Is It OK To Dislike Caddyshack?
I also have to preface this by saying that although I've always been a big movie fan, comedies especially, I was one of the last people I knew to see Caddyshack. As a result, I had already heard about a lot of the classic, to some, scenes, and I could even recite Bill Murray's Dali Lama speech. That could be why I was so disappointed when I finally saw it. It's just like how people who saw The Exorcist when it came out were scared out of their minds, and some people in later generations see it as laughable. It's because it's been parodied so many times that the head spinning and pea soup spitting comes off so silly, whereas in the early to mid 1970's, my grandmother cautioned my mother not to see it for fear of a miscarriage. No lie. Similarly, or perhaps paradoxically, Bill Murray doesn't stand a chance at being funny to me if the twenty-seven people I heard give his speech before him were a million times less funny and usually annoying. By the time I finally saw it, not only was I able to recite it right along with old Bill without missing a beat, I got a little peeved thinking of all those idiots I had heard trying to do his voice.
Now, that last point is specific to me, and I admit that. This next argument is true no matter who you are: Caddyshack has an all-star cast of people who aren't in the movie nearly enough. Sure, Rodney Dangerfield is funny as hell whenever he makes an appearance, but how much screen time does he get? Twenty minutes? Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, these guys are geniuses, too, so why not cast them in bigger roles? Why the kid with the bad hair and the other not funny young caddies at the heart of the story? I seriously don't even know what else is going on in the film outside of when the talented people are talking. Is he trying to get a scholarship? Who even cares? I defy anyone to tell me a good line that kid or any actor not named Bill, Rodney, or Chevy gets off in the entire film. Now, I know I've talked to people who think Ted Knight is funny in it, but I can't stand him. I think it's residual effects I'm still having from Too Close for Comfort. I hated that show. I'm telling you: I was destined to hate this movie.
So, the producers have these amazing comedic actors in their prime, and this is the movie they make? It's as if they just said, with no script at all, "Let's just get all these great guys and make a movie about golf." Sure, it's funny at times, but I would argue that had it had a better script, it could have been brilliant. Reading that script without having the benefit of picturing brilliant actors saying the lines would have read like, well, some not funny guys out for a round of golf. "As a matter of fact, it's widely known that Bill Murray and Rodney Dangerfield riffed a lot of their lines on-the-spot, and Bill's character wasn't even written. So, how much of that credit can go to the writer or director? I could take these guys out on a golf course and say, "Okay, fellas. Ready? Say something funny!" That's not film making; that's just being extraordinarily lucky to have talented people want to work with a crappy script.
One of the best scenes in the film is the one where Chevy Chase loses a ball in the Bill Murray character's shabby living quarters. The scene does nothing to further the story, but I'll admit that it's a funny one. Now, can anyone tell me why that's the only extended screen time that the two actors share? You're going to take two hot comedic actors fresh from their tenure on Saturday Night Live, and you're going to cripple yourself by only allowing them to work together once? Why not make Chevy Chase the lead in the movie, make Bill Murray his caddy, and Rodney Dangerfield as his rival? Then they might have really had something, but perhaps they only had the big dogs for a certain number of days and the kid with the bad hair for as much time as they needed.
I've found myself in numerous drunken debates which often build to numbers in the upwards of ten against one, and I always stand my ground. I remember one Halloween stumbling around in size thirteen blue Patton leather pumps arguing its overratedness with a whole garage full of party-goers until a friend of mine was left with no recourse but to tackle me onto the grass. It's come to the point where after one of those episodes I have to tell myself not to get involved in that discussion, not because I'm wrong, but because you can't convince someone if something's funny or if it isn't. I just hope I can get people to understand where I'm coming from, and see that I've formulated a strong argument, whether they happen to agree or not. Because I now understand that I can't talk someone out of thinking a piece of art has merit, or to an even lesser extent, is funny, I'm resolved to stop fighting this cause. The next time someone asks why I don't like the movie, I'll just take a deep breath, bite my tongue, and say, "Read the article." Because you've more than likely just read it and saying "read the article" would make little sense at this stage, for you, I'm listing below fifteen movies in alphabetical order that are funnier and just plain better than Caddyshack.
The 40-Year-Old Virgin
Coming to America
Dumb And Dumber
The Naked Gun
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
Revenge of the Nerds
There's Something About Mary
The Odd Couple
This Is Spinal Tap
Story by Matthew J. Swanson
Starpulse contributing writer
Editors Note: Yes, as Matthew expressed earlier in this article, the opinions expressed in this article are solely that of Matthew J. Swanson and not Starpulse. Please lob all verbal grenades and cannon fire in Matt's direction. Thank you, the management.
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