linda Cardellini.

Alex is an even luckier devil. A 35-year-old man who lives with his grandma, he’s got supportive friends always happy to smoke pot and play video games with him (preferably at the same time), a grandmother (Doris Roberts as Lilly) who adores and spoils him, and the slacker/stoner dream job of testing video games, which sounds like a career a dying child would invent as part of the Make-A-Wish program.

Alex’s dream job gets even dreamier when he discovers that his new boss is Samantha (Cardellini), a hip, sexy and fun figure of complete male nerd fantasy tasked with ensuring that a video game designed by former prodigy and current off-putting weirdo J.P. (Joel David Moore) is finished on time. In a rare nod to realism, the mere presence of a woman who looks like Samantha in a characteristically male realm like video games reduces pretty much every man she encounters to a state of drooling, open-mouthed infatuation. Alex is among those instantly love-struck and tries to find the way to his boss’ heart despite his less than ideal living arrangements. There’s also a plot of sorts involving J.P. stealing the game Alex has been developing covertly in his spare time, but it’s better to simply ignore it entirely.

Grandma’s Boy has a wonderfully endearing quality that later Happy Madison productions would fatally lack: it likes its characters and invites audiences to share that affection, instead of treating its characters like the worst kind of human garbage. It’s a much better vehicle for Swardson than Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star, and while his emotionally stunted virgin falls squarely into Swardson’s well-wrought persona as a Manic Pixie Nightmare Boy, he emerges as a funny, likable character who is even afforded a moment of triumph when he absolutely destroys at a game of Dance Dance Revolution.

LindaCardinelliPortrait

“The mere presence of a woman who looks like Samantha reduces pretty much every man she encounters to a state of drooling, open-mouthed infatuation.”

The DDR sequence is a standout, a casual masterpiece of intricately choreographed physical comedy, but Swardson isn’t the only member of the Happy Madison B-team whose gifts are uniquely well-suited to the film. Covert makes for an unexpectedly likable and appealing straight man, and perennial supporting player Peter Dante is hilarious as “Dante,” a perma-tanned, weed-dealing space cadet with a weakness for importing dangerous animals from Africa to protect his pot stash.

Even J.P. strikes a strangely sympathetic figure because his defining characteristic isn’t arrogance or a complete inability to understand how human beings function, but rather a desperate loneliness and poignant, innately doomed desire to connect with other people. J.P. communicates partially through a stereotypical “robot” voice that seems to belong to a split personality within him, giving the character a distinct “Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Robo-Hyde” vibe. He seems to want to live not just in the world of The Matrix but inside the Matrix itself, and decorates his office, computer style, with an endless series of zeros and ones. It’s telling that Grandma’s Boy invites more sympathy for its robot-emulating wannabe-android villain than the vast majority of Happy Madison productions do for their protagonists.

A young Jonah Hill also makes an indelible impression as one of Alex’s co-workers, in no small part because he spends much of his screen time suckling lustily at the breast of a stripper he meets at a wild party. Jonah Hill’s predilection for adult breastfeeding even makes it into Kool Keith’s surprisingly comprehensive theme song “Grandma’s Boyee,” which doesn’t just lay out the entire plot, it pretty much covers every subplot and story beat as well. If I were Hill, having Kool Keith rap about my character’s unusual habit would be as big an honor, if not bigger, than getting nominated for multiple Academy Awards.

Grandma’s Boy is wonderfully inclusive in its comedy; it’s the kind of film where, with the notable exception of J.P., damn near everyone gets laid, damn near everyone smokes weed, everyone plays video games, and everyone has friends who like them, no matter how geeky or socially inept they might be. The relationships here are drawn tenderly and with affection, from Alex’s sweet bond with his loving grandmother to Alex and Jeff’s friendship. Covert’s lack of a persona or star-power ends up working in the film’s favor, giving it a scruffy, underdog charm Happy Madison has lacked since Sandler’s early films. This is a movie about a loser who manages to make his loserish lifestyle work for him, starring the least distinctive and well-known member of Adam Sandler’s crew, and it ends up succeeding as a strange form of nerdy wish-fulfillment.

