Stan & Ollie

Release: Friday, December 28, 2018 (limited)

→Theater

Written by: Jeff Pope

Directed by: Jon S. Baird

Unlike the lengthy run the real-life subjects enjoyed in their careers, director Jon S. Baird’s passion project Stan & Ollie seems over before it has even begun. This isn’t me knocking the film for being slight, but because I enjoyed each precious minute like they were little fudge truffles maybe I just wish there were more of them, especially when Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly are involved, and when they are this good together. They truly make this movie worth savoring.

Stan & Ollie is a lovingly crafted tribute to one of the most famous and beloved comedy acts of all time. It provides insight into both the creative genius behind the comedy and the friendship that endured behind the curtains. Coogan and Reilly play Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy respectively and I really don’t know who is better. Both. They’re both better. As history shows, the inimitable double act kept some pretty amazing company, yet even amidst their contemporaries — Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton to name two — they became slapstick icons unto themselves, appearing in over 100 silent and sound productions and with starring roles in more than 20 full-length features from the 1920s into the mid-40s.

They incidentally met as cast members on the set of The Lucky Dog (1921)though they wouldn’t officially be recognized as ‘Laurel and Hardy’ until years later, when they signed separate contracts with producer Hal Roach and shared the screen in the silent short Putting Pants on Philip (1927). Laurel, whose average build looked childlike standing next to the 6-foot, 300-plus-pound Hardy, more often than not played the hapless friend to Hardy’s pompous buffoon and a common theme of their act revolved around simple misunderstandings, demonstrated most often in the visual but occasionally expressed in cleverly conceived dialogue — their “Tell me that again” routine being a classic example.

Rather than turning his tribute into a filmic tick list of everything notable that happened, Baird concentrates on a period much later in their careers, focusing on their urgency to stay in business well after the height of their fame. The essence of their camaraderie — by extension their career — is distilled into a familiar road trip comedy. After getting down to literal business in a key opening scene, one that depicts an unhappy Stan Laurel refusing to renew his contract with Roach (Danny Huston), the story leaps forward sixteen years and follows the aging pair as they attempt to mount a big-screen comeback, a potential spoof of Robin Hood. To that end they embark on an exhausting tour of the United Kingdom in 1953, playing to diminishing crowds in obscure and forgotten music halls*, their close relationship and even their own health becoming strained in the process.

The effectiveness of Stan & Ollie very much mirrors that of the iconic two-man show. It just wouldn’t work without the right personnel, and with the Mancunian Coogan portraying the English Laurel, and Chicago-born Reilly pulling his pants up well past the point of where a traditional waistline goes to become the American Oliver “Babe” Hardy, Baird’s film is in some very capable hands — arguably the ideal hands. Reilly, perhaps more so than his co-star, has staked much of his reputation on playing the lovable oaf his character in this movie became typecast as. Look no further than the projects he teams with Will Ferrell on. Coogan, on the other hand, is a drier wit but no less entertaining. I’m thinking immediately of Hamlet 2.

As an homage to comedy, Stan & Ollie plays out more as a Greatest Hits performance rather than offering a deep dive into the treasure trove. That level of discrepancy allows for a more streamlined narrative, and will undoubtedly disappoint some viewers who might be expecting revisits to certain famous gags. However, we do get treated to some of the classics, like the bedside manners bit from County Hospital (1932), where Laurel, in paying a visit to his bedridden friend, creates quite the ruckus, eventually stringing the large man up over his own cot by his comically oversized leg cast. Baird uses this specific gag (admittedly only the first few minutes of it) to exemplify the depth of their creative and personal bond. When we see Laurel later attempt to rehearse the same sketch with a different actor — this is at a point where the guys are taking some time away from each other —  it just doesn’t feel the same. Laurel’s unease in fact leads to the cancelling of that night’s performance — much to the chagrin of their inept tour manager, Bernard Delfont (a perfectly smarmy Rufus Jones).

Jeff Pope, on balance a formula-friendly screenwriter, also gets inventive with the way he repurposes other bits — a highlight being an inversion of their famous piano-up-the-stairs scene, wherein the duo, having grown quite tired of lugging around their massive shipping container that is their traveling wardrobe, let go of it on a public stairwell and watch it slide down two flights. Yet the writing is rarely more moving than when things start to get a little tense between them. At a party thrown in their honor in London, attended by a number of Important People as well as their respective wives — the uppity but ultimately loving Ida (Nina Arianda) and the kindhearted but helium-voiced Lucille (Shirley Henderson) — past troubles resurface and it all leads to some gentle pushing and shoving, a dynamic misinterpreted by the public as a comedic act playing out in real life. It’s certainly a low point for them, yet the moment isn’t played so seriously it fails to inspire some laughs for us.

The tone of that scene is really Stan & Ollie in a nutshell. The water is never scalding hot nor freezing cold. This isn’t a movie of extremes. Instead it’s one made with reverence, arguably to a fault. It is deathly afraid of coughing in a quiet room. All warts have been removed with an airbrush. Still, I find it hard to resist the simplicity of the tale. Their comedy is brilliantly reimagined by two skilled, modern funny men. The characters are lovable and Coogan and Reilly are relishing the opportunity to pay homage. Even if the story never strays from formula and there is never a shred of doubt over where things are going, I couldn’t help but get lost in the moment.

* this is apparently more for the purposes of demonstration in the film, as in reality the pair even during this time were selling out big venues in major cities

Recommendation: Sweet, charming and very much to the point, Stan & Ollie is a must-see for longtime fans of one of the world’s most famous comedy double-acts, as well as a “You Really Should See” for anyone bemoaning the state of the modern comedy and searching for a re-set button. Also, the film is directed by the same guy who made Filth — if you haven’t seen that one, it’s a decidedly different kind of comedy starring James McAvoy as a brute of a police officer. The difference between the two films is night-and-day. Not sure if that is so much a recommendation as it is a bit of funny trivia. 

Rated: PG

Running Time: 98 mins.

Quoted: [Hardy] “I’ll miss us when we’re gone.”

[Laurel] “So will you.”

All content originally published and the reproduction elsewhere without the expressed written consent of the blog owner is prohibited.

Photo credits: http://www.impawards.com; http://www.thewrap.com

Decades Blogathon – Stand By Me (1986)

1986

 

My apologies for a late posting today, folks. But better late than never, right? Joining in the discussion today we have Courtney from On the Screen Reviews. That site is a great one to go to if you’re looking for a variety of film reviews and yearly Top Tens. Check it out if you haven’t already, you won’t be sorry! Thanks again for helping us make this blogathon a great one Courtney, the floor is yours! 


