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Caddyshack - Blu-ray Review


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Caddyshack is what happens when the “Not Quite Ready for Prime Time” crowd decides to make movies.  Fresh off the heels of Animal House, Ramis and company, hard pressed to deliver a worthy follow-up, decide to liven up the ridiculously slow-moving sport of golf.  Equal parts anarchy and improvisation, Caddyshack is a comic lover’s dream come true and a producer’s worst nightmare.  Operating under the mantra of “Hey, it’s not my money at stake”, Ramis and his three leads, turn a coming-of-age script about caddies into a monstrously funny movie that just – almost by happenstance - takes place on a mild-mannered golf course.

Caddyshack, in its first stage of filming, was designed to be about one caddy’s dream of going to college and the hell he goes through in one summer to get there.  Danny Noonan (Michael O’Keefe) was to find himself surrounded by his friend Motormouth (Hamilton Mitchell), a pregnant Irish girlfriend (Sarah Holcomb), an uncommitted boss (Brian-Doyle Murray), a hell of a lot of booze and weed, wild nights with the other caddies, and an antagonizing agent (Ted Knight) designed to keep his anger and motivation up in his quest for college; however, had that version of Caddyshack actually been filmed, it might have robbed us of the amazing coming-of-age story in Greg Mottola’s Adventureland, but – thanks to the casting of Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, and Rodney Dangerfield – that movie never got made.  Instead, what happened was a minor comedic coup d'état, resulting in the most quoted film in Hollywood history.  (Think of it this way: the Marx Brothers do golf.)  And thank god for that.  I mean, really, where would be as a society if we didn’t have Murray’s Carl “It’s in the HOLE” Spackler to quote?

In a mostly improvised manner, the three leads in Caddyshack take over the script – with a hearty blessing from its screenwriters (Brian-Doyle Murray and Ramis) and run amok with bits and gags that continue to masterfully work.  Whether they recognized the weakness in the script or simply wanted to cut loose on-screen is debatable, but what their improvisational skills did solidified their comedic talents for generations to come and made the film more enjoyable, as a result.  Chase’s version of the coolly aloof Ty Web, made golf hip again (at least for awhile) and delivering his spiritual “be the ball” lines to O’Keefe is prime Chase; this isn’t throwaway stuff here, and you certainly don’t yell “cut” when Chase goes off-script.  The same goes with Murray, who only had six days to shoot his part in.  Considering the amount of footage he has in the final cut of the film, his carrying on against the antagonizing dancing gopher that kick starts the film should give viewers insight into what he did with the role of Spackler.  And what can be said of Dangerfield?  You either like him or you don’t.  That being said, this was his first film and his comedy routine is his performance; there aren’t any tricks, you get what you get.  It’s his stand-up routine, unchanged and rough, delivered through a thinly-veiled performance in the role as Al Czervik.

Much like that lightning storm that zapps the religion out of Bishop Pickering (Henry Wilcoxon, star of the Silent Era of film) on his best day of golf, Ramis’s work, while crude and juvenile, continues to exist as a god-like force to be reckoned with.  At its core, Caddyshack is highly-charged comedy and energetic entertainment with an appeal that crosses generations with its own cult following…proof positive that the drunken dynamics that made the on-screen comedic anarchy possible will probably never occur in Hollywood again.


Component Grades
Movie
 
DVD
4 stars
 
4 stars
     
DVD Experience
4 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray and DVD - June 8, 2010
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, German, Catalan, Danish, Greek, Norwegian, Swedish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: Dolby Digital Mono; German: Dolby Digital Mono; Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono

Not a lot of love went in to this release, while the transfer to HD is pretty solid, there isn’t the much-wanted cast commentary (nor, I’m guessing, will there ever be) and there are no deleted scenes.  With two features (one nearly running longer than the film itself), we should just be happy that Warner Brothers delivered this gem at all.

Supplements:

Featurettes:

Caddyshack: The Inside Story (1:20:52): this feature is a gem.  First broadcast in 2009 on the Biography Channel, this well-written and produced documentary contains some shockingly good stuff.  Mostly hearing from the caddies and Ramis (O'Keefe is the biggest star here--no Murray or Chase), there's plenty of input from the original crew and executives…and Kenny Loggins.  There's also Gene Shalit's review of the movie upon its original release…he didn’t love it.  At all.

Caddyshack: The 19th Hole (30:01): is a carryover from the original release, covering the same ground as the documentary; the only difference is that it has Chevy Chase.

Theatrical Trailer (2:34)

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