Monday, April 25, 2011

#262. Caddyshack (1980)

Directed By: Harold Ramis

Starring: Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, Bill Murray

Tag line: "The Snobs Against The Slobs!"

Trivia:  Harold Ramis has stated that he originally wanted to score the film with Pink Floyd music, but this idea was rejected by the studio

Caddyshack is one of the most beloved comedies of my generation. Standing around the schoolyard at lunchtime, my friends and I would repeat line after line from this film, and even though we were supposedly too young for a movie as "raunchy" (by 1980 standards, anyway) as Caddyshack, we never let that stop us. Even if it meant stealing a few minutes with it late at night on cable TV, well after our parents were asleep, it was one movie we simply could not resist.

Danny Noonan (Michael O’Keefe) works as a caddy at Bushwood, an exclusive Country Club that caters to the rich and stuffy. In the hopes of winning Bushwood’s annual college scholarship, Danny (Michael O’Keefe) kisses up to the snobbish Judge Smails (Ted Knight), one of the founding directors of the club. 

Unfortunately for Danny, the Judge is a bit distracted these days. For starters, a gopher is ruining Bushwood’s picturesque golf course, and assistant groundskeeper Carl Spackler (Bill Murray), in his attempt to destroy the furry little pest, is tearing the place apart. 

There's also an obnoxious newcomer to Bushwood named Al Czervik (Rodney Dangerfield), a self-made millionaire who can toss off insults at the rate of a dozen per minute. Whenever Al Czervik is around, the Judge’s leisure time turns into a living hell. 

Add to the mix a playboy golf pro (Chevy Chase) and the Judge’s sex-crazed niece (Cindy Morgan), and you have one hell of a powder keg that's ready to explode.

Caddyshack boasts a number of memorable characters, starting with Chevy Chase's Ty Webb, the millionaire wise-ass with impressive golf skills. Ted Knight bellows and huffs as the arrogant Judge Smails, a man whose uptight attitude towards the rest of the Bushwood community is a never-ending source of hilarity. At one point, Danny is trying to get on the Judge’s good side, and laments the fact that his parents won't have the money to send him to college. “Well”, Judge Smails replies abruptly, “the world needs ditch diggers too”. 

Bill Murray shines in an early film role as Carl Spackler, the mentally deranged groundskeeper who is constantly being outwitted by a gopher. But the real showstopper in Caddyshack is longtime comedian Rodney Dangerfield, who rattles off one-liners so quickly you can barely keep up with them. The first time we meet Al, he’s walking through the lobby of Bushwood with his Asian friend, Mr. Wang (Dr. Dow). “I hear this place is restricted, Wang”, he tells his companion, “so don’t tell them you’re Jewish, okay?” With his rapid-fire delivery and sharp tongue, Dangerfield never falls short of comedic brilliance, and in the final round up, it’s Rodney who walks away with the majority of the film’s laughs.

There's an entire generation of us who grew up with Caddyshack, and love the film without reserve. We're easy enough to spot; just bring the movie up in conversation and we'll soon be regaling you with all of its best lines. For us select few, the sight of a Baby Ruth candy bar floating in a pool will always be funny, and regardless of how many years fall off the calendar, Caddyshack will never, ever grow old.


Klaus said...

"For us select few, the sight of a Baby Ruth candy bar floating in a pool will always be a source of laughter"

I'm with you on that one!

Caddyshack - My favorite early Bill Murray performance.

DVD Infatuation said...

@Klaus: I hear you!

For me, Rodney made the movie, but Murray was a very close second!

Klaus said...

It's been ages since I've seen this - i'll have to revisit soon. And yeah, I remember Rodney was on a role in the 80s. Great movie all around.

DVD Infatuation said...

@Klaus: Rodney was on a hell of a role right after this film, with movies such as EASY MONEY and BACK TO SCHOOL (and of course, the father in Oliver Stone's NATURAL BORN KILLERS).