Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, Michael O'Keefe, Bill Murray, Sarah Holcomb, Scott Colomby, Cindy Morgan
Brian Doyle-Murray, Harold Ramis, Douglas Kenney
The Snobs Against The Slobs!
This hysterical farce, set against the backdrop of the typically hoity-toity Bushwood Country Club, pits the caddies vs. the establishment with riotous results. Danny, a poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks, is struggling to make it as a caddy at Bushwood. Terrified of being a caddy for life, he is dying to win the Bushwood annual caddy scholarship and is willing to do whomever and whatever it takes. The caddies carouse, smoke, and curse their way around Bushwood, wrecking havoc on the uptight rules and regulations strictly adhered to by most of the members of the club. Chevy Chase stars as Ty Webb, a wealthy antiestablishment member of Bushwood who tries to convince Danny that there is more to life than playing by the rules. This wacky comedy also features an insanely delightful performance by Bill Murray, as the local groundskeeper who becomes obsessed with killing off the gophers who have infested the golf course, with bang-up results. When Al Czervik (Rodney Dangerfield) comes to town he sets the country club - and Judge Smails, played by the fabulous Ted Knight - on end with his poor taste, bad humor, and big money. The final showdown between the snobs and the slobs is not to be missed. Caddyshack is one of the most-quoted comedies of all time, and with good reason.
$45.033 million on 3471 screens.
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Castilian Spanish Monaural
Runtime: 99 min.
Release Date: 6/8/2010
• “Caddyshack: The Inside Story” Documentary
• “Caddyshack: The 19th Hole” Featurette
PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.
Caddyshack [Blu-Ray] (1980)
Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 27, 2010)
Back in 2001, my then-girlfriend and I spent some time in front of the tube. As I flipped channels, I happened across Gone With the Wind. Though I don’t care much for the film, she indicated that she liked it, so we took in the final 40 minutes or so of it. Of course, I couldn’t resist the urge to rail against some of its excesses, and I also noted that Wind really does offer the ultimate “chick flick”. My then-girlfriend essentially agreed, which made me wonder if any film out there can so easily be considered as the definitive “guy’s movie”.
I couldn’t conjure such a title, but she quickly responded with 1980’s Caddyshack. When asked why she chose this film, she replied that many of the men she knew seemed to regard it as their favorite flick.
So there you have it! Until I can come up with a stronger candidate for the ultimate man’s movie, I’ll go with Caddyshack. However, I must note that this flick would reside nowhere on my personal list of faves; while it offers some very funny segments, it falls far short of classic status in my eyes.
Although most tag lines don’t work very well, the advertising description of Caddyshack still makes sense: “the snobs against the slobs!” Caddyshack features no overriding storyline beyond that theme, but it does include a number of subplots that carry it through its brief running time.
Probably the least interesting of these follows Danny Noonan (Michael O’Keefe), a working class teen who toils at the local country club as a caddy. Danny has stronger intellectual skills than most of his submoronic peers, however, and he strives to head to college soon. Since his family can’t easily afford this - his Irish-Catholic parents clearly don’t believe in birth control - he attempts to snare the annual caddy scholarship when the original winner loses it.
Danny acts as the connection for most of the other main characters, the majority of whom are the members of the club. He always caddies for spacey millionaire and golf savant Ty Webb (Chevy Chase), and he kisses up royally to Judge Smails (Ted Knight), the man who controls the awarding of the scholarship. The paths of those men cross when Smails’ niece Lacey Underall (Cindy Morgan) comes for the summer, and Ty hooks up with her.
While this clearly bothers Smails, his main nemesis becomes crass real estate developer Al Czervik (Rodney Dangerfield). The antithesis of the “old money” Smails represents, Al just wants everyone to loosen up and party, and his fun-loving attitude quickly irritates the judge. Ultimately, the tensions build until Al challenges Smails to a high stakes golf match; Ty plays on Al’s side, while Smails recruits Dr. Beeper (Dan Resin). This climactic match eventually involves Danny as it tests his loyalties: will he care more about friends or money?
In addition, a few other subplots occur. Danny has to deal with his girlfriend Maggie (Sarah Holcombe) and some competing caddies, mainly represented by tough-guy Tony (Scott Colomby). We also meet assistant greenskeeper Carl Spackler (Bill Murray), a slow-witted guy who becomes obsessed with the annihilation of a pesky gopher.
