Friday, May 18, 2012

Caddyshack


“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.” I don’t know if Bill Murray’s crazy character Carl Spackler ever achieved total consciousness in the hilarious 1980 cult classic Caddyshack, but I know I almost lost mine from laughing so hard. I have to say that after the most recent Throwback Thursday screening, I would be hard pressed to choose my favorite comedian of the film. Every time Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield or Bill Murray are on the screen, they kill it. At points it’s even hard to catch your breath from laughing so hard at the one-liners. I’m very thankful I was able to catch this cinema gem (a big shout out to my supervisor that made it possible) and didn’t have to miss out on the madness. And, oh yeah, I mean more than just the movie itself.




Honestly, this Throwback Thursday had a lot going on (yes, I mean besides an amazing movie). That is, a lot going on if you like free stuff, and you know I do. Chris Villani & Rich Haskell of 101.3 ESPN Radio’s The Chris & Rich Show were on hand in the lobby giving away free green time to Links at Lang Farm and all you had to do to enter was make a putt to get a raffle ticket. The good news was even if you missed the putt you still walked away with a free bag of candy, so everyone was a winner. And yes, if you’re curious, I was a winner of a bag of candy; my putting skills are getting a little rusty, but Jaclyn promises me this will be the year we actually go to the Family Fun & Entertainment Center and play some rounds of mini golf. My buddy Sam didn’t have any problem sinking his putt (and on his first try) but ultimately wasn’t a raffle winner (but once again, with free candy we were all winners). And the opportunity to win free stuff didn’t end there because closet comedian and theater owner Dale Chapman was on hand to offer up more than just pre-movie entertainment. I’ve mentioned the Throwback Thursday raffle in previous blogs (Jenn was a big winner at The Breakfast Club screening) but I don’t remember seeing prizes as sweet as the ones offered at Caddyshack. Not only did Dale reveal the next three Throwback Thursday movies (the first one is already up on the Essex Cinema page), he offered up T-Rex passes that would get you into multiple Throwback Thursdays, something that I had yet to see and an amazing opportunity. Unfortunately I was not one of the lucky winners (I actually did win when I saw Ghostbusters  but man; I still can’t believe those prizes. With the raffles over, it was time to sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

Dale Chapman warms up the crowd
Usually I wax nostalgic when I write about Throwback Thursday movies and talk about how I was first introduced to them, give examples of how they affected my life, or how they really became a driving influence on me. But I realized while sitting in the theater I couldn’t for the life of me remember when I first saw Caddyshack; it seems like a film that has always been part of my pop culture lexicon. Growing up, my parent’s really didn’t allow R rated movies in my house, so I doubt this one would’ve slipped by their radar and it doesn’t seem like the type of movie that I would’ve chosen to watch at one of my friends house’s where the R rated movies were king. Judging a book (in this case a movie) by its cover (in this case a case) I don’t think I would’ve chosen this one. I mean, it’s a golf movie; I wasn’t into golf and I’m not sure even though the cover features Rodney Dangerfield, Chevy Chase and Bill Murray, I would’ve been smart enough to look past the title and choose it. I’ll admit I joined the military without ever seeing Stripes so some of these comedy classics just missed me, but not Caddyshack. I know almost the whole movie by heart; how the heck is that possible and I don’t even remember seeing it for the first time? This one is a head scratcher, but my confusion didn’t keep me from enjoying my first Caddyshack viewing on the big screen. I’ve mentioned it before, but there is something just magical about watching these movies in the theater. Yes, haters, I could watch the Blu-ray at home or maybe even catch Caddyshack on TV.  But it’s not the same experience as seeing it splashed across a sixty-foot screen in a theater full of laughter that threatens to drown out the state of the art surround sound with the smell of freshly popped popcorn wafting through the air. Movies were designed to be seen this way and thanks to the efforts of Dale and the Essex Cinema crew I can now check another one off my bucket list. In fact, if you haven’t taken the opportunity to thank Dale yet, please do. He’s the driving force behind Throwback Thursdays and without his love of classic movies we wouldn’t have the opportunity to check out our favorites from the past in the awesome T-Rex Theater.


Plot-wise, Caddyshack might be all over the place. I mean, at the core, what is the story really about? Is it about Danny Noonan’s quest to get into college? Is it about the rivalry between Al Czervik and Judge Smails? Or Carl Spackler’s mission to destroy the Gopher? And where does Ty Webb fit into all of it? Is he the Ben Kenobi to Danny’s Luke Skywalker? More like a series of vignettes than a conclusive storyline, Caddyshack has lasted the test of time not because of plot but because each set piece is just so damn funny. Who can forget the Bishop having the best game of his life in the pouring rain only to miss his last shot and get struck by lighting after cursing God? And Rodney Dangerfield is hilarious - I can’t think of a single scene he’s in where he doesn’t say something memorable: “Oh, this is the worst-looking hat I ever saw. What, when you buy a hat like this I bet you get a free bowl of soup, huh?” “Oh it looks good on you though.”  I can say I had the pleasure of having an old drunk guy say these same lines to me, but not about a hat - about one of my favorite Hawaiian shirts. I think it probably caught the guy off guard when I retorted back, “Hey, you want to make fourteen dollars the hard way?” Travis for the win. I just can’t get over how funny each character is in their own way. As over the top as Dangerfield is, Chevy Chase is almost the exact opposite with his sly subtle style. Every time he says anything it’s sarcastic and funny and his timing is amazing. Fun fact: Caddyshack is the only time that Saturday Night Live alums Bill Murray and Chevy Chase ever share a scene on the silver screen. And let’s talk about Murray for a second; he’s crazy in Caddyshack, right? Never walks away from a big laugh, and has to be my second favorite use of a Baby Ruth candy bar in a movie (first being The Goonies). What it lacks in plot it definitely makes up for in comedy and I can’t think of a better way to spend a Thursday night than watching these comedic powerhouses swing for the fences.         

From left to right: Jenn, Chuck Rodent, Travis & Sam
Caddyshack was another great pick for Throwback Thursdays, but next time they’re going in a completely different direction; from a classic comedy to a classic sci-fi/horror because in space no one can hear you scream.  That’s right, the next Throwback Thursday is 1979 haunted house set in space movie: Alien.  To this day I have never seen an Alien movie in the theater, to include Alien vs. Predator and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, so this is something I’m really looking forward to and Jaclyn has never seen Alien so what better way to see it for the first time than in the T-Rex. But for now I’m going to crank up the Kenny Loggins and gopher dance my way out of here. “Hey everybody, we’re all gonna get laid!”