Review by Gordon Justesen
Stars: Chevy Chase, Rodney
Dangerfield, Ted Knight, Michael O’Keefe, Bill Murray
Director: Harold Ramis
Audio: DTS HD 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio: Warner Bros.
Features: See Review
Length: 99 Minutes
Release Date: June 8, 2010
“I haven't even told my father about the scholarship I didn't get. I'm gonna end up working in a lumberyard the rest of my life.”
“What's wrong with lumber? I own two lumberyards.”
“I notice you don't spend too much time there.”
“I'm not quite sure where they are.”
It's somewhat ironic that the most beloved golf movie of all time is a screwball comedy that happens to make a mockery of the game, in addition to taking dead aim at the country club lifestyle and its snobbish members. But truth be told, Caddyshack is a beloved 80s comedy classic that just happens to include golf. If you're wanting film that takes a more serious approach to the game, you will want to seek out Tin Cup.
This was one of the very first movies to feature a cast of brilliant comedic minds. Once you heard that the likes of Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Rodney Dangerfield and Ted Knight were going to be in the same movie, you were laughing before you heard a single joke. The film was also directed and co-written by then first timer Harold Ramis, who would then go on to make such terrific comedies as National Lampoon's Vacation, Groundhog Day and Analyze This.
Basically, there's not a whole lot to the story here, not that it matters much. What gives this film it's classic comedy status is the energy delivered by the four main stars, each of whom give 110% from beginning to end. Oh, and the destructive gopher is very important ingredient to the movie's success.
Actually, what serves as the meat of the story is the least interesting aspect of the movie. It concerns hapless caddy named Danny (Michael O'Keefe), who's only focus is going to college so he doesn't have to work under his dad at the lumberyard for the rest of his life. The money for his desired college fund comes courtesy of his current gig at the Bushwood Country Club.
The club is run by the super snobbish Judge Smails (Knight), who currently has two thorns in his side. The first of which is the presence of a gopher whose leaving paths of dirt on the green the same way Bugs Bunny does when traveling underground. The second, and perhaps more threatening of the two, is that of Al Czervik (Dangerfield), a wisecracking condo billionaire who becomes his nemesis from minute one.
The other two big players on the course are Ty Webb (Chase), a millionaire who spends his time playing golf and never keeping score. The other, and most memorable character of the bunch, is Carl Spackler (Murray), the bumbling greenskeeper who is tasked with capturing and destroying the gopher. As far as his comedic performances as concerned, this remains one of Murray's greatest moments on film.
Though the story arc is more than predictable, Caddyshack remains a classic example of top notch screwball comedy. It's rare these days to see such a comedy that features four gifted comic actors, each at their prime, deliver the goods the way the four leads do it here. They, along with writers Ramis and Brian Doyle-Murray, are what make Caddyshack the comedy gold mine that it is.
This movie has seen some rough times in the video department ever since its home video days. But I can definitely conclude that this Blu-ray presentation from Warner includes the single best transfer this movie has ever received. The greens of the golf course certainly look fantastic. And although we do get some soft images here and there, close up and medium shots are nonetheless superb, as are the colors.
Never has this film been one to show off the sound system with. And although much of the action is limited to the front range, the DTS HD mix is really spectacular in its delivery of the many memorable songs on the soundtrack. This would include “I'm Alright” by Kenny Loggins and the ever-so-memorable use of Journey's “Any Way You Want It”. Dialogue delivery is also handled terrifically.
It may not seem like a great deal is on this Blu-ray edition, but the brand new documentary titled “Caddyshack: The Inside Story” runs close to 90 minutes and is as in-depth as any behind the scenes documentary you will see. It features everything from revealing interviews with Harold Ramis and other crew members to even footage of film critic Gene Shalit's harsh review of the movie. Gene Shalit hating a movie that's actually good? When was the last time THAT ever happened? Also featured is an additional featurette titled “Caddyshack: The 19th Hole”, which runs about 30 minutes long and features deleted footage and several outtakes in addition to interviews with cast and crew members. Lastly, we have a Theatrical Trailer.
Though certain elements may come across as a bit dated, Caddyshack remains a classic movie as far as both comedy and golf are concerned. The energy from the four comedic headliners is what makes the movie the beloved comedy that it is, and it certainly hasn't lost any of its comedy juice 30 years following its release.