Thursday, December 16, 2010
(July 1980, U.S.)
Every once in a blue moon, I end up in a conversation with a bunch of guys where the subject inevitably turns to golf. When they ask me if I play, my response is always the same - "No, but I've seen CADDYSHACK many times." And why not? It's unquestionably the funniest sports-related film ever made (though I would cite SLAP SHOT as a pretty close second)! With all due respects to Kevin Costner, BULL DURHAM (1988) and TIN CUP (1996) were just pointless attempts at...I don't even know, really.
"The snobs against the slobs"; that was the tagline for the film at the time of its release, and in a way, the timing was perfect for a film of that nature. ANIMAL HOUSE had already been a major hit two years prior and comedies were on the verge of continuing their tastlelessness well into the 1980s with titles like PORKY'S and FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH. But with CADDYSHACK, it isn't just welcomed tastelessness, it's also pure comic talent with the likes of Rodney Dangerfield, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray and even Ted Knight. Even the presentation of the exclusive, upscale, snobbish Florida country club is told with such idiocy and lunacy that you can't help but laugh at their very ridiculous existence.
Okay, now let's talk about all those great quotable lines. Anyone who knows this film well enough has probably allowed pieces of it into their everyday dialogue, even just in fun. If you've ever eaten bad food, you might refer to it as "low grade dog food" or claim that you've had "better food at the ballgame". If you've ever wanted to jinx someone who was trying to concentrate on something, you may find yourself saying, "Noonan!". If you've ever been impatient with someone to perform a task, you might utter with your best Ted Knight impersonation, "Well, we're waiting!". And finally, if you've ever fantasized about yourself in a famous situation, you might, when no one else is looking, say, "Cinderella story, outta nowhere.". You get my point? While CADDYSHACK may not be CITIZEN KANE or GONE WITH THE WIND, it's legacy has created enough of an impact in our popular culture and humorous dialogue for those who grew up with it, and that in its own right, makes for a great film. So to CADDYSHACK, I say "Happy 30th birthday!"
And now for something personal - thirty years ago when I was just thirteen years-old and this film was released in the Summer of 1980, I lived in a suburb of Great Neck, Long Island. Up the street from me lived a blond kid about my age. My mother, in her ususal forcefull manner, ordered me to walk up the street and introduce myself to this kid. I did it, but with great reluctance. Long story short, this kid whom I will call Jim (because that's really his name) has been one of my closest friends for the past thirty years. We've had the kind of friendship that has been surrounded by laughter and lunacy and much of it has been credited to the both of us constantly quoting lines from films like CADDYSHACK, ANIMAL HOUSE, ARTHUR and FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMOST HIGH; all very popular hits during our childhood. Another reason I think of Jim when I think of CADDYSHACK is because he happens to bear a very strong physical resemblance to Michael O'Keefe who plays Danny Noonan, especially when it comes to displaying a rather silly, shit-eating grin on his face. If Jim is reading this, he knows only too well what I'm talking about. So it is to Jim, that I dedicate this post. Here's to another thirty years of friendship, laughter and lunacy, buddy!
Favorite line or dialogue:
Carl Spackler: "So I jump ship in Hong Kong and I make my way over to Tibet, and I get on as a looper at a course over in the Himalayas."
Angie D'Annunzio: "A looper?"
Carl: "A looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock. So, I tell them I'm a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald... striking. So, I'm on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one - big hitter, the Lama - long, into a ten-thousand foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga... gunga, gunga-lagunga. So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice."