Archive for the ‘Beno Rants’ Category

Beno Rant #1

In Beno Rants on April 17, 2009 at 2:35 am

       Among several suggestions for gag-me moments in movies is “any line from “Caddyshack II.” A dear friend made this suggestion. He happens to be a connoisseur of the trivial and mundane, but I am somewhat fond of him anyhow. Despite our friendship, however, I cannot in good conscience post his suggestion in any list I may compile of gag-me moments in cinema. While I concur that “Caddyshack II” is an abysmal train-wreck of a movie, about as amusing as genocide in any take-your-pick of a civil-war-torn African country, I refuse to endorse in any way the implication that this miserable sequel is in any way inferior to the original.

     I know, I know – there are legions of devoted fans who regard “Caddyshack” as one of the funniest movies of all time. Luminaries such as David Feherty, who devoted an entire column in Golf Digest to celebrating the movie’s twenty-fifth birthday, become incoherent blobs of goo at the mere mention of the movie’s name.

     I, on the other hand, find it completely unwatchable. It leaves me cold. I would rather watch the slaughter of newborn lambs than even a minute of “Caddyshack.” There is not a scene, not a line of dialog, not a moment of acting in the entire movie even threatens to curl the corners of my mouth into a smile, much less provoke a snicker, grin, chortle or guffaw. It does not amuse. It is a bottom-feeder. It eats garbage. It wears sideburns and a beret.

     What is there to like about “Caddyshack” besides the fact that its is as painful as a root canal – not the first root canal, but the second on the same tooth, after the first one didn’t take? Let’s start with the stars of the movie, with the only star that even vaguely resembles a recognizable life form being the gopher that tunnels under the golf course. This ridiculous gopher – not exactly a wonder, but more of a curiosity of puppetry, possibly a prize for tossing darts at limp balloons at the Transylvania County Fair, Tractor Pull and Bride Roping Contest – happens to give the best performance in the movie.

     Things only roll downhill with Chevy Chase, who plays, well, Chevy Chase! ‘Nuff said! I suppose he briefly had a good gig on Saturday Night Life when he played Gerald Ford falling down, but since then, his movie career has been something to read about on gas station bathroom walls. Expect Chevy soon to gain about 70 pounds, adopt a mush-mouth approach to speaking his lines, and take the Mickey O’Rourke road to resurrecting a career by playing some old has-been trying to reconnect with lost family and make one last paycheck: perhaps an insurance salesman selling a really big life insurance policy, or a meter reader reading two days worth of meters in one day, or a CPA managing to make sense of Bernie Maddoff’s books……….do I see an Oscar in the future or entire preview audiences dying of sheer boredom?

     Then comes Ted Knight, known only for playing Ted Baxter, a whining, insipid, cartoon of a character on the “Mary Tyler Moore Show,” which was tolerable only because he was on MTM. In “Caddyshack,” he plays the same character, except as a judge instead of a newscaster – onliest problem is he’s not on MTM any more. Frankly, the filmmakers could have saved money by moving a cardboard cutout around and alternating a shrill buzz saw and an intestinal disposal for dialog.

     And, what can you say about Rodney Dangerfield, the funniest stand-up comedian who ever lived? Let’s be charitable. Let’s say that Rodney is to movie acting what Christopher Reeve was to ballroom dancing – they should never appear together in the same sentence.

     Bill Murray, who still could not command star billing when this disaster was filmed, has proved over the years that he has good dramatic and comedic chops. However, he displays his talents in other movies. In this sick corpse of celluloid, he merely punched the clock and collected his pay. Howard Sprague on the old “Andy Griffith” show displayed ten times as much energy as Murray did in sleep-walking through this somnolent epic.

     As for Harold Ramis, who wrote and directed this steaming septic tank of a movie, and actually has some genuine credits to his name, well, I have long since given up on trying to figure out how he managed to excrete this offal movie. All I can say is that on seven different occasions since first being exposed to this bit of toxic cinema, I have wakened suddenly in the middle of a recurring nightmare to find myself standing in my closet with a loaded shotgun, muttering, “He must pay for ‘Caddyshack,’ he must pay for it.” I don’t know about the rest of ya’ll, but a movie that comes within a few midnight moments of turning me into a homicidal maniac is not the sort of flick of which I feel particularly fond.