If you click but one link below, make sure it’s the Andrew Koenig story. Gets my vote for best thing ever to appear on this ramshackle e-circus.
Headlines For The Soundgarden Reunion
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Tobey Maguire: “I Did Steroids.”
JG2’s Bucket List
Boy Wonder To Bow Out, Spelling End To Dynamic Duo
Unsolicited Spring Break Review
Rock Critic Mark Prindle: The JG2Land Interview
On The Subject On John Hinckley, Jr.
Spring Break On The Planet Of The Apes
Darth Vader Searches For Luke Skywalker On Chatroulette
An Open Letter To Ed Helms And Jason Sudeikis
A Sad Gumby Would Be Almost Unbearable To Look At
Arrested In Time: The Life & Death Of Andrew Koenig
The Curse Of Turbo Man
Requiem For Bif
We’re All Gonna Get Laid: A Look Back At Caddyshack
I Don’t Know Who Aunt Barbara Is…
Ten Real-Life Batman Villains
Unsolicited Baseball: The Tenth Inning Review
Thirty years ago this weekend, a movie came along that slammed a collection of words together no one in the world previously thought to connect: raunchy golf comedy. The movie in question? Harold Ramis’s Caddyshack, a ramshackle production that defied the odds to become a cult classic amongst even the most casual fans of sports and Chevy Chase. Quite an accomplishment when you consider just how much of the film is taken up by the presence of an animatronic gopher who dances suggestively to the music of Kenny Loggins.
Caddyshack taught us much about the party habits of tunnel-burrowing rodents, but it taught us so much more about love. Namely, you can fool around with whomever you want if you work at a golf course (even yourself, so long as you’re strategically positioned behind a flower bed), but you’d better promise to do the right thing if you end up getting a girl from Ireland pregnant. Also, you can be a prematurely balding jackass in polyester pants who constantly spouts word salad and still end up with a woman as lithe as Cindy Morgan even if she continues to seriously question your sanity as her clothes are hitting the floor.
Ah, Cindy Morgan. The first heavenly Hollywood body I was ever left alone with, content to rewind, pause, stare at, and “contemplate” her beauty as much as my sweaty little twelve year old heart desired. This was the earliest of many adolescent nights circa 1991 wherein my parents left me, their only child, at home with a handful of rented properties from Movies Ahoy! while they enjoyed an evening on the town. Ever the cad (read: pervert), I dutifully scanned the TV Guide movie listings before being shuttled to the video store so I could try to pick out features with maximum boob potential.
“What ho?” I said to myself as I came across the blurb for Caddyshack. “This motion picture appears to have female nudity, adult themes, and Bill Murray! Surely this will be a victorious selection. Sorry, Dragnet.”
Indeed, Caddyshack was a victorious selection, fulfilling TV Guide’s promises in spades. Naturally, what I most remember from that first viewing is the rush of excitement brought on from seeing Miss Morgan drape her taught, naked, and sun-kissed torso all over Mark Hamill stand-in Michael O’Keefe midway through the movie. I didn’t realize it at the time, but part of the attraction lay in the confidence and boldness with which Morgan played her stupidly named character Lacey Underall. She knew what she wanted, she knew how to get it, and she wouldn’t even let a commanding presence like Ted Knight control her.
Defying Ted Knight? There’s nothing sexier. Ted Knight’s been dead for over a decade, and I’m still afraid I might run into him on the street some time, where he’ll growl at me and start cursing about Kevin McCarthy. He certainly thunders up a storm in this film, albeit to no real results. You know you’re watching fiction when motherfuckers fail to respect the proclamations of the man born Tadeus Wladyslaw Konopka (that’s right; the Poles can officially claim the star of “Too Close For Comfort”).
But I digress. The only time Lacey Underall seems vulnerable or ill at ease in Caddyshack is when she’s alone with Chevy Chase’s idiot golf savant character Ty Webb. He jokes about hunting dolphin with a bow and arrow and later accuses her uncle of molesting collies. Lacey is obviously troubled by this behavior, but she still goes to bed with Chevy’s toothy golf stud. This is a great example of the old adage: a beautiful woman will always sleep with a nonsense-spewing athlete before she sleeps with a white kid with an afro named Danny.
Another memorable aspect of Caddyshack is, of course, the legendary Rodney Dangerfield, who, as the crass Al Czervik, burns all who dare cross his path. In the middle of his career-defining performance, Rod busted through one of Hollywood’s last barriers to deliver mainstream cinema’s first and only Amelia Earhart blowjob joke. Amelia Earhart blowjob jokes were pretty common up to that point in other venues, such as bowling alleys and Pizza Hut bathrooms, but in the medium of film? That was dangerous territory. Clearly, it did not take, as evidenced by the lack of aviator fellatio jokes in even the most overcharged of Tarantino productions.
