Picture: B Sound: B- Extras: C+ Film: B
one of the most popular of all film genres, yet so many of them are so bad and
unfunny these days (in part thanks to Political Correctness and the Extreme
Rights’ censorship) that it is rare when one hits the mark. Some say it has to do with too many skit
shows and gross comedy has gone out of control, but Harold Ramis’ Caddyshack (1980) featured cast members
from Saturday Night Live and he was
from Second City. That is two of the best. Also, co-stars Rodney Dangerfield and Ted
Knight were in great form. The result
was a huge hit that remains one of the best comedies made.
some revisionist history has taken place.
Part of it I believe has to do with the rollback mentality of the
1980s. The tag line of the film sums it
up best referring to the battle between snobs and slobs. Back then, everyone was “smart enough” to
know this was funny, how funny this could be and the potential for fun in the
premise. Today, it is “dangerously
subversive” and stirs up ideas of “class division” that is somehow unacceptable
or “Makes fun of people who don’t stay clean or take baths” and other such
garbage. Now you see how such narrow,
idiotic thinking kills good filmmaking.
there is the gopher, which Bill Murray’s greenskeeper is trying to capture, but to no
avail. Of course, there are
reactionaries who would consider this animal abuse or those who think the gofer
is asking for it, but once again such loser thinking misses the point. This is supposed to be funny and fun for
those who are not dorks and so stuck up they don’t know it. It is a comedy about human nature and is
meant for everyone, though some would say in is somehow “fascist” or creates
too much of a sense of “counterculture community” among other absurd ideas.
are Knight and Chevy Chase (at the height of his powers) perfect as the snobs,
Dangerfield is unstoppable as the guy who intends to bring the house down. The film starts out with standard set-up
scenes, then once everything is established, lookout! For there, the film is an energetic hoot and
fun. The chemistry among the cast is
classic and we have seen few comedies since then with this kind of great cast
that worked. The Ramis/Brian-Doyle
Murray/Douglas Kennedy screenplay takes advantage of every opportunity the
situation has and the result was a big hit that some critics would not
acknowledge as good.
juggled this well and this should have been the beginning of a great directing
career, and though he is funny and talented, few of the films he helmed since
(the original National Lampoon’s
Vacation and Analyze This) have
had the heart, soul and comic timing of this one. Doyle-Murray also has a role, along with
reliable character actor Albert Salami and the sexy Cindy Morgan rounding out
the memorable cast. Warner Bros. was
very smart to release this gem early on in their HD-DVD slate. Rediscover it this way if you can.
X 1 1080p digital High Definition image has some haziness and grain, but the
film is looking good for its age.
Cinematographer Stevan Larner (Badlands)
did a better job shooting this film than he ever got credit for. A little more work could be done on the
print, but it holds up well. The Dolby
Digital Plus 5.1 mix is not horrible, taking advantage of the score by Johnny
Mandel (M*A*S*H, Being There, The Verdict) having been recorded in stereo, but this was an
optical monophonic theatrical release. I’m Alright by Kenny Loggins was a big
hit for the film that is also originally stereo and unfortunately led to series
of much goofier, dumber, poorer and annoying later movie themes. This is better than doing any kind of 1.0
Mono here in French and Spanish versions, but the fidelity of the dialogue and sound
effects show their age.
include the original theatrical trailer and Caddyshack: The 19th
Hole featurette about the making of the film. As many know, a disastrous sequel followed
and may have soiled the reputation of the original more than expected, but this
original Caddyshack is a golden
moment in the comedy genre and this new HD-DVD will remind everyone of that in
ways that are long overdue.
- Nicholas Sheffo