Caddyshack: Talent Can Sometimes Overcome Script – Amazon Review (Day 15)

This movie is so funny you forget that it’s incoherent as hell.

SUMMARY

Danny Noonan (Michael O’Keefe) is a caddie at the snobbish Bushwood Country Club trying to save for college. Danny often receives advice, and tips, from Ty Webb (Chevy Chase), an eccentric and wealthy son of one of the club’s founders. Judge Elihu Smails (Ted Knight) offers a scholarship which Danny tries to pursue while sucking up to the Judge. Al Czervik (Rodney Dangerfield), a rich slob who owns a construction company, shows up and starts playing golf at the club, upsetting Smails. At the same time, Carl Spackler (Bill Murray), a greenskeeper, is ordered to hunt down a gopher that’s been tearing up the course. He starts by trying to flood the gopher out, then shoot him, but without success.

This gopher is wily.

Danny helps his girlfriend Maggie O’Hooligan (Sarah Holcomb) wait tables at the Country Club and finds himself drawn to Smails’ niece, Lacey Underall (Cindy Morgan). Danny wins the caddy golf tournament, leading Smails to invite him to the Yacht Club, where Lacey and Danny hook up and have sex in the Judge’s bed. Smails catches them, but, rather than firing Danny, lets him keep the scholarship in exchange for his discretion. 

Danny getting advice from Ty. The advice is to do drugs.

Unable to deal with Czervik’s obnoxious behavior, Smails tells him that he’ll never be a member, only for Czervik to state that he just wants to buy the club to demolish it. Ty Webb tries to get them to talk it out, only for Czervik to challenge Smails to a golf match. Webb and Czervik will play Smails and local champ Dr. Beeper (Dan Resin) for $40,000, soon doubled to $80,000. During the match, Czervik, losing, fakes an injury and Danny takes over in the tournament. On the final hole, the score is tied, with Danny having to make a tough putt to tie. Czervik doubles the bet based on whether Danny makes it, but Danny leaves the ball hanging over the lip. However, at that moment, Carl, having gone insane trying to kill the gopher, explodes a number of C-4 charges (to the tune of the “1812 Overture”), knocking the ball in and destroying the course. Czervik leads a wild party and the gopher, unharmed, dances to “I’m Alright.” 

END SUMMARY

The category for this film was “Film That Has a Line that You Quote Repeatedly,” and while there are a lot of movies that I quote frequently, this movie is the only one that has two phrases which I have used on the record in court. Both of them are by Carl Spackler, because Bill Murray improvised most of Carl’s lines, making them among the funniest and most unusual in the film. The first is “Correct me if I’m wrong, Sandy…” which, in the movie, is followed by “but if I kill all the golfers, they’re going to lock me up and throw away the key.” Due to the rarity of situations in which I am asked to kill golfers, I almost exclusively use the first part, but that is my go-to sarcastic way to clarify something ridiculous that someone says. The second line is “So, I got that goin for me, which is nice.” That line is the end of one of the most memorable parts of this movie, Carl’s speech about being a professional caddy to the Dalai Lama. I’m just going to put it below, because everyone deserves that joy in their life.

This movie was, from a production standpoint, a crapshoot. Most of the actual “plot” of the film got rewritten, re-shot, or just abandoned during filming as bigger and bigger stars got attached. The film was originally supposed to focus primarily on the caddies, particularly Danny and his desire to go to college, but once Rodney Dangerfield and Chevy Chase and Ted Knight joined, the movie quickly became more about them than about Danny. However, since they had already scripted a bunch of scenes about the caddies, some of them were left in, leading to strange plot threads that get dropped, like the rivalry between Noonan and caddy Tony D’Annunzio (Scott Colomby), or resolved in five minutes, like Maggie’s pregnancy scare. Additionally, they kept coming up with, admittedly funny, ideas during filming, like having a Bishop play a near-perfect game of golf only to get struck by lightning when he curses as he misses the last putt. Because of this, a lot of critics correctly pointed out that this film seems scattered and incoherent. 

But who gives a crap about that, because this movie is funny as hell.

Bill Murray improvised a routine of himself playing at the Masters. It’s amazing.

Look, whether it’s coherent or not, this movie contains some of the most memorable comedy bits of my childhood. Lines and scenes from this film influence comedy writing to this day. I’ve seen multiple shows directly lift the gag of having a Baby Ruth in the pool appear to be feces. Aside from Fletch, Ty Webb is the epitome of Chevy Chase as a perfect wise-ass. His complete and utter unwillingness to behave like a normal person fits better in this movie, because he has too much money and no responsibilities. Bill Murray as Carl Spackler is a comedy archetype now, despite the fact that he had no scripted lines. Murray just improved the whole thing. It’s the only movie in which Murray and Chase have ever been on-screen together. Rodney Dangerfield’s entire film career started here, and Al Czervik was basically re-written to be Dangerfield doing his stand-up routine so that it came off as natural and genuine. Since Dangerfield was one of the biggest stand-ups in the world at the time, this makes his character hilarious. That’s basically what the movie is: A bunch of talented people playing to their strengths with almost no actual oversight. 