When it flopped in theaters, the film was at the mercy of two demographics least likely to view it kindly: film critics inclined, both by profession and disposition, to view lowbrow stoner comedies involving kung-fu fighting monkeys and stoned grandmas harshly and without compassion, and audiences asked to pay bloated movie ticket prices to see a frigging Allen Covert vehicle. Meanwhile, the film’s success as a sub-cult film and home video smash (according to the-numbers.com, it has grossed over $30 million on DVD, more than five times its theatrical take) is attributable to the fact that it’s now at the mercy of demographics most inclined to view it kindly: stoners who see it in the low-cost, low-expectation world of home video or on cable, where it seems to be playing on a constant loop.

JonahHillPortrait

“A young Jonah Hill also makes an indelible impression as one of Alex’s co-workers.”

Grandma’s Boy is what Quentin Tarantino has described as a “hang out movie,” a genial romp filled with quotable lines and fun characters it’s a pleasure to spend time with. After panning the film originally, I came to warm up to it in this new context. As a movie I caught parts of at my buddy Paul’s house, or on cable late at night, I developed a grudging fondness for it that blossomed into outright, genuine appreciation when I re-watched it in its entirety for this column.

Adam Sandler executive produced Grandma’s Boy but does not appear. Sandler can currently be seen onscreen in another video-game movie, the more or less universally reviled Pixels. The strange voyage of Grandma’s Boy from inexplicably theatrically-distributed vehicle for one of the dimmest lights in the Happy Madison galaxy to well-liked fan favorite illustrates that you can never really tell how a film will ultimately be received by audiences. Yet I can say with absolute certainty that nine years from now, I will not be writing an appreciation of Pixels as a misunderstood, under-appreciated sleeper.

I thoroughly enjoyed Grandma’s Boy but I’m not too eager to see Covert in a lead role again. Much of the film’s charm comes from its modest scope, and I quite like Grandma’s Boy as an overachieving one-off rather than the beginning of a career. As Sandler and a public increasingly exhausted with his antics can attest, it’s better to not star in enough movies than to exhaust the public’s tolerance for your shtick by starring in way too many movies.


My Original Certification: Rotten
My Re-Certification: Fresh
Tomatometer: 18 percent

Up next: Grease 2

  • Jon Boriss

    I have and will never understand why this movie has stuck around. Real bottom of the barrel Happy Madison trash.

    • NathanFords EvilTwin

      I mean you could read all those nice words written above for a good explanation, but I understand why such effort would be hard for you.

      • Jon Boriss

        Or I did read it, because what kind of monster replies to an article without reading it first, and don’t agree with many of them. I also just watched this movie again in April in another attempt to try and get what the deal is and it still does absolutely nothing for me but thanks for the reply!

        • NathanFords EvilTwin

          Well then put all that in the original post so you don’t look like an idiot.

          • Jon Boriss

            I have read the article and seen this movie before posting my opinion.

            Didn’t realize I had to start every comment specifying that I read the article in question before posting. Learn something new every day I guess! Will this policy be enforced on the other posters here or just me? Just want to make sure we are all on the same page.

          • NathanFords EvilTwin

            It’s hard to explain, but just saying you don’t understand something under an article whose goal it is to make you understand it comes across as a bit of a dickish dismissal, you know? Like more specific criticisms on the article would make it seem like a response to the article rather than ignoring it. Sorry for my jerkass tone earlier, so rare and nice to see someone who genuinely wants to understand where I’m coming from!

          • Jon Boriss

            I have read the article and seen this movie before posting my opinion.

            I apologize for hurting you so much with my original comment. Grandma’s Boy is still garbage though.

          • NathanFords EvilTwin

            Lol oh I’m the one acting hurt now

          • dirtside

            Yeah, but the real question is, have you read the article and seen the movie before posting your opinion?

          • NathanFords EvilTwin

            I mean I’m just posting an opinion on your comment, not the movie. But yeah, I read the article, love Rabin’s work.

          • Magic Emperor

            Dude, I’m reading all of your posts with Greg’s voice. Ain’t that just the way! Where’s that ol’ frog of mine?

          • dirtside

            Also, *secret AV Club Commentariat handshake*

          • NathanFords EvilTwin

            Right back atcha

    • Daniel Braun

      Lol. A long article explaining why this movie has stuck around. Explaining why millions of people love the characters.

      Your post. “I have and will never understand why this movie has stuck around.”

      Derp.

  • holeymolars

    I count myself among this movie’s subcult. Great pick!

  • Status = Cult

  • Astronaut Mike Dexter

    I can’t explain why I like this movie. It’s good, not great. Its reach never exceeds its grasp. There’s something endearing about the male friendships in it, like when Dante unquestioningly has his buddy’s back: “I’ll smoke it with ya bro, we’ll go to the loony bin together. I don’t give a fuck.”

