Mario, Ciao Bella
The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023) is exciting, funny, and mercifully short, which is a godsend in an era where animated films put us through our paces by exploring every cartoon’s lifelong trauma. There’s little of that here, aside from the opening scenes establishing Mario and Luigi as the black sheep in their large Italian family. Even through those fleeting bits I was grinding my teeth. This movie is about the most beloved video game characters of all time. We’re already rooting for them. There’s no need for a Rudy plot line where their father calls them losers.
Look, I enjoy an emotionally complex and thought-provoking experience as much as the next person, but critics who are whining that The Super Mario Bros. Movie isn’t exactly Chinatown are acting like they’ve never enjoyed a handful of M&Ms. Here’s my advice to those poor, wayward souls — put on the Kenny Loggins song from Caddyshack II and try to remember the last time you jumped on a Slip n’ Slide. Do you really need spiritual resonance from Donkey Kong? Why?
The big controversy surrounding The Super Mario Bros. Movie was the hiring of Chris Pratt to voice Mario. Honestly, I forgot it was him for the duration of my viewing. Eventually it dawned on me that maybe Pratt was the perfect choice. Like Mario, he’s eager, goofy, occasionally heroic, and seemingly unflappable. We can’t be rid of either of them.
On the 1 to 100 scale I give The Super Mario Bros. Movie a 95. I hope the sequel follows the trajectory of the original games and introduces King Wart as Mario’s next adversary.
We’re All Gonna Get Laid: A Look Back At Caddyshack Three Decades Later
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.