Welcome to the JOE-DOWN, a back-and-forth movie review blog by two snarky newspapermen named Joe from Minnesota, Joe Froemming and Joe Brown. We will take turns selecting a movie — any movie we want — and review it here. For this installment, Brown picked “Caddyshack II.”
The Movie: “Caddyshack II”
Starring: Jackie Mason, Robert Stack, Dyan Cannon
Director: Allan Arkush
Plot Summary: (From IMDB) When a crass new-money tycoon’s membership application is turned down at a snooty country club, he retaliates by buying the club and turning it into a tacky amusement park
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 4 percent
Brown: So in last week’s review, I showed my top three sports comedies of all time: “Slap Shot,” “Major League” and “Caddyshack.”
And the thing about these movies is that they had sequels.
“Major League II,” not as good as the original. But it still has its moments when you get over how they replaced Wesley Snipes with Omar Epps because racism? I dunno. Vaughn vs. Parkman is still a badass scene.
“Slap Shot 2” was direct-to-DVD and starred Stephen Baldwin. Moving on.
Then there’s “Caddyshack II,” routinely one of the most reviled sequels of all time.
And folks, it deserves all the hate that it has gathered for all these years.
It’s one thing to try and duplicate the success of an incredibly quotable classic. But try doing that when you’re handicapped by a studio begging for a movie writer Harold Ramis didn’t want to do, a PG rating, a lazy rehashing of the same story and actors who are clearly there for a paycheck.
No wonder Harold Ramis tried to get his name off this. And thank God for Bill Murray suing the producers for, of all things, reusing the gopher from the first movie (which was Bill’s idea).
While I figure out how the hell I’m going to start this review, give us your initial thoughts, Froemming.
Froemming: While this isn’t the worst sequel we have watched for the JOE-DOWN, it isn’t the best either. I guess my complaint about this movie is how (REDACTED) lazy it is. They just replaced Rodney Dangerfield with Jackie Mason, Ted Knight with Robert Stack, Bill Murray with Dan Aykroyd doing the weirdest Carl Spackler impression, took out much of the humor and replaced with PG-friendly cartoon humor and called it a day.
No wonder Chevy Chase hated every moment of filming this. Probably because everything was subpar to the original, probably including his cocaine.
Brown: Let’s be honest, though: Chevy seems like he hates filming everything. He also seems like the kind of guy who sues so I’ll try to limit my Chevy Chase bashing.
Froemming: Also, putting Robert Stack in anything gives me panic attacks from watching this sort of thing growing up:
Though I did want him to throw out a line like this:
Looks, I got some low-cost apartments to build in a rich neighborhood, Brown why don’t you get this started?
Brown: So as I saw the opening of this movie — a gopher digging tunnels through Bushwood Country Club to the tune of the music from “Jaws” — my opening notes were “I did this to myself.”
Then the gopher, which was a cute little joke/subplot from the first movie, started talking. Was Pablo Escobar an executive producer here? There is no way that idea gets passed unless you are buying and snorting cocaine from anything less than a kingpin.
There’s also some comments from club members about seeing girls playing golf. (REDACTED) ‘80s. Yes, women can play golf. They can play it well. They have their own tour. It’s great.
And we see a young caddy named Harry (our Danny Noonan fill-in) running through the course to go fetch a root beer for one of the WASP golfers, Miffy, to the tune of Kenny Loggins because apparently he needed money, too.
Froemming: “Caddyshack II: We’re In It For The Money.”
Brown: “Caddyshack II: Hey, Drugs Aren’t Cheap.”
And the caddy running is an ENTIRE Kenny Loggins song. Like, music video length.
God, this movie sucks.
Froemming: I will say I had a few laughs in this movie. Two laughs. In an hour-and-40-minute comedy. That’s not a good sign.
Now, we get the gist right away: Rich snobby elitists run the club, and their children are just as awful as them.
Brown: With that dynamic, you could make a modern-day version of this movie better. How, you ask? Use the Saperstein family from “Parks and Rec.” I’d like this movie better if the WASP brother and sister were Jean-Ralphio and Mona-Lisa.
Froemming: That dynamic was the basis of almost every movie in the 1980s. I’d be happy if I never saw it again.