  • Unexpected Dave

    This is going to be a great feature. Nathan has the perfect kind of open-mindedness to approach reviled movies in a new light (or add further hate to the pile, as needed).

    The first candidates that leap to my mind are Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Mallrats and the 1986 animated The Transformers: The Movie.

    • MalevolentCure

      Ho-ly shit , if it isn’t mon frere! Mallrats is perfect for this list!

    • disgruntledfilmstudent

      YES TRANSFORMERS. Such a dark ugly kids movie. I love it.

    • kevin

      Idc I love Robin hood men in tights and mallrats both of which I have on blu ray and watch consistently

    • Trainwreck

      Those are all stellar choices. The soundtrack alone from The Transformers cartoon should give it cult status

  • Congrats on the new column, Nathan!

    • A Rising Ape

      Run run run as fast as you can, you’ll never escape the commentariat, maaan!

      • When I promised the Dissolve writers that I would follow them wherever they go, I don’t think they saw it as the veiled threat I wanted them to.

      • Roger Noyes

        Shut up

  • Conor Malcolm Crockford

    Nice job! I may have to give this a shot.

  • artdork

    I’m still not going to watch this, but congrats, Nathan!

  • Badsha Saud

    GREAT fucking movie. totally underrated.

  • Skip, In Outer Space

    Love the column concept. Excited for more.

    I wonder how much the reappraisal of these movies comes from the constant rotation on tv, at the least it keeps the movie in your consciousness and you can continue to think on it.

  • My Damn Croissants

    Well this was a lovely surprise, congratulations Mr Rabin! I hope this column lasts…at least long enough to see you someday cover the glorious SOUTHLAND TALES.

  • Adzl33t

    Nah fuck this pandering Straight White Middle Class dude movie, for a supposed cult movie, this is standard generic schlock

    • A Rising Ape

      Cult ≠ Arthouse
      Cult = Has A Cult

  • Andre Dias

    Very good text Nathan, and I agree with you, Grandma’s Boy is a hang-out movie and very fun.

  • Matty Adams

    Exceptionally well written piece on a largely misunderstood guilty pleasure. You hit the nail on the head for pretty much every point as to why it’s so universally loved in it’s inner circle, and so easily panned by those expecting Oscar worthy caliber. Kudos to you Nathan!

    • Jake Dambach

      Absolutely spot on. Grandma’s Boy is no masterpiece, but it’s a solid, entertaining film with some great side characters. Plus Linda Cardellini is fucking smoking hot in this film in particular.

  • Pierogi Power

    I absolutely love this movie and for anybody into gaming and graphic arts, it’s absolutely cult status.

  • MidnightNoon

    Though not a great movie, and definitely the type that opens in early January, what makes it better than other Happy Madison stuff is the R rating, which allows it to not hold back the way too many comedies do these days.

    Plus, I loved this exchange:
    Shirley Jones: I gave Charlie Chaplin a handjob.
    Nick Swardson: (awed) Was he silent?!

  • Marianne Renoir

    Take off the Woody Allen jacket.

  • Aaron Williams

    yes 100%

  • Joseph

    100% a Cult movie because the quotable lines.

  • TheSundanceKid

    I adore this movie! It is a classic in it’s own right.

  • Claire Zulkey

    I interviewed Linda Cardellini for a “Random Roles” and this is what she said about this movie:

    AVC: This movie won a lot of awards from High Times.

    LC: [Laughs.] Wow! Well, it’s not for nothing. We laughed so
    hard making that movie. It was so much fun to go to work every day. Nick
    Swardson is hilarious, Kevin Nealon is hilarious, Peter Dante is
    hilarious. We just had the best time. Nobody wanted to go home because
    we just laughed so much. It has a very distinct and very passionate
    following.

    “Distinct…passionate!” Sounds about right for this column. [Nice job, Nathan!]

    • Ruck Cohlchez

      “It’s not for nothing”, in this context, sounds like code that means “When I say ‘laughed so hard’, I mean ‘smoked lots of weed’, and when I say ‘is hilarious’, I mean ‘ESPECIALLY smokes a lot of weed.'”

    • floop

      “Oh, and Allen Covert… was… there. Coburn? Allen Coburn was definitely present.”

  • Lil daddy

    Alex: Dude, your bed is a car…
    Jeff: Yeah, but it’s a fucking sweet car.