Although Carl and the gopher are a very minor aspect of the film, don’t tell that to the folks who created this disc’s artwork. Murray and the rodent are the first elements mentioned on the back cover’s plot synopsis, and the two are pictured prominently. Admittedly, I can’t really criticize this emphasis, for Murray and the gopher have become Caddyshack’s best known ingredients. Heck, apparently there’s even a market for toy likenesses of the rodent, as I’ve seen dancing plush representations of the beastie at toy stores.
I also won’t fault the disc’s accent on these characters simply because nothing else about the flick really takes charge. Although Caddyshack boasts all those many subplots that I mentioned, none of them ever maintains particular prominence and rises above the others. Technically, the movie’s about Danny and his issues, but it seems clear that director Harold Ramis; heart wasn’t in it from that point of view. It feels as though the original concept for the film stressed the caddies and their points of view, but once Ramis assembled the terrific adult talent, it became impossible to ignore their work. As such, the caddies fell to the background, with only the minor connecting element of Danny’s character remaining.
And I must stress the word “minor”, for Danny’s adventures often seem to have little to do with the construction of the film. Would the movie have been any poorer if Danny and the caddies had been removed from the story? I seriously doubt it. If anything, those aspects of the tale make it drag. I especially dislike Danny’s interactions with Maggie, who seems like a drab and disagreeable character.
As a whole, Caddyshack functions as little more than a conglomeration of otherwise isolated comedic elements. The film is poorly paced and choppily edited. But despite all of those flaws, it works, mainly because of the wonderful mix of performers at its disposal.
When Caddyshack arrived in the summer of 1980, Bill Murray hadn’t yet established himself as a prominent film performer. Though 1979’s Meatballs was a modest hit, he remained best known from his work on Saturday Night Live. However, after his supporting turn here, he moved on to bigger and better roles; 1981’s Stripes gave him a prominent lead in a successful film, and by 1984’s Ghostbusters, he became one of the world’s most popular actors.
Of the entire cast, I think Murray was the only one who really parlayed Caddyshack into something bigger, though one could argue that it also helped fellow SNL alumnus Chase. He’d already made a few moderately successful movies prior to 1980, but he hadn’t been able to turn his early TV success into the prominent film work he clearly desired. After 1980, Chase scored a decent hit with 1983’s Vacation, but nothing else he’s done since then really caught much positive attention.
Actually, on second thought, I think it’s likely that Caddyshack helped motivate the moderate film successes experienced by Dangerfield. He emerged from his stand-up roots and nailed a few decent hits like Easy Money and Back to School. None of the other performers quite reached the heights of Murray’s later experiences, though.
In any case, all of them combine nicely in Caddyshack, and they bear the sole responsibility for its success. Ramis usually displays a sharp comedic mind, but he doesn’t seem to have much control over these proceedings. As I already noted, this is a sloppily-made film that often appears to be rather amateurish. However, the comic talent enables the piece to work fairly well despite its flaws.
Is Caddyshack the ultimate “guy movie”? Probably not, for it seems too clumsy and dated to merit that title. However, the strong roster of performers means that it often offers a very funny experience, despite quite a few slow moments.
The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus B
Caddyshack appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. While not a killer presentation, the transfer surpassed my – admittedly somewhat low – expectations.
My only complaint connected to sharpness. Though most of the movie looked pretty concise and accurate, more than a few instances of softness occurred. These always came with wide shots, and they weren’t constant distractions even in those instances, but they gave the image its main problems.
Jagged edges and shimmering failed to pop up, and edge haloes remained absent. The movie also looked surprisingly clean. The source elements occasionally demonstrated messiness – usually from dirt on the lens – but those instances were quite rare. The movie showed no specks, marks or blemishes.
Colors were another pleasant surprise. The movie used a bright, natural palette, and the hues appeared lively and dynamic most of the time. At worst, they were good, and they sometimes looked pretty impressive. Blacks were dark and tight, and shadows appeared fine. A few “day for night” shots seemed a bit dense, but otherwise the low-light sequences worked fine. Because of the softness, I didn’t feel comfortable with a grade above a “B”, but I still was pretty darned happy with the presentation.
Similar thoughts greeted the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Caddyshack. This took the original monaural mix – which doesn’t appear here, unfortunately – and gave it a good sense of scope. Music demonstrated nice spread across the front, and effects added impact to the flick. For the most part, these stayed in the realm of “general ambience”, but a few sequences added pep to the proceedings. For instance, a thunderstorm packed a good punch, and scenes at sea or during the explosive climax worked well, too. The surrounds didn’t get a ton to do, but they brought some pizzazz to the movie.
Audio quality has held up nicely over the last 30 years. Music worked best, as the score and songs usually boasted solid vivacity and punch. A few sequences used source classical music, and those suffered from some distortion, but the elements recorded explicitly for Caddyshack seemed satisfying.