Then we meet Jack Hartounian, an East Coast businessman who is eccentric. We know this because he dresses like a psychotic clown high on cocaine at Studio 54.
Brown: Cesar Romero’s Joker was more subtle than Jack Hartounian. He is seriously dressed like Wario in his opening scene.
Froemming: But as he is building affordable housing for the working class (this premise seems like a Springsteen song when I actually type it out), the city’s historical society claim the area he is building on is, in fact, historic. There is nothing there, they just don’t want poors like Brown and I moving in. Plus, we are the Enemy of the People according to the president.
Ramis’ movies seem to have a weird anti-government vibe. Weird in that he goes after odd agencies. Here it is the historical society, which is very loosely associated with government. In “Ghostbusters.” it was the Environmental Protection Agency. He must have been denied building a house on historic land and fined for using deadly chemicals in his attempt as well.
Brown: If he were alive, Ramis would be hoping Reaganomics was making a comeback.
Froemming: In the protest of building this complex for the workin’ man, with his workin’ plans (begins to strum guitar), Cynthia Young and her upper crust elitist good-time buddies try to prevent the construction, only to get thwarted when Jack encourages a bulldozer to run her over.
Jack is not wrong here. Well, he is, he tries to murder that woman. But he could always use the Happy Gilmore defense:
Brown: OK, I should like Jack. He wears wacky (REDACTED). He takes golf as a joke. He is a millionaire that actually is looking to help the everyday person and not people who are Bernie Sanders’ Nyquil nightmares.
But I can’t. Because Jackie Mason, bless his heart, has to try and out-Rodney Dangerfield Rodney Dangerfield and it doesn’t work. At all.
Jackie Mason is funny. Hell, he’s the father of Krusty the Clown.
But Rodney was so good in the original, and that character was Rodney being Rodney. This is Jackie trying to Rodney, so it feels like a cheap knockoff.
Froemming: It is not only sequel baggage, this was originally written for Dangerfield, which doesn’t help. Mason is hilarious, and I know that might sounds strange coming from two guys in their 30s who were not really around during his prime (I think my grandpa was?), but he is a legend.
This now makes me feel sad for old Jackie.
Anywhoo, because we need a reason to get this crazed man into Bushwood, we meet his daughter Kate, who Jerry Seinfeld once pointed out, laughs like Elmer Fudd sitting on a juicer. Kate is dating a guy who I think is one of the businessmen from “American Psycho” during the business card scene named Todd, who fires the caddies because of technology or whatever. So, I guess The Boss should write a song for him too.
Kate wants her dad to join the club and rub shoulders with the makers and shakers of whatever the hell this city/area is.
Brown: Know what I would have appreciated? Besides, you know, this movie never being made? If the movie made any mention of how much they had to spend to get Bushwood up and running again after Carl Spackler blew it the (REDACTED) up in the climax of the first movie.
It would at least give the club members some reason to keep someone like Jack out of the club besides building low-income housing to let low-income people … you know what, I’m ending the subtext here: Bushwood wants black people to stay away from their course. Also, at the end of the movie, the club is anti-semetic when Miffy makes the suggestion that Kate, Jack’s daughter, shorten her name from Hartounian to Hart.
Froemming: Was this the time Trump thought America was great?
Brown: I put in my notes that “Caddyshack II” should be called “Mar-A-Lago: The Movie.”
So Jack applies to join Bushwood because he wants to do his daughter a solid. And who do we see in the club? Ty Webb (Chase), the charmer from the first movie. And honestly, it looks like Chevy is holding himself up with the pool table he’s at. It seemed like an actor’s choice to be at that table, like “I’m so (REDACTED) high right now. I’m doing all my lines from the pool table. And I do mean ALL my lines.”
He also does the NA-NA-NA-NA-NA-NA bit from the original and I got “Arthur” angry every time he does it in this movie. And he does it a lot because “Caddyshack II” wants to destroy everyone’s nostalgia for the original.
It turns out that while Ty is the club’s majority owner, he stays out of the club’s day-to-day affairs. Because that would mean Chevy would have to learn more of the script.
Froemming: Chase was just Streets Ahead with hating this sequel, Brown.