    • IDon’tCareWhatYouThink

      “I can’t believe you came on my mom.”

    • Swedish Husbands

      Smells like Cypress Hill concert in here.

  • Stickler Meeseek

    I wonder if Idle Hands could fit here? I remember being surprised how entertaining it was.

    • MalevolentCure

      Fantastic film. Also does a pretty great job at being equal parts scary and equal parts comedic. The first few times I rewatched Odle Hands, I forgot between viewings just how gory and fairly scary the opener is.

  • Literally never even heard of it before. And I’m only aware of Allen Covert as “that guy from those Sandler movies”.

  • Ancient Romans

    I propose George A. Romero’s Knightriders for the column, if only because I propose Knightriders for everything, ever.

  • UnDeaD77

    It’s one of the better Happy Madison movies for sure. I like it like Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore. Then a lot of gamers can relate to it as well!

  • Mr_U

    I’ve always liked this film. It’s sweet and funny, and full of likable characters…

  • Awesome new column. I’ll really enjoy reading this. And great way to start it out. I’ve gone back and tried to figure out what makes Grandma’s Boy an enjoyable movie and you nailed it. It’s by no means a good movie, but it is unexpectedly likable.

  • fahqluzrz109

    Critics only love movies with their stupid political agenda hidden in the movie. Which is exactly why I never take their opinion serious anymore. Sure, they can sometimes weed out bad movies, but they pass on any great film that goes against their stupid political agenda. This movie was always great, the wanna be know-it-alls hate on anything that isn’t about their moronic, hidden, globalization agenda.

    • buttermoths

      Of all the fun “crazy person obsessions” out there, you chose the “hidden globalization agenda”? Pretty dull, dude.

  • fahqluzrz109

    Rotten Tomatoes is a joke. They hate any movie that is about Christianity or isn’t anti-American. So long as it hates on the people who built America after WWII, they give it a high rating.

    • MichaelTremendous

      Cool post.

    • Joey

      Cool Story Bro

    • NameNamerson

      It’s the reptilians bro.

    • Ruck Cohlchez

      Sorry you can’t handle that other people don’t like your religious tracts

  • awesome-O

    This is one of my favorite comedies, I watch it every time it’s on.

  • Liked this review, but nothing about Doris Roberts? My childhood years spent watching her and Peter Boyle spar in Everybody Loves Raymond was really the only thing that made me think this movie might be worth a watch. We need more old lady comedians in Happy Madison films!

  • Brody T.

    Cool column. Love the idea. I watch Grandma’s Boy every time I watch something too dramatic or upsetting. For instance Hostel…Grandma’s Boy. The Imitation Game…Grandma’s Boy. Million Dollar Baby…Grandma’s Boy. It helps clean the palate if I get too sad. HAHA

  • john

    Great movie… Would love to see a sequel someday!

  • VinsVinyl

    I thought Doris Roberts and Shirley Jones generated the most (and best) laughs! Always a nice surprise when it pops up on basic cable!

  • Mike Smith

    Welcome to Rotten Tomatoes, Nathan!!!

  • Tommy Wiseau

    You say bad movie, I come running

    • IDon’tCareWhatYouThink

      O, hai Tommy.

  • dirtside

    Is it really a surprise that a man named Allen Covert is hard to recognize?

    • Ruck Cohlchez

      A little bit. I mean, Guy Incognito is pretty distinctive, with his monocle and handlebar mustache.

  • Joey

    Very well written article… Although I absolutely adore this movie I can understand the other end of the spectrum as well.. Covert is a forgettable character but having the kind of supporting cast that he had helped make the movie into the Cult-status it enjoys.

  • confusedguy

    I’ve seen this a few times and this movie has never clicked with me the way it has with others. I just find it as unfunny as all the other Happy Madison stuff. To each their own but I don’t get why this one stuck around.

  • Thumper Vonn

    This movie is shockingly good.

  • Kyle Davidson

    I don’t believe many cult film lists even include Grandma’s Boy but to start off the list with Grandma’s Boy, that’s like…legendary

    • TheVoiceOfReason

      I understood that reference.

      • Kyle Davidson

        Well I’m glad someone did!

    • Josh Bowe

      I signed up for an account just to upvote that comment. well done.

      • Kyle Davidson

        Much appreciated!