Speech came across well. Dialogue appeared natural and concise, without edginess or intelligibility issues. Effects had some minor ups and downs, but they were usually pretty clear and distinctive, and they featured good low-end when necessary. I remain disappointed that the Blu-ray’s producers omitted the original mono track, but I felt quite pleased with this well-executed multichannel mix.
How did the picture and audio compare to those of the 20th Anniversary DVD from 2000? Both showed significant improvements. The mono track from the original was thin and scratchy, whereas the remix appeared livelier and clearer.
The visuals also showed substantial growth. Even with the occasional examples of softness, the Blu-ray looked notably more accurate, and everything else worked better here. The Blu-ray was cleaner, fuller and more dynamic. Honestly, it looked/sounded like a whole new movie when compared with the drab DVD.
In terms of extras, the Blu-ray mixes old and new materials. We start with the brand-new documentary Caddyshack: The Inside Story. In this one-hour, 20-minute, 52-second show, we hear from director Harold Ramis, executives in charge of production Mark Canton and Rusty Lemorande, production assistant/extra John Murray, golf commentator David Feherty, singer/songwriter Kenny Loggins, executive producer Jon Peters, Orion Pictures studio executive/partner Mike Medavoy, associate producer Don MacDonald, casting director Wallis Nicita, Ramis’s assistant Trevor Albert, editor William Carruth, extra Mike Sereg, special effects supervisor John Dykstra, puppet maker Joe Garlington, Doug Kenney biographer Josh Karp, composer Johnny Mandel, and actors Scott Colomby, Cindy Morgan, Michael O’Keefe, John Barmon, Hamilton Mitchell, Mark Chirboga, Ann Ryerson, Peter Berkrot, Dr. Dow, Minerva Scelza and Marcus Breece. (Bill Murray also shows up via some archival footage, but he doesn’t provide new material.)
“Story” examines the project’s roots and development, script/story issues, cast, characters and performances, sets and locations, Ramis’s growing pains as a director, editing and adding the gopher puppet, music, the film’s release, and various concerns/craziness during the shoot.
“Story” starts out awkwardly, as the first few minutes feel like one running ad for the program; I started to wonder if the show would start or if it’d all be a tease. Happily, it does get going before long, and it offers a pretty good look at the production. “Story” traces the production well, and it doesn’t spare details about all the wildness along the way. “Story” plays a bit more like a “Behind the Music” episode than I’d like, but it still includes more than enough good info to make it enjoyable and informative.
Two asides: Morgan is still officially Getting It Done 30 years later, as she looks great. Also, Peters now qualifies as one of those Guys Who Look Like Kenny Rogers. Heck, with all of the Gambler’s plastic surgery, Peters looks more like Rogers than Rogers does!
In addition to the film’s trailer, we find a featurette called The 19th Hole. Also found on the 2000 DVD, this 31-minute program provides the usual mix of film clips, shots from the set and interviews with participants. In regard to the latter, we hear from Morgan, Mitchell, Colomby, Ryerson, Canton, Ramis, Peters and actor Chevy Chase.
The interviews offer the most significant component of the documentary, as we hear a lot of fairly interesting stories from the set. This piece lacks any emphasis on nuts and bolts details of the production; frankly, they don’t tell us much about how the movie was actually made other than to relate that much improvisation took place. Instead, we find a slew of good anecdotes that discuss many behind-the-scenes occurrences, most of which are fairly entertaining.
The absence of both Rodney Dangerfield and Bill Murray is a negative, however. The others speak of them, but we see no new footage of the pair. However, the program helps compensate for this through some fun outtakes from the set. Most of these offer alternate takes of existing scenes, though we do get to check out a little of one excised segment. The majority of the outtakes feature Murray, and they’re an enjoyable addition to the package. “Hole” is too brief and a little too glib, especially during Colomby’s remarks; he tries hard to generate laughs that don’t come. However, I think “Hole” offers a breezy and entertaining piece that helps complement the film.
After 30 years, Caddyshack has a reputation as a legend that I’m not sure it deserves. It’s an erratic and clumsy affair that occasionally works due to the stellar talents featured in its cast, but it also falters a lot of the time. The Blu-ray offers surprisingly solid picture and audio; supplements don’t dazzle, but they add some good value to the set. Caddyshack fans will feel very pleased with this presentation, as it’s clearly the best the movie has ever looked/sounded on home video.
To rate this film visit the 20th Anniversary Edition review of CADDYSHACK