Three Rows Back and Digital Shortbread are hosting the Decades Blogathon, a 10(ish) day event in which film critics take a look at movies from different decades. This month we’re choosing films from any decade with the year ending in ‘6’ (given that it’s now 2016), and there’s no restrictions.

For my contribution, I’ve chosen to cover the coming-of-age classic that made the train dodge a timeless pastime, Stand by Me.

You guys wanna see a dead body . . . ?

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“I was 12 going on 13 the first time I saw a dead human being. It happened in 1959, a long time ago, but only if you measure in term of years.”

With the overhaul of pre-teen movies that force your brain to regress in order to comprehend, it should be unanimously agreed that Stand by Me follows a blueprint of movie making that seems impossible to recreate. Recent movies like Super 8 attempted to capture youthful nostalgia, but didn’t dig deep enough to reach the gritty reality of adolescence. Stand by Me offers no gimmicks, no aliens, no gadgets, but raw human emotion.

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Stand by Me is a movie about four 12-year-old-boys living in a small town in Oregon around 1959 who go on a total boy adventure Labor Day weekend to find an undiscovered dead body. It’s narrated in present-day by a novelist (Richard Dreyfuss) who recalls the weekend that inspired his writing. (That old 80s computer tho! If that doesn’t resonate with you, I don’t know what will!!!)

Their weekend journey is the first taste of real life for the four boys and the last real taste of innocence; I think this is what resonates with viewers like myself the most. It eliminates the awkward introduction of girls into their lifestyle (because they haven’t reached that point in life yet), and focuses on more pertinent philosophical questions of that age like “Do you think Mighty Mouse can beat Superman?” Conversations around the campfire seem endless and pinky swears seem bound in blood.

The movie takes another risk filmmakers refuse to take today — it’s rated R! It’s unpretentious, hilarious and absolutely genuine with its plot and dialogue. Kids at the age of 12 are going to swear as much as this movie suggests, so why bleep it out? Stand by Me keeps it real, most notably with it’s script, which translates to some of the best scenes by young actors in cinematic history.

Here are some of my favorites scenes:

Teddy’s Freakout

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The movie really hones in on small town life and what it’s like to know everybody. In the junk yard scene where the crotchety man calls Teddy’s (Corey Feldman) father “a looney,” Teddy erupts, “I’m going to rip off your head and shit down your neck!” Firstly, what a creative and vulgarly descriptive insult! Teddy’s father allegedly stormed the beach at Normandy, and despite his father being total garbage to Teddy, he has the utmost respect for him. That’s commendable, and it unfolds layers of Teddy’s character that are deeper than one may anticipate. If it isn’t obvious, this movie really shows that boys have emotions too.

Kiefer Sutherland in any scene

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Kiefer Sutherland is a bona fide badass in this movie, and he’s one of the most believable assholes on screen in the 80s! It takes effort now-a-days to convince me that a character is the scum of the Earth, mostly due to poor acting or casting decisions, but Sutherland embodied every aspect of the sociopath Ace. Despite stealing every scene he’s in, the most character defining scene comes at the end where he affirms that he’s willing to kill a kid to get what he wants. Great acting and character embodiment by Sutherland. I would not fuck with him.

Train Dodge

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The train dodge scene is probably the scene most associated with the movie and one of my personal favorites. What I love about the train dodge is the giant metaphor being slammed in your face that the train is your life — it’s coming no matter what, and you damn sure better be ready for it. Not only is it one of the more hilarious, heart-pounding scenes, but it’s an affirmation that some kids can handle it and some can’t.

The Deer

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The deer scene comes as a breath of fresh air in-between dramatic scenes offering a reflection for both the character of Gordie and the audience. It showcases Gordie’s consciousness as a child in that he is in-tune with his creativity as an aspiring writer. There are also subtleties of the scene that I love — his smirk, the comic book he’s reading, the fact that no one else saw the deer and that he keeps the moment to himself . . . until now.

The Closing Scene

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“Chris did get out. He enrolled in the college-courses with me. And although it was hard, he gutted it out like he always did. He went onto college and eventually became a lawyer. Last week he entered a fast food restaurant. Just ahead of him, two men got into an argument. One of them pulled out a knife. Chris, who would always make the best peace tried to break it up. He was stabbed in the throat. He died almost instantly. Although I hadn’t seen him in more than ten years I know I’ll miss him forever.”

I think the last scene of the boys is probably one of the most relevant for the actors. The final shot of Chris Chambers (River Phoenix) walking into the distance slowly fading away is an eerie premonition of his actual fate of an overdose at the age of 23. The final scene really shows how friends grow apart in life, and that’s okay. The boys all have revelations that each is struggling with something whether it’s being bullied over weight or having an abusive parent . . . they all persevere and it shapes their characters. The character of Chris Chambers is one of my favorites, because despite coming from a crappy family situation, he had the ability to make his life better. It may sound cliche, but it shows the power of perseverance without the director making it overly showy.

This is a movie that resonates with me long after viewing and it’s really never left me.

Let me know your favorite scenes from the movie!  GIF 6


Photo credits: http://www.imdb.com 

TBT: Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

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If you’ve been following along with this segment, you might be aware I’ve spent the last several installments picking titles at random — and in a slight panic, with several of them being decided upon (or even watched) at the very last possible second — so it’ll be nice to reintroduce some semblance of consistency here again, in the form of Holiday Cheer movies. Granted, the next several posts should be fairly predictable. Let’s just say that I’ve graduated from scrambling for random film titles to scrambling to find an appropriate monthly theme. 😉 With all that said, I know this entry today revolves around Thanksgiving rather than Christmas but you know what, I’m prepared to take the flak. You want to hurt me? Go right ahead if it makes you feel any better. I’m an easy target. 

Today’s food for thought: Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

Planes Trains and Automobiles movie poster

Being victimized by public transportation services since: November 25, 1987

[Netflix]

I can’t believe I’ve only now sat down to watch for the first time Steve Martin interact with the comedic genius that was (is?) John Candy. Now the real question: is that something I should have admitted?