  • Totes_McGoats

    Grandma’s Boy was honestly one of the worst movies I have ever seen. I hope it doesn’t achieve “cult” status.

    • James Simcoe

      Then you don’t like slapstick comedy so your opinion is void.

      • Totes_McGoats

        No see what I enjoy is actual funny slapstick comedy. This movie tries so hard and fails on every level…This is my opinion in which a lot of other people agree, so guess what? Spoiler alert…your comment is void.

        • kevin

          Obviously you didn’t read the article because if you did you would see that this movie has raked in money on home video and has indeed become a cult classic.

    • Brandon

      Too bad. It already has.

      • Totes_McGoats

        Nope, not even close. Movie is garbage. Nice try though.

    • kevin

      Already has

    • bullseye717

      Not enough black people killed for your liking?

  • D-Man

    So how much do clothes cost in The Matrix?

  • Jeff

    I think what held this movie back financially is the fact it came out before the big stream of R rated comedies. Before the Apatow/hangover crews really made a big leap into the norm.

    I do consider this to be more of a guilty pleasure rather than a classic, but it definitely can find an audience of seeing something and expecting it to be awful, but surprise them in the end of being very entertaining.

  • A Rising Ape

    Interest is a highly relative quality, certainly it’s an object of fascination for lonely stoner/gamer guys. As a recovering schmuck, I think it’s just pretty good, but it was a bit ahead of it’s time, and that counts for something. Gaming culture was juUust coalescing into a thing when this movie flopped onto the scene, so we glommed onto it with a certain amount of desperation; pretty much every prior attempt to make a movie about video games had been campy fun at best and fucking disastrous at worst. I use the universal “we” only because I was working a customer support job for Blizzard around then and it was VERY popular among us drones.

  • Mike Meyer

    This movie sucked beyond words can even describe. It doesn’t deserve to be a cult classic at all. It was atrociously unfunny with a cliche script and crappy acting.

    • James Simcoe

      Troll.

      • Mike Meyer

        Ummmmm no? People that liked this movie would probably like Bucky Larson BtbAS. That goes on the worst comedy movies of all time list as well. Just speaking the truth.

        • MalevolentCure

          False.
          Nathan cites Bucky Larson as a mean-spirited, unfunny comedy that cares not for its characters.
          I love Grandma’s Boy and didn’t even bother to see Bucky because it looked like trash. Same goes for “That’s My Boy”.

        • James Simcoe

          Troll.

        • Josh Bowe

          Yeah that’s not true. I love this movie and hate everything else the Sandler clan does.

    • Brandon

      People that don’t like this movie take mirror selfies.

      • kevin

        Lmao

  • Chris

    i discovered this movie by accident at best buy one saturday because the cover looked interesting. I think the second movie you should write about is “Balls of Fury”!

  • Ted Scott

    Yes, I’ve read the article, and no, I can’t really believe anyone with half a brain would enjoy this drivel. Is bad stoner comedy all you ask for? This is just another long string in poorly half baked Happy Madison tax write offs. The thing that really grinds my gears is that it has a fundamental misunderstanding about how video games actually are made. Testing is a shit tier job, anyone who has ever worked in it has horror stories. The idea that some shlub like Covert’s character can develop a *good*, fully playable, 3D action game in his off time and grandmother’s basement in such a short amount of time is just the last bit of insulting logic.

    I guess I just like my fun to respect my intelligence just a little bit more than this sort of low tier, half assed weed comedy punchline vehicle.

    • sad

      Logic? Man, I didn’t realize I was supposed to be logical about fun things!!!

