by Jonathan Miller - 09/23/2005
Another top-10 sports movies List? That's, like, so '90s.
Instead, Doc's has come up with a top-10 list that reflects what you care about most: the top 10 wagers placed in movie history. It was a difficult task, more difficult than 500-1 shot Daniel Larusso dominating the entire roster of Cobra Kai on his way to the All-Valley Karate championship in "The Karate Kid". Not even Doc could have handicapped that one.
So here we go, the Top 10 movie wagers. A lot come from sports movies; many come from raunchy teen comedies in which the quarterback bets he can make a nerd into prom queen. Still, as it often happens in movies, I wouldn't bet against the underdog. In film, they always finish strong.
10. "Billy Madison", 1995, starring Adam Sandler
The story: 27-year-old Billy Madison is the son of a wealthy hotel magnate and spends his days by the pool, drinking daiquiris and looking forward to "Nudie Magazine Day!" Other highlights include lighting bags of shit on fire and chasing imaginary penguins. When Madison's father decides to turn over his hotel empire to Eric, played with slimy accuracy by "The West Wing's" Bradley Whitford, Madison offers to repeat grades 1-12 to prove to his father that he's not a complete moron. Hilarity ensues.
The bet: Twelve grades, two weeks a grade. If completed successfully, Madison will take over as president of Madison Hotels. If not, he will go back to playing Nintendo and reading jerk-off magazines.
The line: Considering Madison's father bribed every one of Madison's teachers to pass his son, and Madison has been out of school for nine years, the prospect of success here looks bleak.
Madison passes: + 150
Madison fails: - 150
Madison falls in love with his third grade teacher and learns valuable life lessons: off
Memorable quote: "No I will not make out with you! I'm here to learn everybody, not to make out with you. Go on with the chloryphill!" - Billy Madison
9. "Goldfinger", 1964, starring Sean Connery
The story: In one of 007's greatest adventures, Bond, James Bond foils Aurec Goldfinger's plot to destroy the American gold supply at Fort Knox, and has fun along the way with one of Ian Fleming's greatest-named characters, Pussy Galore.
The bet: Bond vs. Goldfinger, 18 holes of golf for a gold bar worth 5,000 pounds. And Goldfinger likes to cheat.
The line: If there is one certainty in film, it is this: Never bet against James Bond
Goldfinger: + 150
Bond seduces villain Pussy Galore using clever wordplay and a British accent: off
James Bond: Do you expect me to talk?
Goldfinger: No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die.
8. "Rounders", 1998, starring Matt Damon
The story: Reformed gambler Mike McDermott (Damon) is forced to get back in the game to help pay the debts of his card-cheat friend, played with aplomb by Edward Norton.
The bet: At the climax of this gambling classic, McDermott challenges Russian mobster Teddy KGB, played be chameleon John Malkovich, to a high-stakes game of Texas Hold 'Em. McDermott is dealt the 8 and 9 of spades, and flops a nut straight. He slow plays KGB brilliantly, enducing him to push all his chips in.
The line: KGB had already cleaned out McDermott's life savings in the film's opening scene.
Memorable quote: "I feel like Buckner walking back into Shea." -McDermott as he returns to challenge KGB.
7. "Major League", 1989, starring Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen
The story: After 34 seasons without a division title, the Cleveland Indians come under the new ownership of former showgirl Rachel Felps, who hopes to make it 35 seasons. She assembles a motley crew of inept ballplayers to ensure a terrible season, including an injury-prone catcher, an ex-con, a farsighted pitcher and a voodoo practicing slugger who can't hit a curve.
The bet: Felps gambles that her assembled team of losers will perform so poorly that the season's attendance will not reach 800,000 and she can use a loophole in the lease with Cleveland to move the team to sunny Miami.
The line: This is the kind of team that is so bad you pay to watch.
Above 800,000: -150
Below 800,000: -150
Charlie Sheen sleeps with a married woman: off
Willie Mays Hayes: What the hell league you been playing in?
Rick Vaughn: California Penal...
Willie Mays Hayes: Never heard of it. How'd you end up playing there?
Rick Vaughn: Stole a car.
6. "She's All That", 1999, starring Freddie Prinze Jr.
The story: I don't want to talk about it. This movie really has no place on any top-10 list, but what a bet!
The bet: School stud Zach Siler bets best friend that he will make school nerd Laney Boggs into prom queen.
The line: Nerdy Boggs is played by hottie Rachael Leigh Cook in glasses and a pony tail. Give that girl contacts and some hairspray and you have yourself a certified prom queen.
