Release Date: 1980
Director: Harold Ramis
Why I picked this: I need a good laugh
Well, this was disappointing. Usually found on lists of best comedies, I was surprised at how uninterested and annoyed I was while watching this movie. Almost none of the characters are likable and the plot meanders way too much. It looks like the protagonist of the film, high school student and caddy Danny, played by Michael O’Keefe, wasn’t featured in the advertising of the film, instead focusing more on the more famous actors and comedians such as Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, and Rodney Dangerfield. It’s harder to relate to Danny that it should be; he’s young and unsure what to do with the rest of his life, a theme that many an relate to; however, he has an unlikable personality and makes some bad decisions. Chevy Chase turns in a great comedic performance as golfer Ty Webb. His straight-laced delivery of his clever dialogue is wonderful, and he makes for a likable supporting character and mentor to Danny. Bill Murray sports a strange voice for his performance as aspiring greenskeeper Carl Spackler. Murray has always been a natural actor, which is well reflected in this movie. His lines sound unscripted (it could be for all I know), and he never fails to produce laughs; he makes it appear effortless. The more memorable scenes in this movie feature him. Ted Knight plays Judge Smails, the co-founder of the country club. He is very adamant in promoting moral standards, but he is irrationally angry and smarmy during most of his screen time. The most annoying character is Al Czervik, played by Rodney Dangerfield. I personally do not like Dangerfield’s stand-up, and Czervik is basically his comic persona. He is as fast-talking and obnoxious as his stand-up persona, and whenever he would enter the screen and star jibber-jabbing, I sighed and face-palmed as he went off insulting everyone occupying the same room as him. There are a few branching plot threads in this film, with none of them really going anywhere. There’s an animatronic gopher that Bill Murray must catch, Danny attempts to win over Smails for a scholarship, there’s a subplot with his girlfriend, one with another girl that he is interested, he has a rival, Webb romances a woman, and so on. As we move from one to the other, we completely forget about the rest. It’s difficult to determine what’s important in this movie. For some reason, everything converges at one golf match, and many of these threads are forgotten once the match is concluded in a silly climax. It’s also worth mentioning that the editing was pretty subpar, even compared to today’s comedies.
Bill Murray and Chevy Chase are the saving graces of an unfocused and sporadically funny comedy, featuring an unlikable protagonist and an extremely grating Rodney Dangerfield.