Caddyshack


Year 1980

Chevy Chase as  Ty Webb
Bill Murray as Carl Spackler
Rodney Dangerfield   as Al Czervik  
Ted Knight as Judge Smails
Brian Doyle-Murray as Lou Loomis
Michael O'Keefe as Danny Noonan  
 
Director - Harold Ramis
Screenwriters - Douglas Kenney
    Brian Doyle-Murray  

Everyone's favorite movie about golfing. Like Slap Shot, this movie is a comedy about non-professionals playing a sport. For some reason, sports movies featuring people other than pros capture the sport really well. This viewpoint doesn't dally around the frilly edges of salaries, strategies, and angst. Rather these movies get to the heart of a sport and demonstrate why people who like playing the sport actually like playing it. These movies are unpretentious, broad in subject matter, and hence broad in appeal.

First, a few words about Producer/Screenwriter Douglas Kenney. He was a comedic genius! One of the founders of "The National Lampoon" magazine, Doug Kenney provided a lot of the early, dark, funny, biting humor that typified the magazine. He was one of the writers of Animal House. He was also very insecure and when Caddyshack opened to bad reviews, he felt crushed. Within months, he committed suicide. If only he'd weathered the rough start.

The movie was intended to be a lightly humorous tale of caddies - young men who lived at a resort during the season. Perhaps it started out as a coming of age type of film. But, due to the stellar nature of the cast, it evolved into an all out comedy of "the slobs versus the snobs".

The chemistry of the characters clicked on-screen and represented the same associations off-screen. Rodney Dangerfield, in his first featured role, demonstrated his talent for scene stealing. Bill Murray broke out of his Saturday Night Live persona and showed some of his versatility in this movie.

There's nothing original in the plot of this movie; it's like all of the other "party" movies of the time. Good guys get drunk, chase women, meet bad guys, challenge them to a duel of some sort, and win the duel through a fluke.

What sets this movie apart is the accurate depiction of golfers, the adult age of the characters, the writing of the jokes, and the talent of the actors.

There's a scene where a bishop is out golfing. He's having the game of his life even though a thunder storm is raging. He has to be struck by lightning before he'll quit. I've known golfers like this. (And this being a comedy using lots of B-Movie devices, the bishop's personality does a 180 after the lightning strike. Even this cliché is funny.)

The scenes have a little imagination to them. There are the scenes at the caddy shack to begin the work day, a scene where the snobs invade the restaurant, the christening of a snob's boat, and the grounds keeper's fight with the "varmint" gopher. Without the side story of the gopher, this movie would not have been nearly as good.

And the diaglog? Most of it was probably improvised. But when Bill Murray and Rodney Dangerfield are improvising, you know that it's good.


Czervik: Oh, this is the worst looking hat I ever saw. What when you buy a hat like this I bet you get a free bowl of soup, though.
Sees Smails wearing the same style hat.
Czervik: Oh, it looks good on you though. <Rodney eye roll>

Czervik: Oh, this your wife, huh? A lovely lady. Hey baby, you must've been something before electricity.

Czervik: And tell the cook this is low grade dog food. I've had better food at the ballgame, you know? This steak still has marks from where the jockey was hitting it.
Czervik: Last time I saw a mouth like that, it had a hook in it.
Loomis: Pick up that blood.

Porterhouse: Fifty bucks the Smails kid picks his nose.
Later on
Loomis: Double or nothing he eats it.

Ty: Remember Danny: Two wrongs don't make a right but three rights make a left.

Smails: Oh, Dr. Beeper, Bishop Pickering, this is my niece, Lacey Underall.

Czervik: I should have yelled, "Two!"

Mrs. Smails: Elihu, will you come loofah my stretch marks?

Spackler: <with his pitchfork holding his audience captive> A looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock. So I tell them I'm a pro jock and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald, striking... So, I'm on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one (big hitter the Lama) long into a ten-thousand foot crevasse. Right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga <pause to get it right> gunga, gunga-lagunga. So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey. How about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." <pause> So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

Ty: Oh Judge, I don't keep score.
Smails: Then how do you measure yourself with other golfers?
Ty: By height.

The last line in the movie
Czervik: Hey, everybody! We're all gonna get laid!

The title song by Kenny Loggins is excellent as well.

The movie was a critical and box office failure when it was released. But, like most works of "art" that need time to be appreciated, it's only gotten better with age.

As far as chick flick potential, if the girl doesn't mind adolescent humor, then watch it with her. It's not romantic, but it's fun.


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