Caddyshack (1980), or “So, This Movie’s Great! So, What?” “So, What? So Let’s Dance!”

20 02 2009
Bill Murray shines in this movie, shaking the heavens as he channels King Lear himself!

Bill Murray looks like he's about to murder someone...

Hello, everyone! Another day in Comedy Week! Today we take the plunge with a comedy that is at times misunderstood. I know a number of people who think that this is a sports comedy, and that they would not enjoy it on the grounds that they hate sports. Well, I can assure all of you that this is not a sports comedy. And before you put me up on the cross, I think I need to truly explain just how much I hate sports. In so many words, I DETEST ALL SPORTING EVENTS. I do not enjoy watching or interacting with sports in any way, shape, or form. It is something that does not interest me in the slightest, and if all the rules of all sporting events fell into an active volcano I would not shed one tear. I am not a sports guy at all, and yet I will tell you truthfully that I really enjoyed Caddyshack. Because this movie has so little to do with actual golfing, one can relax the mind and step away from the testosterone and male head-butting and just concentrate on the funny. So calm down, my fellow sports detractors, and let this one into your life.

The film centers around Danny Noonan, a down-and-out teenager working as a caddy at upscale Bushwood Country Club. He golfs all day and has a hot girlfriend with a weird accent who works at the club’s snack shop. Sadly, this is not enough for Danny. He is trying to save up enough scratch to go to college, but as a caddy it is difficult, to say the least. But when his boss informs him that the country club’s caddy scholarship program (?) has an opening, things begin to look up for him. To try and ensure himself the scholarship, Danny attempts to get in good standings with one of the owners of Bushwood, the snooty Judge Smails (total wanker), by caddying for him. He is a total dickweed, and not a great golfer, but after Noonan takes up for an embarrassing mistake that was obviously his, he begins to favor the kid. Danny is treated like dirt by the Judge, but he slowly gets in closer not only with him, but the Judge’s sexy and promiscuous niece Lacey. Will getting close to these assholes blow up in his face? Will he get the prized scholarship? Does anyone really care about the main storyline?

As I said, the whole golf storyline is the vein along which the movie travels, but it is everything else going on around this meager little story that makes it great. Rodney Dangerfield is in the movie as the Judge’s main rival, Al Czervik, an obnoxious real estate tycoon who is loveable, a generous tipper, and one of the funniest characters in the movie! Chevy Chase plays Ty Webb, a son of one of the country club’s co-founders, a bon-vivant playboy, and a real swell dresser. And Bill Murray is Carl, a groundskeeper’s assistant who is completely out of left field. All these great comedians together, combined with hilarious director Harold Ramis, make excellent comedy chemistry. This is a movie about having fun, and nobody can have fun quite like the characters in this movie.

There are so many classic lines and scenes from this one! This has to be one of the most highly quoted movies ever! The scene where all the country club employees go to the pool and someone drops a Baby Ruth into the water (“Doodie!”)! Priceless! The scene where Ty Webb and Carl hang out, the only time Chevy Chase and Bill Murray ever shared screen time, and get high and drunk together! Priceless! The scene where Maggie frantically tells Noonan she might be pregnant in he weird accent (“That’s all I need!”)! Priceless!

The best part about this movie ends up being Rodney Dangerfield for me, who plays super-rich Al Czervik. He’s such a wealthy jerk, but in a fun, care-free way! And he will do whatever it takes to fuck with Judge Smails! When he’s out yachting, when he’s putting, when he’s eating; wherever Smails is, Al Czervik is there to piss him off! And, much like his character in Back To School, he uses his money for the best stuff! He has a car radio in his bag of clubs! Makes me smile every time. And of course, he brings hundreds of his signature Dangerfield one-liners that really make the movie for me.

It’s a movie about cutting loose and having fun. Simple as that. All comedies should be like this; low concept, high rapport between actors. It’s a great time, very re-watchable, and great to watch with friends, even if those friends don’t like sports. My only wish is that these actors had more movies together. I would have loved to see a Chevy Chase and Bill Murray movie, together for the first time in co-starring roles! But that has no real bearing on this one, just a musing, so I digress. I give Caddyshack 8 1/2 country club scholarship programs out of 10! So, what? So, let’s dance!

See you tomorrow for more of Comedy Week, where we get entangled into the risky world of indie comedy with Eagle Vs. Shark!