Monday, March 3, 2014

The Essentials- "Caddyshack" (1980)

The Essentials-#46

Caddyshack
I have been thinking a lot about Harold Ramis recently. In the first year my blog has been up and running, I have witnessed too many showbiz greats pass away. No matter what, Harold Ramis will always be apart of my life. I have discussed "Ghostbusters" already on this column, so I decided to discuss a film that Ramis directed. A comedy classic called "Caddyshack."

On one side of the spectrum, "Caddyshack" could be described as a goofy coming-of-age film. For apart of the movie, we follow Danny Noonan (Michael O'Keefe) a young boy who works as a caddy at the elite Bushwood Country Club. He is your normal male teenager; he loves having fun, he loves chasing women, and he's on his way to college but has no idea how to get there. A Caddy Scholarship would help big time and he gets in with the Country Club's owner, Mr. Smails (Ted Knight) in order to obtain the scholarship. Danny has one heck of a summer, and his story is the heart and soul of the movie. Danny gets himself into several funny situations, and they are all equally hilarious. Consider a scene at the Country Club pool where someone throws a candy bar into the pool, which looks like a turd. It is one of the most iconic scenes in the whole film, and when you watch it, its obvious why. Ramis' comedic eye works wonders for this film, and the film is full of big laughs.

On the other side of the spectrum, there is a high stakes golf game between Smails and his partner as well as Ty Webb (Chevy Chase) and Al Czervik (Rodney Dangerfield). In my opinion, the main draw to watch this is Dangerfield's performance. There is a reason why Dangerfield is remembered as one of the comic greats. His performance here is so calculated, so outrageous, so off-the-way, so nuts that only Dangerfield could conjure it. Dangerfield gets all the best moments and all the best dialogue and his unique mannerisms and style is what makes the performance worthwhile. Chase is also very good in the movie, playing the classic "asshole" character to a tee. 

Then there is Bill Murray's role as Carl who works at the Country Club. He is entrusted with dealing with the gopher infestation at the gold course. This story-line is also one of the most iconic stories in all of movies. It only works because of Murray's manic glee, and his crazy zest that works each and every scene he is in. Murray's goofball charm as Carl created one of Murray's most memorable pieces of filmography. It is a highlight of the film and its great.

I hope I have given you enough incentive to see this movie. If I haven't here is a little more. If you love classic rock music, beautiful women, and dancing gophers then you should check out "Caddyshack." I love the way Ramis blended coming-of-age with raunchy comedy, and it is a miracle that it worked as well as it did. Most of all, this movie shows us how much Ramis' passing hurts and why he was so important in the first place.

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