I suppose it doesn’t matter as I can say with Del Griffith-like confidence that John Hughes’ classic fits snugly into the brand of comedy I cherish more than any other. That’s not to say, however, that Planes, Trains and Automobiles is the kind of story you can’t find reproduced elsewhere. It’s a tried-and-true road trip adventure featuring two distinct personalities who, despite all odds, wind up growing on one another having endured several days’ worth of mishaps that border on the (amusingly) catastrophic. Replete with sight gags and punchlines that, by comparison to today’s standards, feel sophisticated and novel, Planes is of course capped off with a happy and wholly satisfying ending that epitomizes the feel-good spirit of the holiday season.

The film explores the dichotomy of the psychological effects the hectic holiday season has on people. Ignoring the isolated incidents that seem to occur on Black Friday, the day where everyone seems to take pleasure in being their worst selves, the days and weeks leading up to Christmas have potential to be some of the most stressful all year. It’s that reality that Hughes taps into using Martin, who plays an uptight and rather uncharitable marketing executive named Neal Page, and his polar opposite in Candy’s happy-go-lucky, perpetually cheerful shower curtain ring salesman Del. While it might be more comforting — beneficial, even — to assign personalities and dispositions to a spectrum ranging from very negative to positive, there’s no denying the stereotype is alive and well during the holiday shopping season.

In Planes, Neal faces one setback after another in his attempts to get back to his family for Thanksgiving dinner, starting with missing a taxi to the airport that almost causes him to miss his flight home to Chicago from New York. This is where he first bumps into Del, who would later laugh about how amusing it was that Neal tried to steal *his* cab. Wouldn’t you know it, the two end up sitting next to each other on the flight, one that ultimately ends up having to land in Wichita due to a terrible snowstorm in Chicago. Del is quick to remind Neal once on the ground that given the circumstances it will be next-to-impossible to book a hotel room anywhere, and the two end up taking a room at some seedy motel miles away, which sets up the iconic “I don’t judge you, so why do you judge me” speech.

Things only get worse from there, as Neal is faced with the prospect of continuing to travel with Del as he seems to be the only way he’s going to get out of this crummy town. They board a train that later breaks down and end up having to cram into a city bus that threatens to fall apart at any moment. Much to our amusement the quality of transit vehicles only adds to Neal’s mounting frustrations. It all culminates in a literally explosive car ride that sees the pair brought to their knees at yet another cheap-o hotel, where the question finally must be asked: “is it me, or is it just everyone else around me that’s crazy?”

Existential rumination aside, Hughes’ judgment of character development couldn’t have been more satisfying. There are so many instances throughout the course of this escapade where we think there’s no way Del can screw things up any more than they already are; there’s no way Neal can possibly be any more unpleasant than he was trying to rent a car. And yet developments belie expectations, but only to a point. There’s a wonderful scene at another rundown motel in which the pair are confronted by their own consciences. It’s not like the humbling process isn’t unexpected. Even if you’re unfamiliar with Hughes’ filmography, it should come as no surprise the slide into relative despair can’t be sustained; this is a road trip comedy after all. Yet it’s the aesthetics of the scene that really impact. There’s something about the faux-wooden interior of this particular room that resonates warmly.

In the end, Planes‘ episodic nature epitomizes the oft-exaggerated emotions and experiences of the holiday season. Whether it’s finding the ideal gift for a loved one, putting together a master shopping list for the big dinner or simply attempting to shoulder the responsibilities of throwing a seasonal party, this time of year presents stress in many forms. Hughes is keenly aware of that reality, and he has a field day with it thanks to the interplay between these comedic greats.

Planes Trains Automobiles Martin Candy Fire

Recommendation: Planes, Trains and Automobiles satisfies on many levels with its diverse and highly effective collection of comedic situations and running jokes. It’s another one of those entries that makes one sorely nostalgic for the days of quality comedy. Thanks to great turns from Steve Martin and John Candy this is a film that fans can re-watch over and again.

Rated: R

Running Time: 92 mins.

TBTrivia: Perspectives are a funny thing. John Candy and Steve Martin have both named this film as their favorite films of their own. Ask other crew members who worked on the film and they’ll describe the shoot as “hellish,” as they were obligated to drive back and forth between locations on the East Coast and the Midwest since each time they arrived at one place the snow they were hoping to find melted too quickly. According to some crew members, John Hughes was in a terrible mood for much of the process as he was enduring difficult times in his personal life.

All content originally published and the reproduction elsewhere without the expressed written consent of the blog owner is prohibited.

Photo credits: http://www.filmschoolrejects.com; http://www.haphazard-stuff.blogspot.com 

TBT: Toy Story (1995)

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Given that today is a holiday I don’t really celebrate being British and all, I figured now would be as good a time as any to go back and visit an absolute classic from the mid-90s. Upon reading up on the film I realized it is also the 20th anniversary of the release, which by all accounts made feel quite old. It’s also surprising to me that it has taken me until now to feature 

Today’s food for thought: Toy Story.

Buzz Lightyear

Toying with our emotions since: November 22, 1995

[VHS]

One of the great tragedies of life is that it always changes. Nothing stays the same. The notion of a child’s toy collection having lives of their own, getting into trouble and having adventures in clandestinity (i.e. when no human is around or paying much attention) is the epitome of creative filmmaking, but it wouldn’t be nearly as memorable without its poignant commentary on the nature of change and how people — in this case, toys — adapt to and more often than not benefit from it.

Tom Hanks’ Woody finds his little cowboy boots turned inside out when a new toy arrives in Andy’s room in the form of Tim Allen’s sophisticated, tech-savvy, Star Command-loyalist Buzz Lightyear. Worried that Andy’s attention is, at the very least, going to be henceforth split between his old buddy and a new shiny ‘play thing,’ Woody goes on the defense, making sure Andy’s room and all that it contains doesn’t make him very welcome. It’s a fruitless effort, because in a matter of minutes Buzz manages to win everyone over with his flying abilities and his voice-activated thing-a-ma-jigs.

This film, the simplest of the three, rarely leaves the confines of Andy’s room, much less the house, and when it does, the world feels massive: massively unexplored and massively intimidating. When Woody accidentally knocks Buzz out of the window and inadvertently turns the rest of the toys against him, he is chosen reluctantly by Andy as the single toy he gets to take to a family outing at Pizza Planet. Buzz soon confronts Woody about the situation, and just when their future looks as uncertain as it could possibly become, they fall into the clutches of the evil Sid when Buzz mistakes a rocket-shaped arcade game for the genuine article. Potentially damned to a life of destruction, the odd couple must resolve their differences and find a way back into the loving arms of Andy.

