Danny Noonan (Michael O’Keefe, The Glass House) works at Bushwood Country Club trying to raise money for college since his parents couldn’t afford it for him and his grades were not good enough. He caddies for Ty Webb (Chevy Chase, Fletch) a free-spirited playboy son of one of the club’s co-founders. Ty decides to caddy for Judge Smails (Ted Knight, Psycho, Too Close For Comfort) an uptight co-founder of the club in order to earn a scholarship award. Al Czervik (Rodney Dangerfield, Back To School) is an eccentric millionaire wanting to buy the club doing everything he can to drive Judge Smails crazy, including doubling a $20,000 bet on a 10 foot putt. Groundskeeper Carl Spackler (Bill Murray, Ghostbusters) preoccupied with a gopher he is desperate to kill, even if it includes destroying the club in the process.
Actor Bill Murray stands out in this hilarious performance of an over-the-top groundskeeper out to kill an elusive gopher. One scene in particular is especially fun where he teams up with Chevy Chase showing two SNL geniuses who missed pairing on the show by a year. It’s very nice to see them pair up here as each compliments the other very well, Chase playing the straight man mostly to Murray‘s insane comedic performance in the scene. Ironically, the two comedians were bitter enemies (to the point where it got physical when Chevy went back to host SNL, even to the point where their scene together was rumored to be put off because of their feud) which is most likely why we never see them team up again. Rodney Dangerfield gives one of his best film performances here with it being his first film he seems unleashed in his performance and he seemed to have a lot he wanted to say and do. He is like a wild card, always upsetting Ted Knight’s Judge Smails character. His one-liners zing and zang and each hits a mark with perfection as only Dangerfield could do in his heyday. Last, but not least is the gopher’s performance, not to be underestimated he is the catalyst as much as Murray and Dangerfield.
Director Harold Ramis does a splendid job here with a cast of comedians, he truly knows his stuff. He wears more than one hat here as he is also a co-writer along with Douglas Kenney and Brian Doyle-Murray (Bill’s older brother whom he has worked with on Ghostbusters 1 & II). Ramis is one of the directors and co-actors who has helped bring out some of Murray’s best work, as he clearly does here. Ramis’s genius is comedic timing and knowing that for every comedian you need the straight man as he mostly played when he worked alongside Murray on the Ghostbusters films. Bringing out great performances from Dangerfield and Murray in the same movie shows Ramis has the stuff as actor and director. He also has Chevy Chase playing the straight man at all the right moments, the same with Ted Knight. Then he allows each to shine as well comedically when the moment calls for each to take the spotlight.
Not to be outdone the writers all stand out here crafting a story you can’t help but laugh at, unless if you are uptight like the old club members Dangerfield makes fun of in a gut-busting scene of more one-liners than movies have in their entirety. Brian Doyle-Murray must have the same inherited funny genes as Bill Murray. No doubt they get each other as the two have worked together from SNL through to Caddyshack, Ghostbusters 1 & II, Groundhog Day, Scrooged. Also Brian was inspired by his caddy days along with brothers Bill & John (who was a production assistant as well as an extra as a caddy in the film.) Much of the film was based on real life whether it was the Murray’s or Ramis or someone involved or related to those in or around the film. The story is not deep, but accomplishes what it sets out to do, which is to make you laugh time and again. You can’t ask for more than that as many movies fail somewhere along the way
Visually, Caddyshack looks better than it ever has. It’s not a show-off Blu-ray like The Dark Knight, but it is a good upgrade over its previous formats. Also considering the age of the film, some 30 years after it’s theatrical release this is a good-looking film. Typically comedies don’t get as much focus in video upgrades as action movies and that could be the case here as well, but the point isn’t to wow you with visuals.
Special Features are a nice assortment, given to quality more than quantity. The bio Caddyshack: The Inside Story plays off much like an E! True Hollywood special revealing drug use and partying by the cast and crew. It doesn’t take itself too seriously as expected. Coming in at 80 minutes this documentary informs and entertains alternatively. There were many questions about first time Director Harold Ramis, but he came through with his laid-back funny approach. The extras don’t sound like much but when you watch them they are fulfilling in content, information and entertainment. If anything it adds to the movie for a better viewing experience. In other words: watch the damn extras because they are loads of fun!
Overall, Caddyshack is a comedy classic that is still enjoyable as the day it hit theaters. It has aged some, but still the content is unique in it’s presentation. You don’t have to love or even like golf to care about this movie. Like with Major League it’s much more about the characters and humor than the sport. High recommendation for good laughs and classic performances by Bill Murray, Rodney Dangerfield and Chevy Chase.
Special Features (Exclusively on Blu-ray) -
- Bio Caddyshack: The Inside Story Comprehensive Feature-Length 30th Anniversary Documentary With The Movie’s Cast And Creators.
- The 19th Hole Retrospective Featurette
- Theatrical Trailer
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