Boggs wins prom queen: -150
Boggs loses to stuck up Taylor: +150
Boggs finds out about the bet and is angry, but then forgives Zach because he proves that he has fallen in love with her: off
I throw up: off
Memorable quote: "I'm a bet? I'm a fucking bet?" - Laney Boggs
5. "The Shawshank Redemption", 1994, starring Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman
The story: Wrongfully imprisoned for murder, Andy Dufresne (Robbins) teaches fellow inmates to hope and dream as they serve time in bleak Shawshank Prison.
The bet: Red (Freeman) and his cronies routinely bet on which new inmate will break first on his first night of imprisonment. Red bets two packs of cigarettes on Dufresne, "that tall drink of water with a silver spoon up his ass."
The line: Bad bet by Red, considering Dufresne's facial expression is ice cold as he stares blankly at the ground. A much better bet by Heywood on "Fat Ass," who looks about ready to wet himself as he leaves the prison bus.
Dufresne breaks: +150
Dufresne stays strong: -150
Dufresne uses a three-inch rock hammer to dig a hole out of his cell which he covers with a poster of Rita Heyworth: off
Memorable quote: "They send you here for life, that's exactly what they take. The part that counts, anyways." - Red
4. "Happy Gilmore", 1996, starring Adam Sandler
The story: In order to save his grandmother's house from the IRS, a reject hockey player turns golf pro thanks to his penchant for 400-yard drives. Shooter McGavin, an all-time great villain played by Christopher McDonald, has his eyes on the tour championship and isn't going to let the antics of feisty interloper Gilmore get in his way.
The bet: When McGavin buys Gilmore's grandmother's house at an IRS auction, Gilmore challenges McGavin. If Gilmore wins the Tour Championship, the house is his. If he loses, he is off the tour.
The line: Remember the golf adage, "Drive for show, putt for dough?" Well, with Gilmore's abysmal short game, it doesn't look good, at least until Gilmore is outfitted with a hockey stick for a putter.
Gilmore wins: +120
Gilmore loses: - 150
Gilmore is knocked unconscience by Bob Barker: off
Memorable quote: "The price is wrong, bitch." -Gilmore to Barker.
3. "Caddyshack", 1980, starring Chevy Chase
The story: Another golf classic. Caddy Danny Noonan will do anything to win the caddy scholarship so he can go to college, including suck up to country club president Judge Smails as well as sleep with his nubile niece Lacey Underall.
The bet: When Rodney Dangerfield's character goes lame during a money match against Judge Smails, Noonan steps in despite losing a shot at the caddie scholarship.
The line: Noonan already demonstrated a solid game earlier in the film, while we saw Judge "I never slice" Smails slice into the woods under pressure.
I continually flip to Lacey Underall nude scenes: off
Lacey Underall: My uncle says you've got a screw loose.
Ty Webb: Your uncle molests collies.
2. "The Natural", 1984, starring Robert Redford
The story: Rookie outfielder, in his mid-thirties, Roy Hobbs guides the cellar-dwelling New York Knights to a playoff game for the pennant. Wielding "Wonder Boy," a bat Hobbs carved as a boy from a lightening-struck tree, Hobbs must decide between throwing the game or earning eternal greatness. Tough choice.
The bet: Gambler Gus Sands has a fix on for the playoff game, having paid the Knights' starting pitcher to take a dive. Can Hobbs convince the pitcher to play it straight and give the Knights a chance? You betcha.
The line: Would you bet against a man with a bat called "Wonder Boy?"
Knights win: -150
Knights lose: even
Robert Redford creates one of the greatest baseball movies ever: off
Memorable quote: "Pick me out a winner bobby." -Roy Hobbs
1. "Cool Hand Luke", 1967, starring Paul Newman
The story: Luke is sent to a rural prison and refuses to conform to the gang and the prison bosses' rules. Beaten and bruised, Luke (Newman) does not break.
The bet: Does it get any better than this bet? This is the kind of wager that belongs in a fraternity house, but somehow made it into our hearts. 50 eggs in one hour, Luke says.
The line: I'm going to be sick.
Luke downs 50: even
Luke keels over and dies: +120
Skinny Japanese are inspired to begin competitive eating: off
Luke: I can eat fifty eggs.
Dragline: Nobody can eat fifty eggs.
Society Red: You just said he could eat anything.
Dragline: Did you ever eat fifty eggs?
Luke: Nobody ever eat fifty eggs.
Prisoner: Hey, Babalugats. We got a bet here.
Dragline: My boy says he can eat fifty eggs, he can eat fifty eggs.
Loudmouth Steve: Yeah, but in how long?
Luke: A hour.
Society Red: Well, I believe I'll take part of that wager.