Yet there are issues further complicating the end game. Buzz still thinks he’s a legitimate space ranger and Woody is still hated by the rest of the toys, who believe he intentionally eliminated Buzz out of jealousy. The pair may be imprisoned, but ultimately they’re within reach of all that was once familiar — they can even communicate with the other toys through open windows — but at this point in the story the two groups may as well be on opposite sides of the planet. And not even Slinky believes Woody is a good guy anymore.

Changed environments and slowly changing perspectives force a contrived, but nonetheless effective, reconciliation between a psychologically weakened Buzz who, after a bit of plastic brainwashing, is convinced he is now Mrs. Nesbitt, and a cowboy who recognizes phrases like “Somebody’s poisoned the water hole!” indeed have a shelf life. (Of course, Woody is more concerned with the literal sense of that term, not wanting to end up on a dusty shelf for the rest of his life.)

Toy Story, the first in a long line of incredibly successful Pixar campaigns, became so influential it spawned a trilogy of adventures featuring the jealous pull-string cowboy and his former intergalactic rival. And for once, the universe within which these adventures were first created seemed spacious enough to warrant further exploration. Toy Story is one of few sagas that actually builds naturally upon what came before, satiating audiences who fell in love with the original with grander aspirations and more complex schemes that would take the toys right out of the toy chest and confront them with the harsh realities of “real world” environments. In some senses, these movies are almost too good for children. It’s like handing them a piece of German chocolate and expecting them to know the difference between that and a Hershey bar.

As a child I don’t think I ever ‘got’ what was going on in the lives of these once-fictitious toys in a larger sense; it certainly never occurred to me that there would come a day when Bo Peep, Slinky, Rex, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, the Etch-a-Sketch, the barrel of monkeys, Mr. Spell and an infantry of green plastic soldiers would be faced with an existential crisis: the proposition of being sold off to someone not named Andy. Similarly, as a child, I didn’t quite understand that life would perpetually get more difficult with each passing year and eventual decade. I always thought the bubble would never pop. In fact I couldn’t even tell I was floating in a bubble.

This animated classic set the bar for a studio that would go on to create an unprecedented run of high-quality cinematic releases but for some reason I care much less about what came after as I do about this mid-90s release. Make no mistake, though: I loved Inside Out and in all likelihood I’m going to greatly enjoy The Good Dinosaur. I skipped out on Cars, Planes, Monsters Inc., Up and Brave. In essence, Toy Story is virtually all I know about the world’s most successful animation studio. I’m scared of and don’t welcome all that easily the concept of things changing. But maybe it’s time to start embracing it.

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Recommendation: One of this blogger’s very favorite movies, Toy Story just gets things right on every level: characters, visual presentation, story, music, the comedy, and profound themes like accepting and embracing change and making new friends. As one of the very first movies I saw in theaters, I have to say I had no idea then how good this movie really was and still is. This is such a memorable experience that I love revisiting time and again.

Rated: G

Running Time: 81 mins.

TBTrivia: Jeffrey Katzenberg often gave notes that he wanted more edge. Pixar presented an early draft of the film to Disney on November 19, 1993. The result was disastrous. The film was deemed unwatchable and John Lasseter recalls simply hanging his head in shame. It presented Woody as a “sarcastic jerk” who was constantly insulting the other toys. Katzenberg took Walt Disney Feature Animation president Peter Schneider in[to] the hall after the screening and asked him why it was bad; Schneider responded that it “wasn’t theirs anymore.” Disney immediately shut down production pending a new script. The story team spent a week on a new script to make Woody a more likable character, instead of the “sarcastic jerk” he had been.

All content originally published and the reproduction elsewhere without the expressed written consent of the blog owner is prohibited.

Photo credits: http://www.pinterest.com; http://www.blogs.disney.com 

TBT: The Graduate (1967)

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For the second pick of November ’15 we’re going back to what has been referred to me time and again as a classic. A coming-of-ager to end all coming-of-age films. It’s Dustin Hoffman’s second big screen appearance, one that officially opened up the doors to a promising and diverse career, one that I am ashamed to admit I have experienced precious little of. My world has been rocked today as I have learned that 1) Dustin Hoffman, and I mean this in the most complimentary of ways, has been around much longer than I had thought he had been; and 2) I hadn’t planned this at all, but this TBT is in a way commemorative. Today marks one year since the sudden and tragic passing of the much-acclaimed director of 

Today’s food for thought: The Graduate.

'The Graduate' movie poster

Worrying about the future since: December 22, 1967

[Netflix]

An idle mind is the devil’s playground, some Philippians once decreed. Given that, I had an entire sandbox and an assortment of twisty slides to go down thinking about all of the dirty things I could be doing instead of watching this incredibly annoying movie. This character (yes, that’s right, the graduate) doesn’t do anything the entire movie but complain about upper middle-class white male privilege. “Oh no, my life is going in no direction in particular. Guess I’ll go float on a raft in the middle of my pool for the rest of the summer.”

A solid basis for a Kevin Smith movie. Let’s just watch Dustin Hoffman look really good for an hour and 40 minutes in a sun-tinged pool in some swanky house in Burbank. Or wherever the location was. I do find it kind of ironic: I have drifted for much of my post-collegiate life (because I’m no good at making actual, important decisions). I’m middle-class . . . maybe not upper-middle-class but I’ve been fortunate. Where are the cameras? Oh yeah, that’s right, I think out loud, snapping back to reality.

Two things, one probably more important than the other: 1) I’m not an attractive, young movie star and 2) I’m not an attractive, young movie star who gets his bones jumped by Anne Bancroft. See? I’m telling you, this is a movie about privilege.

The Graduate is supposed to be this whole quirky, kinky romantic thing involving Hoffman’s Ben Braddock and a family friend, the lovely but pathetically insecure Mrs. Robinson (Bancroft). The film is hardly romantic and it certainly isn’t charming. Although it does tick the quirky and kinky boxes. It all starts when she asks Ben to drive her home after a welcome home party in Ben’s honor.

Things get a bit awkward as Ben suddenly finds himself alone with her in her room as she undresses. But they won’t do the dirty here — no, they end up getting a room in a hotel where apparently all manners of trysts and assignations occur. This is where we get that iconic shot of Bancroft’s crossed legs in the foreground, with a smitten Ben Braddock lingering in the background, hands in his pockets. Perhaps if Ben weren’t such an incorrigible stiff — I mean that in the least sexual way possible — this movie would be over a heck of a lot sooner, saving me and anyone else who can’t buy into whatever charm Hoffman’s supposedly laying on in his second big screen performance from another 80-some-odd minutes of flaccid comedy.