Brown: Jack also joins a foursome to see if he’s Bushwood material and gets parterened with club president Chandler Young (Stack) and his wife, who just so happens to be the woman Jack nearly mowed over with a bulldozer.
Froemming: Chandler tries to be diplomatic here with his wife and the man who tried to murder her with heavy machinery. One the one hand, Jackie is rich.
There is no other hand with country clubs.
But we see things go awry when Jackie *checks notes* uses weird, space age technology to do the golfing for him.
It was at this moment I wanted the movie to just end, or for a burglar to break into my house and murder me to death.
Brown: Speaking of murder, the driver that Jack uses, it seemed to work the same way Anton Anton Chigurh’s cattle gun worked in “No Country for Old Men.”
Perhaps that’s how you could have been murdered.
Froemming: To break a deal that makes everyone happy, Chandler pretty much offers a membership in exchange of Jackie stopping his apartment complex from being built.The two will defer that to the lawyers, and I never thought I would ever say this in my entire life, but here we go: Randy Quaid is the best part of this movie.
Brown: How was THIS not the movie where everyone realized “My God, Randy Quaid is a crazy person?” I know he’s the guy that saved America about 10 years later but MY GOD!
Froemming: I said that about every movie I have seen with him in it.
Brown: I’d give Quaid credit for just going for it in this movie but recent history seems to suggest that he’s not acting in this. His character may be the most unhinged character in JOE-DOWN history since Nic Cage’s Eddie in “Deadfall.”
Froemming: Are you denying the existence of the Star Whackers?
Brown: Yes. Yes I am.
Froemming: Well, here is some video evidence I found!
Anyway, Peter Blunt (Quaid) scares the bejesus out of the historical society folks, maybe because he threatened to break into their homes, bash them with bats and beat their dogs, I dunno, maybe?
Well, this causes problems, and during an auction where the rich people put themselves up for sale like slaves (seriously, (REDACTED) you 1980s), Chandler informs Jackie to maybe not visit the club for a while.
Brown: They LITERALLY use the term “slave auction!” I’m surprised instead of raising hands to make bids, they didn’t use white hoods, burning crosses or MAGA hats.
In perhaps the only time I laughed at this movie, Jack spitefully buys every club member at the auction and forces them to work a day at the low-income housing construction site. I enjoyed that scene as a poor person living in a studio apartment. But all this does is bruise the ego of rich people, who will try at nothing to embarrass Jack. And it causes a rift between Jack and Katie, since Katie wants to make friends and be accepted into Bushwood only to see her father’s pride cost them a membership.
Movie, you didn’t earn any heart-tugging moments. Don’t try that (REDACTED) here. You’re a movie that got a gopher drunk.
Froemming: The elites now do what they do best: Pull strings with their peers and put the brakes on the construction project, which honestly seemed like this would have been the way to go about it in the first place instead of pissing off an eccentric millionaire with nothing to lose beyond his shiny tuxedo.
This results in Jackie deciding he will just buy the club. Out of spite. I get it, Jackie, I get it. If I had the cash, I’d probably do the same thing. You don’t want to get on my bad side.
Brown: Yes, Jack buys Ty’s shares. Which brings me to another thing I loathed in this movie: Making Ty uncool.
See, the original made him an fast-talking eccentric who seemed to love golf but hated the people he had to associate with. He was slick. He was charming. Hell, he was funny.
In “Caddyshack II,” their idea of eccentric is a man who buys odd things with his trust fund, like a basketball court or knight’s armor. They turned Ty from charming to childish. That kind of idea works in a movie like “Big,” which has an actual child transformed into a man.
God, this was the tail end of Chevy’s peak. A year after this came out, he was in “Christmas Vacation” for crying out loud!
I need some sense and order to come back into this review.
Froemming: Sense? Order? This movie?
Anyway, Ty sells his shares to Jackie because he has no idea what is going on. To be fair, neither do we, because this movie is (REDACTED) stupid. So, Jacky lets the snobs know he owns the joint now, and he makes some changes.
He turns Bushwood into an amusement park called Jack’s Wild Whacky Golf. Again, out of pure spite, which is the only thing about any of this I liked.
Brown: At this point, I wrote in my notes “Good god, someone thought this was a good idea. Not just Jack’s Wild Wacky Golf, this entire movie.”