  • duke7424

    Thank you for such a well written article. I think whats difficult in becoming a cult classic, is the standard to which people hold movies to now-a-days simply to be put in the class. Grandmas Boy in my opinion does fit a certain crowd, it’s those who usually love the Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore element from Happy Madison’s past. Though it seems somewhat immature looking back at it now, in my teenage years and even early twenties my big group of friends used to watch both movies (Billy and Happy) all the time and loved quoting both to each other extensively, and still do just in much smaller amounts. Grandmas Boy was very refreshing when it came out because it didn’t take itself too seriously and had actual like-able characters that you want to root for and a small villain in J.P’s case who still had many funny quotable’s. The characters know who they are in the film and play off each other beautifully with whimsical anecdotes. I get how some people could find the movie almost ridiculous but it still has a wide and ever-growing audience (I mean weed is becoming legal in some states now, Right?). Regardless, it’s goofy comedy at it’s best….I’m all for intelligent comedy with big punchlines but i think that’s what people are judging it so badly against. It depends highly on your expectations going into a movie. People are actually claiming that their jobs weren’t believable in Grandmas Boy but what comedy really is? I love Big Lebowski, but nobody is believing someone is going that far over a rug (though it did really tie the room together) or that criminals would even take the rug knowing the real Lebowski they are looking for, is rich and very old. In Happy Gilmore, a guy who has never golfed becomes a champion with a few lessons and can drive a ball over 300 yards, in Billy Madison a grown adult goes back to grade school, in a chance to win over his fathers company. My point is: You know what kind of movie your going to watch in a Happy Madison Production. Some will be down right ridiculous to the point that you can’t even watch, others have a certain charm where you can find laughter in the characters dialogue. None will be award-worthy, but if you can stop taking yourself so seriously and rather enjoy the fun, you will have a great time watching Grandmas Boy.

  • This seems more of a guilty pleasure movie – it’s just a bad movie you and a handful of other people enjoy on DVD/YouTube after it flopped in theaters. I feel cult status (or sub-cult? as your proposing) movies need to have some overarching quality that people universally latch onto. Either a theme, setting or a character that is so unique and weird you’ll let the regular stuff you expect from a feature film slide (eg. production quality, sub-par acting, etc.) Grandma’s boy is just a bad movie with a predictable and formulaic Happy Madison plot with an unmemmorable lead character. Some of the comedic actors around him have a few funny moments, but not anymore than a standard stoner-comedy.

  • Mike Dexter

    Great article! When I first saw this, I thought it was well dumb, second time, loved it! Always love to catch this when I need a good laugh! Please re-review Idicoracy!!!

  • NameNamerson

    I don’t know if it’s a cult classic but it is a classic. It’s simplicity is what sells it; kind of like Dazed and Confused. They are simple, fun, realistic movies.

  • SiLenTPiece

    Game testing is an incredibly hard job and requires a degree, unlike your job.

  • AlbinoRhino

    One of my favorite movies.

  • Bob B.

    Screwed with norm McDonald / or a million ways to die in the west are good examples. Didn’t see them at the theatre but would have spent the money now that I have bought the DVD ‘s. Don’t have to have a serious plot line to have a good movie, just let the actors bring something out in the character’s part.

  • JohnB

    i think these deserves the cult status. I don’t know one person who saw this and didn’t find it at least funny. I find it quite enjoyable on rewatches and still laugh out loud.

  • RhymingOrange

    This movie is one of my favorites, and I can definitely watch it over and over. That said, I think one of the most endearing and charming parts is the older women actors in the film. They are awesome, and their deadpan dialogue is brilliant! Their presence is also a really unique factor in the film – we don’t often get to see intergenerational relationships like that – especially in a loving and humorful way.

  • LAuserR

    I watch this anytime it comes on. I love it. Just watched it recently on Hulu.

    “What’s that mean? High Score? Is that good?”

  • Mick Travis

    Fuck Happy Madison’s GRANDMA’S BOY. The only movie with that title that matters is Harold Lloyd’s GRANDMA’S BOY from 1923. Oh, and did you know that THE WATERBOY also was a complete and tasteless rip-off of Harold Lloyd’s THE FRESHMAN? Bet you didn’t know that did you Nathan?

  • Saunderizer

    Loved this movie, I wasn’t expecting a lot when I first rented it on DVD. And I fell head over heels for Linda Cardellini. She makes me feel funny in my special place.

  • Jason G

    One of my all time fav movies

  • Cliff Gardiner

    this is the perfect choice for the sub-cult launch. A truly funny movie that deserves cult status for the simple all be it unexplainable reason that it gets better upon every viewing. There is a strange thing that happens with Cult films where upon initial viewing you will go …ahhhh it was ok. then a few months later you happen to see it again, and you go this was actually pretty good. so an indeterminate amount of time passes and you catch it again, and you are like holy shit this movie is awesome, and exponentially every future viewing just gets better, and better. What makes this phenomenon so intriguing is on the inverse some of your all time favorite movies (after the initial viewing) do the exact opposite and lose all of your interest and desire to continue to watch it again, and again. All that being said kudos for picking Grandma’s Boy it truly is a cult classic. Next up perhaps you should consider uhmmm. .. Bubba Ho Tep another true cult classic!

  • Joe333

    Linda Cardellini and not Allan Covert got first billing in the credits
    Linda dated the director..