Complications arise when Ben’s parents set him up on a date with the Robinson’s daughter, Elaine (Katharine Ross), much to Mrs. Robinson’s disapproval. She hates the thought of Ben going for someone his own age. (Yeah, what a pervert.) When Ben eventually falls in love with Elaine, following a rough first date during which he attempts to distance himself from her at the behest of her mother, all bets are off that Ben’s once quiet life will continue as normal.

Early in the film a family friend encourages the young man to live a little, to enjoy himself just for awhile before he settles down. That was actually Mr. Robinson (Murray Hamilton) who gave him that advice. Ergo, anything comical about The Graduate stems less from performances and situation as it does from our omniscient vantage point. We know everything and the poor husband knows nothing. I saw more disdain for living than pleasure in embracing life’s unpredictability. Less comedy and more pent-up sexual frustration. The Graduate is all about the latter; I’m not so sure about the former. I suppose one thing that was pretty amusing was how adamant Ben was in ensuring Mrs. Robinson he isn’t a virgin.

More mysterious than how this film has garnered such popularity is Hoffman’s awkward, wooden performance. The goal is to exude that post-graduation malaise but his delivery doesn’t seem very assured. Not to mention, being a womanizer first and a stalker second doesn’t really speak to my experience. And I doubt I’m alone. I’m also not a saint, but if The Graduate is supposed to be a commentary on that awkward ‘next step’ after college — his insufferable parents would like it very much if he attended graduate school; after all, what were those four years of undergrad for anyway? — it’s painting anyone who hasn’t had a life plan in broad strokes and in a pretty ugly color.

Setting aside thematic content, The Graduate just isn’t that creative. It assesses the budding relationship between Ben and Elaine as they continue finding common ground, while an ever envious Mrs. Robinson goes out of her way to make life exceedingly difficult for Ben. It’s another tale of home-wrecking and heartbreaking. The malleability of a young man’s happiness: if he can’t get this, then he’ll settle for that. If not that, then something else. Ben, in the latter half of the film, goes into full-on creeper mode, seeking out Elaine after a major reveal causes her to move out of her parents’ house and back to college, where she apparently is now with some other guy. And while the conclusion ends on a curiously ambiguous note, it’s not wholly unpredictable. The whole damn thing has been about indecision.

All of this ho-ing and hum-ing is set to the tune of a fairly inspired Simon & Garfunkel soundtrack, which is one of a few things I’ll take from this movie and cherish. The film is brilliantly scored. So here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson. Seems other people will love you more than you will know. Just . . . not . . . me.

Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft in 'The Graduate'

Recommendation: If you like your movies testing your every last nerve, you might try out The Graduate. Yeah, it’s an early Dustin Hoffman performance but I didn’t find it a great one. A coming of age movie with almost no wisdom to impart, I have to say I am massively underwhelmed by this thing. 

Rated: PG 

Running Time: 106 mins.

TBTrivia: In Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft’s first encounter in the hotel room, Bancroft did not know that Hoffman was going to grab her breast. Hoffman decided offscreen to do it, because it reminded him of schoolboys trying to nonchalantly grab girls’ breasts in the hall by pretending to put their jackets on. When Hoffman did it onscreen, director Mike Nichols began laughing loudly offscreen. Hoffman began to laugh as well, so rather than stop the scene, he turned away from the camera and walked to the wall. Hoffman banged his head on the wall, trying to stop laughing, and Nichols thought it was so funny, he left it in.

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Photo credits: http://www.jakenewton.wordpress.com; http://www.ngpopgun.wordpress.com

TBT: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

As we start setting our sights on the fall season, kids also have to start setting their sights on their homework and class schedules. I don’t. (Ha!) But that just means I’m of a certain age. So, in my ‘old age’ that’s not really old age but is fun to say old age because that’s just the excuse going around right now, I want to do some reflecting back on movies about school or that are about the education process. Some people might find this topic a little lame, and to those folks I say: go stick on a dunce cap and sit in the corner. 😉 My overly-confident-sounding tone is brought to you by

Today’s food for thought: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. (wink) 

Ferris Buellers Day Off

Rudely interrupting parades in a completely unconvincing fashion since: June 11, 1986

[Netflix]

Some movies might just be better left in the past. After all, memories can last a lifetime. Sadly, there’s a caveat to that, as over time memories tend to start romanticizing rather than simply recalling events and experiences. Just because they may last forever doesn’t mean they necessarily remain accurate. While I wouldn’t say my memory has failed me when it comes to John Hughes’ too-cool-for-school comedy, I kind of regret going back to this movie. What was so wrong with keeping my memory of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off the way it was?

I don’t remember this kid being such a jerk and so entitled. I don’t remember the writing being so atrocious. Of course, I recall pretty much all the mischief he and his girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara) and friend Cameron (Alan Ruck) got into over the course of a single day but Bueller’s allergy to altruistic behavior seems to be something that escaped Younger Me. Ah, Younger Me. Damn you for having things so easy. That me could just sit there and take a movie in and enjoy it. That me could appreciate a movie being just about playing hooky and nothing else. The plot’s still just as digestible and unobtrusive, built out of simple pleasures, like getting to flip the middle finger to those in authority. Now, simplicity actually draws attention to other things.

After so much time you start to realize how many scenes have been parodied past the point of recognition. You are more familiar with the parodies than the original scene(s), although this is by no means the fault of Hughes or his cast. Over time the tone of said parody has also changed. What were once reverential spoofs have become innumerable opportunities to cash in on trendiness. When Cameron’s scream echoed throughout all of Chicago, having realized how many miles they had just put on his father’s Ferrari by driving it around all day, I had to remind myself that what I was watching was the actual scene; this wasn’t a parody.

In some ways Ferris Bueller is a parody of life at the teenage level. Wanting to skip a day of school remains a timeless, fairly universal experience — I’m pretty sure I faked being sick once or twice — and the character continues to represent that part of us that wishes we had more control over the things we don’t want to deal with. In the annals of cinema history he’s a hero for his principled stand. And for pulling one over mom and dad — though this is much less impressive when he’s raised by parents only slightly more capable than Bam Margera’s. This time Hughes is nauseatingly optimistic, far more concentrated on getting as far away from the doldrums of high school where poor Ferris heretofore has had to suffer years of being generally well-liked. Woe as him.