And when we say amusement park, it’s not like a nice park like Disneyland or Six Flags. We’re talking eerie county fair amusement park.
It’s here, though, that I get my second laugh of the movie. To get revenge on the douche canoe that is Todd, Harry turns the water off on the waterslide as Todd goes down, burning his skin in the process. That prank is incredibly mean but as a broke person, watching WASPs get their comeuppance is always a good time. Unless you’re watching all of “Caddyshack II.”
Froemming: This was done much better in “It’s Always Sunny.”
So now we get a bunch of nonsense that includes Chandler hiring Captain Tom Everett (Aykroyd) to kill Jackie? And to squash the ongoing war, they will golf against one another with a partner. At this point, only caffeine and a tiny will to finish got me through the film. I think we saw more of this movie than Chevy Chase ever did, and that doesn’t seem fair.
Brown: I can’t even begin to describe what the hell Aykroyd is doing here. Yes, he’s being this movie’s Carl Spackler in being a sawed-off vet. But this performance is so off the rails the train caught on fire and crushed and burned millions in its way to causing more collateral damage than Superman and Zod in “Man of Steel” or the heroes in “Furious 7.”
Froemming: This movie was fueled by cocaine, hubris and egos, but someone should have sat Aykroyd aside and told him to knock it off with the voice.
Brown: He’s pretty much doing the Matt Foley voice, which in writing I’ve insulted the late Chris Farley by making a comparison to his hilarious character to something so not funny.
Froemming: Even later on, when Everett meets Ty and asks him to suck poison out of his butt, Chase looks genuinely disturbed by Aykroyd. I don’t blame him. I felt disturbed too.
Let’s get to the game, because I want to end this madness and we haven’t even got to the gopher really, which talks and burps and whatever. In the first film, it was a fun aside, here it is just grating. I want to sue Bill Murray for creating this thing.
So we have our doubles: Harry and Jackie vs. Chandler and Todd. Jackie had some training in some scenes earlier with Chase. They were not funny. They were stupid. I hate this movie the more I think about it.
So they hit the links and it is still in the amusement park style that Jackie had set up. Why. Why would anyone risking tons of money and ego play on a course that looks like it was designed by someone tripping on acid while watching “Happy Gilmore?”
Dear Robert Stack, the only unsolved mystery that chills me to my core is the one about you agreeing to be in this movie.
Brown: Don’t worry. Robert Stack was good in a sports comedy a decade later with his bit role in “BASEketball.”
So after falling behind early, Jack and Harry forge an amazing comeback (that we don’t really see on screen) to make the 18th hole a do-or-die for both teams.
Chandler hits an amazing approach shot that puts him mere feet away from the hole while Jackie is 50 feet away. Jackie HAS to sink the putt in order to force the match to continue. And naturally, he does Ty’s NA-NA-NA-NA-NA-NA bit and his putt somehow goes in.
This is how I felt hearing that bit yelled again.
Froemming: Thanks for reminding me of another (REDACTED) movie I have seen.
Brown: So, Chandler needs to sink his gimme to force a playoff hole. His family’s advice is literally taken from Chubbs Peterson.
And because this movie doesn’t have an original bone in its body, we get the literal end from the original “Caddyshack” with a massive explosion. See, the gopher stole an explosive ball from Everett and replaced Chandler’s ball with the explosive. And when Chandler taps the ball, it blows up.
Somehow, both Chandler and the gopher survive this.
Jack and Harry win! And Kate is still embarrassed by her dad but loves him again after he disowned her days before for wanting to join Bushwood (yeah, we skimmed over that. I don’t care).
Why does Kate embrace her dad? Because Miffy, who wants Kate to join her sorority, suggests that Kate make her last name less Jewish. After Kate turned her back to her, I’m sure Miffy wants Kate to return to whatever country she came from.
Wow. What a (REDACTED) sandwich. Let’s go to recommendations before a gopher replaces our keyboards with explosives.
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND?
Brown: I want this movie scrubbed from existence. This is a top five worst movie we’ve reviewed.
Froemming: Nope. This, this was not good. I fear what Netflix suggestions I will now get for having watched it.