As Wildcat00 announced to the BotC readership, I had never seen Caddyshack. As this was viewed as sacrilegious by the rest of the BotC staff, I vowed to correct this egregious error, and last week I finally sat down to watch Caddyshack. I did my best to live-tweet my immediate thoughts, but eventually it devolved into simply tweeting hilarious quotes from the movie. It was during that time that I realized this was the enduring legacy of Caddyshack. A movie that is dated (released in 1980), but stands the test of time, because of its hilarious characters.
What I loved:
The Gopher- Let’s be honest. Without the gopher there is no Caddyshack. He’s both the first and last character we see, and his ongoing battle with Carl pushes the movie forward. The only downside to the gopher is knowing that Al is planning to demolish the course, and thereby the gopher’s home, once he builds the condominiums. But we don’t need to focus on that, since that isn’t actually part of the movie. Instead let’s focus on one of the more memorable dances in cinematic history.
Al Czervik- Al’s my favorite non-gopher character. He enters the club like he owns the damn place, and he’s not even a member. “Hey orange balls... give me a box of those and the naked lady tees.” Hilarious. Rodney Dangerfield owns this role. He’s the perfect foil for Judge Smails, as he continually bust’s his chops the entire movie, even going so far as to sink Smails’ brand new boat. Czervik’s crowning moment was his flop during the final match where-in he channels his inner KU player following a chicken-arm, which allows Danny to take his place and win the match.
Carl Spackler- You have to love Carl’s drive. He is easily the hardest working employee at Bushwood Country Club, even if he is a screwball. Between hitting flowers as if they were golf balls, and providing unseemly commentary while washing golf balls, he somehow finds time to battle the aforementioned Gopher, and clean the swimming pool. His lines are also the most memorable from the movie, from “It’s in the hole, It’s in the hole” to “So I got that going for me, which is nice.”
The Pool Scene- I love everything about the pool scenes. The beginning with the caddies performing some type of weird syncronized swimming routine, to the play off “Jaws” with the candy bar in the water. This has to be one of the most memorable scenes in all of cinematic history, and every bit of it is hilarious. Spackler taking a bite out of the wet candy bar after scrubbing the pool is the cherry on top of this comedy sundae.
What I didn’t enjoy:
The chaos of the movie- The movie felt a bit chaotic. The opening scene where we’re introduced to Danny Noonan (Michael O’Keefe) is a perfect example. It’s just kids upon kids running through the house, and then Danny eating breakfast being told by his old man that he won’t amount to anything. And then we never see Danny’s family again. I suppose O’Keefe is supposed to be the primary character, but with so many other (and stronger) actors, O’Keefe is overshadowed by the likes of Bill Murray, Rodney Dangerfield, and Chevy Chase. And don’t even get me started on the old man going out into the rain to play a round of golf.
The only justification I can come up with for the randomness is that the main character is actually the country club, and the goal of the movie was to show the crazy cast of people that work, live, and play at the club.
Caddyshack is a movie everyone MUST see at least once. It’s had an indelible impact on pop culture, and even more-so for sports culture. The comedic factor and the veritable who’s-who of comedic actors in the movie more than make up for the jumpy plot line. I’d recommend the golf channel replace its thousands of showings of “Tin Cup” with a couple showings of Caddyshack. 4 out of 5 stars.
Next up on Movie Night with BotC, the staff continues to try and remove me from the rock under which I grew up by having me watch one of the classic western movies below. The best part is that you, the commentariat, will vote for which one I have to watch. Voting will be open through next Friday, and the winning movie will be watched by me over the weekend with a review of that movie to follow. Feel free to try and persuade fellow voters to vote for your movie, and to tell me your thoughts on Caddyshack.