Unlike much of Hughes’ work, Ferris Bueller is far more screwball comedy than coming-of-age. In fact it’s actually more akin to fantasy than comedy. Everything comes together so perfectly (for Ferris, not so much for poor Cameron or Jeffrey Jones’ Principal Rooney) and despite developments that threaten to derail the perfect day — losing the Ferrari temporarily to someone posing as a valet driver who takes it for a joy ride; almost getting caught on TV while at a baseball game; an extremely determined Principal Rooney hot on Ferris’ heels — there’s never any doubt that things will work out. There is very little conflict and even less consequence: we never get to hear the conversation Cameron has with his dad; never see what becomes of Ferris’ classmates rallying behind him, hoping that he makes a speedy recovery from ‘being sick;’ never get to find out why these parents are just so . . . bad at parenting.

Gee golly willickers, I find myself sharing Jeanie’s point of view now more than Ferris’. (And also my dear friend Zoe’s. Feel alone no longer, Zoe, for I too share some of your pain in watching this movie. 😉 ) Like his sister I’ve always been amazed at the things Ferris manages to get away with without being remotely apologetic. I’m not sure how I feel about comparing myself to this person because, as I’ve found, I regard Jeanie as a bit of a bitch. Of course, it’s nothing that a quick make-out session with a visibly stoned Charlie Sheen at the police station can’t cure. Maybe I, too, should have made out with him, thus allowing myself to enjoy some time off from movie watching with an embittered, overly judgmental mindset. Maybe then I would be able to still look at this creation as art instead of artifice.

Recommendation: I have confirmed this is one of those movies I enjoyed far more as a wee lad, and not so much as a jaded adult. Kind of sad, right? It’s not that I find Ferris a rather unlikable fella (I think many can agree on that point), but I remembered this movie being just a little bit more believable. John Hughes constructs such a ridiculous series of events, suggesting if you plan to skip out on school (or work) you better have other, far more elaborate plans to enact lest you completely waste that day. A movie that’s far easier (and fun) to buy into as a kid than an adult.

Rated: PG-13

Running Time: 103 mins.

TBTrivia: After working together on Weird Science (1985), John Hughes offered Bill Paxton the role of the garage attendant. Paxton turned it down because he felt the role was too small. He admits that he regrets turning it down because Hughes never offered him a role again. 

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Decades Blogathon – Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

1975

Hey all, second-to-last day in the Decades Blogathon! We can’t believe it’s already almost over, but time does fly when you’re having fun! To bring the guest reviews to a conclusion, I would like to feature Rob from the prolific MovieRob and his take on a comedy classic. Anyone who hasn’t given his site a look yet should do so after reading this great review. He’s got so much to offer. Take it away, Mr. Rob! 


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“Please! This is supposed to be a happy occasion. Let’s not bicker and argue over who killed who.” – King of Swamp Castle

Number of Times Seen – At least 10 times (cable, DVD and 11 May 2015)

Brief Synopsis – King Arthur and his trusted knights of the round table are sent on a quest by God to find the Holy Grail

My Take on it – This is quite a difficult movie to review without spoilers because there are so many classic scenes and jokes in this movie that make sure that this movie works so well.

This movie is basically an amalgam of different skits making fun of life in medieval times strung together to make a hilarious tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

This is my favorite of all of Monty Python’s movie because it is so funny and quotable and can be watched over and over again and again and I’ll never tire of the jokes.

The theme music is short and sweet and is truly the perfect companion for this medieval journey.

The best way to show you how great this movie is, would be to show you some clips of the very very funny scenes in the movie.

If you haven’t seen this movie, be forewarned that these scenes are filled with spoilers.

If you have seen this, enjoy these scenes again!!

My favorites are the Witch and the Dennis scenes even though they are all spectacular

Bottom Line – Hilarious vignettes that properly make fun of the way medieval stories are told.  My favorite MP movie of all time because it is sooo quotable and gets me laughing hysterically every time I watch it. Very catchy theme music that works so well within the framework of a medieval quest. Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – During production, the troupe became increasing irritated by the press, who seemed to always ask the same questions, such as “What will your next project be?” One day, Eric Idle flippantly answered, “Jesus Christ’s Lust For Glory”. Having discovered that this answer quickly shut up reporters, the group adopted it as their stock answer. After production completed, they did some serious thinking about it, and realized that while satirizing Christ himself was out of the question, they could create a parody of first-century life, later realized in Life of Brian (1979). (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy

Decades Blogathon – Tommy Boy (1995)

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Day six in the Decades Blogathon finds Drew of Drew Reviews Movies taking a look back at the classic ’90s road trip comedy, Tommy Boy. A personal favorite of mine. For fair and balanced film reviews and fun features like the Movie Quote of the Week, you really ought to go check out his site. Now, let me step aside and let Drew tell you why this movie belongs in the blogathon:


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Watched: 5/14/15

Released: 1995

Synopsis  

Tommy Callahan (Chris Farley) is the heir to Callahan Auto Parts who barely graduated college. When his dad (Brian Dennehy) passes away suddenly, Tommy and his father’s assistant, Richard (David Spade), go on the road to sell the company’s new brake pads and keep the business from getting bought by Zalinsky Auto Parts.

Review  

Tommy Boy may possibly be my favorite feel good film (I’m not for sure on that but it’s up there).  The story is straightforward and light, allowing you to have a ton of fun along the way.  Easily the movie’s strongest point is the chemistry between Chris Farley and David Spade.  The way they bounce off each other is spectacular.  This is evident from their first scene together.  Just about every time they are on screen together is side-splitting.  There are so many memorable lines throughout the entirety of this movie, mostly from the lead duo but everyone gets quip or two of their own.  Below is one of my favorite quotes but truth is, I had a hard time choosing just one.  From “a lot of people go to college for seven years” to “housekeeping,” it’s difficult to pick a favorite line or moment.

Most of this movie sees Farley and Spade traveling around the mid-eastern United States, which like most great road trip movies, cause some crazy shenanigans.  Thankfully, this film doesn’t follow the normal road trip trope of the leads becoming buddies, and then something happening that makes them not buddies again, then at the end they make up and are closer than ever.  Once they become friends, they stay friends, which turns into a touching moment between them towards the end.  Tommy Boy is fun, pure and simple.  At ninety minutes of run time, you’d be hard pressed to find more entertainment for your time.

Rating

4/5

Favorite Quote

Boy 1: Hey, Tub-o, you ain’t moving!

Tommy: Yeah, need a little wind here.

Boy 2: No, you need to drop a couple hundred pounds, blimp.