    • Jimmy Lead Boots

      Joe…I’m very sorry to see your statement regarding Linda Cardellini … can you actually PROVE that she was dating the director of this movie?

      Nathan, I like your style.

      I as well have read the article and watched the movie several times … I found it to be absolute, comforting madness!

  • cuckoozey

    No.

  • Trayvon’s Ghost

    I take the Frankenstein before I watch this movie.

  • evan

    This was a great article! I adore Grandma’s Boy. It’s one of those movies, like Old School, that is rarely laugh out loud funny but thouroughly entertaining and endlessly re-watchable. It is also similiar to Old School that it really doesn’t ever get brought up, but I think it should.

  • evan

    And unlike other cult comedies, like Wet Hot American Summer, it never tries to hard. It is a genuinely and naturally funny little movie.

  • Mick Travis

    Fuck Happy Madison’s GRANDMA’S BOY. The only movie with that title
    that matters is Harold Lloyd’s GRANDMA’S BOY from 1923. Oh, and did you
    know that THE WATERBOY also was a complete and tasteless rip-off of
    Harold Lloyd’s THE FRESHMAN? Bet you didn’t know that did you Nathan?

    Cult status my arse…this is no HAROLD AND MAUDE!

  • Mike Cardinale

    Why do movies have to pass some kind of artsy test to be considered a cult classic. I always thought that it meant that there was a fairly prominent, though not a huge group of people that enjoyed the movie and always have. Stoners have a ton of cult classics, because they don’t care what critics think is funny or good. They like what they like and are lazy enough to rewatch the shit they like. regardless of what people say, i will always love the Adam Sandler classics. Even some of the new stuff. i like grown ups even if the story is ass. they do funny shit in those movies. people need to learn to enjoy the simple things in life like stupid useless immature slapstick comedy.

  • Ray

    Yes. Deem this movie a Cult Classic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Joel

    To all commenters: This is a stoner movie. Your opinion on this is only valid if you at least occasionally smoke pot and hang out with friends all day. With the exception of the reviewer who has an obligation to be as objective as possible, (and, for all i know, may very well smoke pot), you don’t count if you don’t smoke weed. If you do smoke weed and you don’t like this movie, I imagine you smoke alone as you suck and no other stoners wanna hang out with you.

    It’s not like I don’t respect a non-stoner opinion btw, just that this is a comedy with jokes directed at high people. Certain things are funny when you’re high that are not when you’re sober. The whole character of Dante, for example.

  • Derek S

    This movie was God awful in every possible way

  • mikeoldboy

    I clicked the article because I like the movie, I stayed because it’s written by Nathan Rabin

  • Rob

    This is the problem with critics. They view all movies from start to finish with critiquing in mind. Thus, when you look at the horrible reviews of Grandmas Boy from Rotten Tomatoes during its release, and compare it to the huge popularity that it acquired, it shows how critics view every movie the same way. We need less corporate critics and more everyday people reviewing movies.

  • doug r

    I liked Grandma’s Boy when I saw it. I also like Little Nicky which also features a major turn by Allen Covert.

  • Jesse Hilton

    I think this is as close to an 80s movie you can get. It had all the basic parts. Cool guy, fucking idiot, retarded friend, hot piece of ass, and a half assed stoner plot. All in all it was very entertaining.

  • helas

    I first saw Grandma’s Boy reluctantly after being pestered by a friend about it. I had very low expectations and didn’t think I would like it, but it totally surprised me. It is a great “hang out” movie that is well paced with a fun and friendly vibe and full of hilarious performances, and now I recommend it all the time!

  • Walt Corcoran

    Milk-boy and ms.Juggs

  • Ian

    Yes, this movie is legendary. Along with Idiocracy and the non-comedies Harsh Times and Equilibrium.

  • Roger Noyes

    Wow you really take this movie way too serious. It was funny and I liked it. There I just did your job for you.

  • Gizmo

    Personally I really liked it, It`s out nearly 10 years and it is still remembered positively by many, now a days many comedies are forgot about in a years time or remembered in a bad way, so ya, I think it has or soon will become a cult classic

  • Brandi Butcher

    When will Pootie Tang ve up for review?

  • Kawaii as Fuck

    I like this movie because it provides a pretty good snapshot of gaming culture in the mid-aughts and considering the post Gamer Gate mess gaming culture is now, it’s nice to return to a simpler time.

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