Pictured: Comedy Legends.

It should be mentioned that this film was notorious for the amount of drugs on set. Peter Berkrot, an actor whose role got repeatedly cut down during filming, called cocaine “the fuel that kept the film running.” I don’t know exactly who was doing what, but it’s entirely possible that the frenetic nature of the film, and Harold Ramis’s willingness to keep letting it get less coherent overall, was because everyone was coked out of their minds. 

You have to be on drugs to name a character “Lacey Underall.”

Overall, if you haven’t seen this movie, you need to. It’s got a lot of parts that might not work for you, but it’s got a hell of a lot more that will. Gunga galunga.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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29) Steve Martin & Blues Brothers (Saturday Night Live)

Steve Martin
Pictured: A Comedy Genius

Okay, so, you probably know what SNL is, and it’s already been on this list. Never quite bad enough to get cancelled, it’s been hit and miss throughout its history, usually depending on the quality of the cast. Here was the cast for this episode: Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, John Belushi, Jane Curtin, Gilda Radner, Laraine Newman, and Garrett Morris. If you don’t recognize any of these names, quit whatever you’re doing now, walk to a window, look out upon the horizon and question every decision that has led you to this point, for you have made mistakes. The point is, this was an amazing cast of people. What could make it better? Having the then number one stand-up comic in the world host the show: Steve “I’ve already been on this list because I’m amazing” Martin.

This wasn’t the first time Martin had hosted. In fact, this was his fifth time hosting in only three seasons, so the cast knew they could just use him as another Not Ready for Prime-Time player. Additionally, instead of having a musician as the musical guest, they had the Blues Brothers, in their first official appearance. If you don’t know the Blues Brothers, see the window thing above, then go buy a movie called The Blues Brothers, watch it, love it, and, for all that is holy, don’t watch the sequel.

BluesBros2.jpg
Pictured: A huge mistake

SUMMARY

The episode opens with Paul Shaffer doing a fake introduction of the Blues Brothers, who perform “Hey Bartender.” Then, Steve Martin delivers one of the best monologues in the history of the show, ending with him beating the hell out of an audience member. The sketches throughout the episode include: “Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber,” a sketch of Steve Martin as a medieval barber obsessed with using bloodletting as a cure for basically anything; “The Festrunk Brothers,” famous for being two “wild and crazy guys!” (ask your parents what that means); a really well-done dance sketch between Martin and Gilda Radner that ranges from beautiful to hilariously absurd; a short film about ballet and breakdancing by Gary Weis, who did the videos for Walk Like an Egyptian and You Can Call Me Al; and Nerds at the Science Fair. Each of these is funny, most of them so funny that they became recurring sketches (except the Festrunk Brothers, who had appeared before). But, somehow, they weren’t the main reasons why this episode was amazing. It’s the other three sketches.

Wild_and_crazy_guys.jpg
“And then I said ‘Of course we need a third Bad News Bears!'”

First, Steve Martin performs the song “King Tut.” This song is weird, it’s random, and it’s catchy as hell. Martin not only performs lines like “Born in Arizona, moved to Babylonia” with a straight face, but makes you believe that he sincerely thinks he’s performing a hit. And, to be fair, he was right. He released the song as a single and it made the top 20 on the Billboard charts. For just over 2 minutes of fake lines about a pharaoh, that’s mind-blowing.

SNLKingTutGif.gif
He is a comedy God-King

Second, while it wasn’t the best during their run, this was definitely one of the better Weekend Updates with Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtain, this one had some solid gags. Dan getting upset that he was short-changed on his pot order, conducting the drug sale on air under the guise of making sure that it wasn’t “tainted.” A Nasal contraceptive is developed in India, but, despite the Kama Sutra’s encouragement, nobody has figured out how to have nasal intercourse. But, mostly, it’s the point/counterpoint on abortion. Their banter on those is usually great, but on this one, it’s particularly hilarious because it’s actually a controversial issue (I mean in 1978, but now would still work), and they actually do present the usual sides of the debate, albeit exaggerated (including the line “Haven’t they heard of abstinence? I myself haven’t had sex in two years, and I’m rich.”). Plus, it includes a great use of the classic line “Jane, you ignorant slut.”

Jane.png
And yet, this is not an inaccurate picture of the news media

Last, though, is a little mind boggling. The Blues Brothers came on to perform the song “I Don’t Know,” and they bring the funk. They bring all of it. In fact, they brought so much of it that, as if they need to top Steve Martin, they used it to promote their forthcoming album “Briefcase Full of Blues,” which proceeded to go double platinum, produce 2 top forty singles, and led to an amazing movie that definitely has no sequel.

SnlBluesBrosEND SUMMARY

This episode was like a double rainbow: Beautiful, rare, and probably made better by drugs.

PREVIOUS – 30: Frasier

NEXT – 28: Taxi

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Here’s Steve Martin’s King Tut:

http://player.theplatform.com/p/NnzsPC/widget/select/media/guid/2410887629/3505914

Link to the NBC site (http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/season-3/episode/18-steve-martin-with-the-blues-brothers-65761)

Link to it on Hulu (https://www.hulu.com/watch/159687)