Tommy: [Laughs] Rascals. I guess that’s your theory.

Boy 3: Hey, your sail is limp, like your dick.

Tommy: Watch your language in front of the lady, punk! Jeez. You were saying?

Boy 1: Hey, Gilligan, did you eat the skipper?

Tommy: You better pray to the god of skinny punks that this wind doesn’t pick up! ‘Cause I’ll come over there and jam an oar up your ass!

Boys: Oooooh.

Tommy: Jeepers creepers. Those guys keep interrupting us. I’m sorry about that. You were saying about, the, um…

Boy 2: Hey, lady, look out! There’s a fat whale on your boat!

Boy 3: Yeah, free Willy.

Michelle: Listen up you little spazoids, I know where you live and I’ve seen where you sleep! I swear to everything holy that your mothers will cry when they’ve seen what I’ve done to you!

[Boys run away] I was just kidding.  I have no idea where they live.

Trailer  

Cast & Crew

Peter Segal – Director

Bonnie Turner – Writer

Terry Turner – Writer

David Newman – Composer

Chris Farley – Tommy

David Spade – Richard

Brian Dennehy – Big Tom

Bo Derek – Beverly

Rob Lowe – Paul

Julie Warner – Michelle

Dan Aykroyd – Zalinsky

Sean McCann – Frank Rittenhauer

Zach Grenier – Ted Reilly

James Blendick – Ron Gilmore

TBT: Airplane! (1980)

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We continue our silly little exploits of the film industry of yesteryear throughout this, the 2,015th January since the A.D. era officially got underway, and yes this time we are going to get good and silly indeed. I took a poll last week to see what kind of film everyone would like to see next (I didn’t really, but I totally should have — that is actually a good idea) and the results that never were proved to be overwhelming: we need a spoof. Not necessarily a brainless exercise, but something lighthearted and perhaps more palatable than the recent stuff that’s finding its way into cinemas as of late. It’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy

Today’s food for thought: Airplane!

airplane

Now landing at gate 22 . . . 23 . . . 24 . . . 25 . . . 26 since: July 2, 1980

[VHS]

Surely I can’t be serious, only now getting to write up something about one of cinema’s proudest achievements in the realm of deadpan comedies/inane spoofs . . . Well, guess what? I am serious. And don’t call me ___________ .

It looks like I picked the wrong week to nearly call it quits on the blog, as I totally forgot how many things Lloyd Bridges’ McCroskey voluntarily quit during his time as an air traffic controller — smoking, drinking, amphetamines. Sniffing glue. I mean, it’d be a tad selfish to stop this one thing I do when others are out there making far bigger sacrifices than I. Of all the sacrifices, it has to be Ted Striker (Robert Hays)’s that becomes . . . most . . . striking in this movie. He hates flying, ever since his days in the war, and yet he chooses to board a flight whose fate will be left completely up in the air thanks to a bad case of food poisoning that affects both flight crew and passengers alike. He will have to land the Boeing 707 on his own, plain and simple.

A straightforward review of this spoof simply won’t fly. Punny enough, that’s why I’m going to let the cheese do the talking this time. Here are ten quotes that the film Airplane cannot afford to leave the ground without; without these moments the comedy, you might say, would suffer from terminal unfunniness. (Okay, I’m done. . . I promise.)

Hanging Lady: Nervous?

Ted Striker: Yes.

HL: First time?

TS: No, I’ve been nervous lots of times.

 

Roger Murdock: Flight 2-0-9’er, you are cleared for take-off.

Captain Oveur: Roger!

Roger Murdock: Huh?

ATC: L.A. departure frequency, 123 point 9’er.

Oveur: Roger!

RM: Huh?

Victor Basta: Requesting vector, over.

Oveur: What?

ATC: Flight 2-0-9’er cleared for vector 324.

RM: We have clearance, Clarence.

Oveur: Roger, Roger. What’s our vector Victor?

ATC: Tower’s radio clearance, over!

Oveur: That’s Clarence Oveur, over.

ATC: Over.

Oveur: Roger!

RM: Huh?

ATC: Roger, over!

RM: What?

Oveur: Huh?

VB: Who?

 

Ted Striker: [flashing back to the bar he frequented during the war] It was a rough place — the seediest dive on the wharf. Populated with every reject and cutthroat from Bombay to Calcutta. It was worse than Detroit.

 

Jack: What’s going on? We have a right to know the truth!

Dr. Rumack: [to all passengers] All right, I’m going to level with you all. But what’s most important now is that you remain calm. There is no reason to panic. [his nose begins to grow]

Rumack: Now, it is true that one of the crew members is ill . . . slightly ill. [the nose continues to grow longer and longer]

Rumack: But the other two pilots . . . they’re just fine. They’re at the controls flying the plane . . . free to pursue a life of religious fulfillment.

 

Dr. Rumack: You’d better tell Captain we’ve got to land as soon as we can. This woman has to be gotten to a hospital.

Elaine Dickinson: A hospital? What is it?

Rumack: It’s a big building with patients, but that’s not important right now.

 

Elaine Dickinson: Ladies and gentlemen, this is your stewardess speaking. We regret any inconvenience the sudden cabin movement might have caused, this is due to periodic air pockets we encountered; there’s no reason to become alarmed, and we hope you enjoy the rest of your flight. By the way, is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?

 

Dr. Rumack: Extremely serious. It starts with a slight fever and dryness of the throat. When the virus penetrates the red blood cells, the victim becomes dizzy, begins to experience an itchy rash, then the poison goes to work on the central nervous system; severe muscle spasms followed by the inevitable drooling. [Oveur experiencing each symptom as the doctor describes them.]

Rumack: At this point, the entire digestive system collapses accompanied by uncontrollable flatulence. . . . until, finally, the poor bastard is reduced to a quivering wasted piece of jelly.

 

Steve McCroskey: Johnny, what can you make out of this? [hands him the weather report]

Johnny: This? Why, I can make a hat or a brooch, or a pterodactyl . . .

 

Ted Striker: [as the plane loses an engine] The oil pressure. I forgot to check the oil pressure! When Kramer hears about this, the shit’s going to hit the fan! [meanwhile, in the office, feces hits a fan and explodes all over the room]

 

Airport Male Announcer: The white zone is for immediate loading and unloading of passengers only. There is no stopping in the red zone.

Airport Female Announcer: The white zone is for immediate loading and unloading of passengers only. There is no stopping in the red zone.

AMA later on: The red zone is for immediate loading and unloading of passengers only. There is no stopping in the white zone.