Conversely, there was nary a nob-bobbin’ joke in the recent biopic Amelia, although I suppose it was implied Gore Vidal’s dad was getting his royal penis cleaned nightly by flight’s most famous female. That sure burned up Richard Gere’s character.
Again I digress. A handful of raunchy golf comedies have been made in the years since Caddyshack, but no one knows how they measure up as no one has bothered to watch any of them (including Caddyshack II). The educated guess is that Caddyshack stands head and shoulders above all else in its field, especially in terms of what it taught us about Cindy Morgan’s body and casual sex amongst upwardly mobile roustabouts in Davie, Florida.
The real-life sexcapades of Tiger Woods came close to trumping Caddyshack in the realm of testosterone-soaked golf clubbing; alas, none of those women Tiger canoodled with had an ounce of Lacey Underall’s intoxicating swagger, and coverage of the story sorely lacked a mush-mouthed Bill Murray muttering falsities about the Dalai Lama.
At least there were no gyrating gopher puppets in Tiger’s carnival of whore fucking.
Starring: Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight
Directed by Harold Ramis
Ah, Caddyshack. The ultimate golf movie. A cinematic postcard of a simpler time, a time when Chevy Chase was still a fresh new face on the Hollywood scene, a time when Brian Doyle-Murray still had some color in his hair, a time when it was perfectly acceptable to bookend a major motion picture with scenes of a fake gopher dancing suggestively to the music of Kenny Loggins. How I long for those days. If you ask me, there just aren’t enough creepy rodent puppets squirming around to Reagan-era soft rock in any medium today (film, television, theater, professional billiards, etc).
So this movie is basically ninety-eight minutes of Chevy Chase being Chevy Chase (asshole), Rodney Dangerfield being Rodney Dangerfield (loud asshole), Ted Knight being Ted Knight (rich asshole), and some half-baked subplot about a young caddy’s college dreams thrown in for good measure. Bill Murray’s in there too, of course, doing his now-famous Carl Spackler character. Oh, and the aforementioned gopher, truly an achievement in the field of ground squirrel anthropomorphication.
I’m not knocking this formula—it was obviously the right one to produce a cult classic. However, with most of the actors basically playing themselves, it’s kind of hard to become engrossed in Caddyshack. You sit there watching it and think, Man, when exactly did Chevy Chase stop being funny? or I wonder if Ted Knight was like that in real life. Rarely do you say to yourself, Gee, I hope Ty and Al knock the stuffing out of Judge Smails and Dr. Beeper in the big game! The plot kind of fades into the background when you have Rodney Dangerfield saying shit like, “I almost got head from Amelia Earhart!”
The young caddy angling for a scholarship from Knight’s uptight judge character is played by curly-haired “Waltons” vet Michael O’Keefe. O’Keefe, it should be noted, went on land such plum roles as Sgt. Mike Fitzgerald in the 1988 made-for-TV flick “Disaster at Silo 7” and Jackie Conner’s long-suffering boyfriend Fred on the popular “Roseanne” program (yes, I purposely called it “the popular ‘Roseanne’ program”). O’Keefe is likable enough in Caddyshack, but it’s easy to see why he never exploded in the same way as a Tom Cruise or a Ralph Macchio. He just lacked that je ne sais quoi a true star possesses. He also had that horrible white guy ‘fro. Mike’s been on “Law & Order” a handful of times in recent years, so don’t worry, he’s still working.
The rest of Caddyshack’s minor players never really amounted to much, except for Cindy Morgan (who played Lora in TRON) and Scott Colomby (that son of a bitch was in all three Porky’s movies AND an episode of “The A-Team”—Tony D’Annunzio FTW!!). Heck, for a lot of these folks, Caddyshack would be their only credit. Can you believe Hollywood ignored the talents of John Barmon, Jr., a.k.a. Spaulding Smails? I’m really only half-joking! That kid was kinda funny! Surely Paige Coffman, the little girl who screamed, “DOODIE!” during the infamous pool bit, could have parlayed her brief moment in the sun into at least one game show appearance. Not even the woman who played Ted Knight’s wife went on to do anything else. Goddammit! So many wasted opportunities.
Caddyshack holds up pretty well all these years later despite some painfully executed fart/crotch jokes and just a smidge of unnecessary race humor (did Rodney Dangerfield really need a camera-happy Asian companion named Wang?). Chevy Chase has some great one-liners, I enjoyed seeing Cindy Morgan’s nipples, and who can ever argue with a film that prominently features Journey’s “Any Way You Want It?” This is one DVD I do not regret owning (as opposed to The WWE’s Greatest Ringside Injuries Volume 2: Mercy Takes A Holiday).
Final Score: Three Shunununununununas (out of four).
Remember that time I said I was going to come up with a unique unit of measurement for these reviews? I fucking LIED.