AFA: No, the white zone is for loading of passengers and there is no stopping in a red zone.

AMA: The red zone has always been for loading and unloading of passengers. There’s never stopping in a white zone.

AFA: Don’t you tell me which zone is for loading, and which zone is for stopping!

AMA: Listen Betty, don’t start up with your white zone shit again.

AMA, later still: There’s just no stopping in a white zone.

AFA: Oh really, Vernon? Why pretend, we both know perfectly well what this is about. You want me to have an abortion.

AMA: It’s really the only sensible thing to do, if it’s done safely. Therapeutically there’s no danger involved.

airplane

4-5Recommendation: We all know this section is here because of formatting reasons. I do not need to recommend the best spoof ever to anyone. You’ve either seen Airplane or you have not. Though it may be one of my favorite creations of all time, I can see where the over-the-top silliness and perpetual pun-spinning wears out its welcome for those wanting something with a little more logic to it. But where’s the fun in being logical?

Rated: PG

Running Time: 88 mins.

TBTrivia: Crazy coincidence: three of the film’s characters who had no comedic acting experience prior to Airplane — Leslie Nielsen, Peter Graves and Barbara Billingsley — all passed away in 2010, the film’s 30th anniversary year.

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TBT: Caddyshack (1980)

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Okay, so I admit it’s not quite golf season yet. However it has been ‘good movie’ season for a couple of weeks now so I think it’s time we feature a quality comedy in this month’s batch of TBTs. And you might as well throw in the very compelling reason that this comes very close to being this blogger’s favorite comedy ever. Also, having seen Hot Tub Time Machine over Christmas I was painfully reminded of how much the film industry misses Chevy Chase as a comedian. Saw him in that thing (forgetting he was in it) and had trouble recognizing him. It’s time to scrub that image from my memory by commemorating his excellent work in

Today’s food for thought: Caddyshack. 

caddyshack

Harassing gophers and golfers alike since: July 25, 1980

[DVD]

I’m not really sure whose movie this is. The gopher’s? Carl Spackler’s? Judge Smails’? This was actually the late Harold Ramis’ directorial debut, but with the way Rodney Dangerfield takes the luxurious golf resort by storm you’d think it was his own work he felt comfortable improvising over.

A tough pill to swallow, knowing we live in an era without Ramis now and that his infectious sense of humor isn’t likely to be duplicated anytime soon. But he did leave us several great gifts behind for us to cherish, and this is certainly one of them. A zany comedy stuffed to the brim with memorable characters, strange plot developments and absurd sight gags, Caddyshack freewheels its way from one silly scene to another, incidentally weaving a timeless tale about “the snobs versus the slobs” in the process. Golf season has never been this much fun; I don’t care how great it was speculating whether it was a car accident or a neglected wife that gave Tiger those scratches on his face in 2009.

Danny (Michael O’Keefe) needs a part-time job to save up money for college. He wants to be a caddy at Bushwood. So he becomes one. He wants to impress the club owner, and he ends up sleeping with Smails’ promiscuous daughter Lacey (Cindy Morgan). (Whoops.) At the end of the day though Danny just wants to be a good person and maybe even a father, so he makes it all up to the girl he’s actually dating, Maggie (Sarah Holcomb), when he admits to her that caddying isn’t all he’s been doing around Bushwood.

While on the grounds Danny falls under the tutelage of one Ty Webb (Chase), who helps him less with his real-world concerns as he does boost his confidence. Ty is a good guy and a better golfer, who could care less about the tradition of this so-esteemed white-people-only resort. Ty is there for the booze, the babes and the. . . wait, who the eff is this new guy?!

rodney-dangerfield-in-caddyshack

Al Czervik (Dangerfield) arrives with a golf bag the size of Africa and a brand new ‘tude to awaken the crotchety, ostensibly whites-only golf club from its comatose state of stuffy traditionalism. A cantankerous, boisterous personality, Al seeks primarily to irritate everyone named Judge Smails. He accomplishes this through a series of hijinks that understandably upset the overbearing, silver-haired braggart:

  1. consistent insults, ranging from his disproval of golf attire to him hitting on Judge’s wife, implying she “must have been something before electricity.”
  2. his obnoxious presence on the golf course (party on the ninth hole, anyone?)
  3. sinking Smail’s beloved schooner during its christening
  4. claiming he’s not interested in becoming a member of Bushwood, but rather someone who’s looking at the property in terms of development for potential condominiums

But this isn’t about Judge, this isn’t about Al — hell, this isn’t even about Danny and his girlfriend who is so Irish it hurts. This story boils down to a psychological battle between a varmint and groundskeeper Carl Spackler (Bill Murray). Carl had been doing a swell job of making sure Bushwood was in as fine a form as it can be, whilst maintaining his own personal economy, which consisted of extensive supplies of weed, alcohol and self-loathing. The guy’s a hero. But that was before the gopher got inside his head. Obsessed with maintaining the grounds, Carl goes about trying to keep pests away from the greens, and by pests I do mean ridiculously bad CGI-ed gophers who scurry through underground tunnels only to resurface at another hole in time to bust out the cutest little gopher dance that you ever did see.

Caddyshack is a rather giddy and silly film. It’s also a comedy classic. Amongst the raucous set presence of outlandish comedian Rodney Dangerfield serving up ample doses of crazy in each of his scenes (a scene-stealer if there ever was one), Chevy Chase’s nonchalance as resident pro golfer — not to be believed either, which makes it even better if you ask me — and the drama that unfolds between Bill Murray and a goddamn gopher, rests a true Harold Ramis test piece. We miss you dearly, Mr. Ramis. Golf courses just haven’t been nearly as humorous since you left us.

I don’t care how fun it is to make fun of Tiger Woods ever since his little “accident” six years ago. I only wish you had written that script . . .

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4-0Recommendation: Would it be just too obvious to state that you don’t have to be a golfer to appreciate Caddyshack? Yeah, okay, maybe. Perhaps what Caddyshack should be recommended for is in how it so cleverly and effectively subverts the sport as a stuck-up culture. 

Rated: R

Running Time: 98 mins.

TBTrivia: Chevy Chase and Bill Murray could not stand one another ever since some stuff went down on Saturday Night Live back in the day. They only have one scene together in the entire film, during a scene that was scripted on the fly over a lunch one afternoon in which Ty drives a ball through Carl’s ramshackle house windows. The scene they share is perhaps one of the best in the entire film, in my eyes. 

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