An offbeat look at two slapstick legends
Frankly, it’s kinda difficult to put them in a real match up. One has to be considered a flat out comedy, Caddyshack. Whereas Tin Cup probably falls in the “dramedy” category. In the pantheon of funny golf movies, though, these two have to rank on or near the top. Personally, they’re one-two for me. But in what order? So without further uhhh-do….
The brass tacks
- Released : 1980
- Director : Harold Ramis
- Featured cast : Michael O’Keefe, Chevy Chase, Ted Knight, Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Murray
Director- in a late round TKO, the decision goes to…..
Harold Ramis, ladies and gentleman. Proving no slouch, Ron Shelton has given us perhaps the greatest baseball comedy of all time, Bull Durham. But for sheer body of work, it’s Ramis. Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, and National Lampoon’s Vacation to name just a few. A few of his writing credits include Animal House AND Stripes. Yep, Ramis gets the nod here.
*warning- spoiler alert*
Danny Noonan (Michael O’Keefe) vs. Roy “Tin Cup” McAvoy (Costner)
Of course, Costner is a household name. O’Keefe, not so much. Not to mention O’Keefe was lumped in with some of the greatest comedic talents of all time. Murray, Rodney, Ted Knight, Chevy…..he was up against it from the onset sharing the screen with these legends. He did acquit himself nicely, though. Quite convincing as ambitious caddy Danny Noonan. Not to mention he sparked a saying that is still uttered on putting greens today. How many of you have let out a “Noonan….mmmisss it! Noonan!” over the years? But, the decision has to go to Costner here. His Roy McAvoy was the type of lovable loser we could all get behind. We wanted him to win and get the girl. Playing the broken down driving range pro was a role tailor made for him. That being said, I’d take Noonan over McAvoy as a partner. O’Keefe had one damn fine golf swing. Not to mention he made that clutch putt to win the “Bushwood Caddy Invitational” (under duress) . McAvoy “only” made the greatest 12 in US Open history.
David Simms (Don Johnson) vs. Judge Elihu Smails (Ted Knight)
While Johnson did a convincing job playing the smarmy touring pro Simms, Knight absolutely crushed it as the elitist snob Judge Smails. He embodied the upper-crust persona of a Bushwood Country Club member. Who can forget such classic lines as “you’ll get nothing and like it!,” “Gaaammmbling is illegal at Bushwood, and I never slice,” “the world needs ditch diggers too, Danny” and, “you want a Fresca?” to cite just a few. Knight takes this one in a runaway. His character’s name alone elicits laughter. Sadly, Mr. Knight passed in 1986.
Winner- Ted Knight
Dr. Molly Griswold (Rene Russo) vs. Lacey Underall (Cindy Morgan)
Poor Danny Noonan (O’Keefe) actually has two love interests in Caddyshack, Lacy Underall (great vixen name) and the homely waitress/maid Maggie O’ Hooligan (Sarah Holcombe). But for our purposes, we’ll stick with Lacey as she garners far more attention in the film. Sultry and seductive, she basically plays Noonan for a chump. And turns a lot of heads in the process. Not to be outdone is Russo as Dr. Molly Griswold, a ditzy psychologist/failed real estate agent. Cindy Morgan’s career didn’t really flourish after Caddyshack, her other notable role coming in Tron (1982). Russo, on the other hand, has become quite famous, perhaps even an A-lister. Very convincing as McAvoy’s (Costner) love interest. Not very fair, as Morgan’s role was not too major. In a close one, this goes to Russo.
Winner- Renee Russo
Ty Webb (Chevy Chase) vs. Romeo Posar (Cheech Marin)
Noonan’s confidante/mentor in Caddyshack is Ty Webb (Chase). He’s the affluent ne’er do well type that also happens to be a terrific golfer. No one will ever forget the putting scene with the famous “nnnnnuhh nnnnuhhh nnnnuhhh”(spelling??) as Webb continues to sink putt after improbable putt. And one of the most famous admonishments in all of golf……”be the ball, Danny”. Romeo (Cheech Marin) offers a very funny take on the role as caddie to McAvoy. Part guidance counselor, part witch doctor, Marin succeeds. Some of his better lines have to be “it’s not a hot tub, it’s a spa” when responding to the condescending David Simms (Johnson). And a personal favorite , when Tin Cup is shanking it on the practice tee at the US Open ” shootin’ those chili peppers up Lee Janzen’s ass!” Alas, I suppose we need a winner. In another tight finish, it’s Chase. Ty Webb’s sayings will be spoken as long as people keep playing golf.
Tin Cup– Earl (Dennis Burkley), Clint (Lou Myers), Doreen (Linda Hart), Dewey (Rex Linn), Gary McCord, and a host of well-known PGA touring pros playing themselves vs. Caddyshack– Al Czervik (Rodney Dangerfield), Carl Spackler ( Bill Murray) , Spaulding Smails (John F. Barmon, Jr.) and The Gopher ( Gopher!) along with a host of others
Note the asterisk by supporting cast. To say that Murray and Dangerfield were supporting cast in Caddyshack could certainly be misleading. Either of them could easily be considered the star of the film. However, their roles would have to be considered “supporting”. They literally stole the show in many scenes. Al Czervic (Dangerfield) is the loud, overbearing tycoon type that is just getting acquainted with country club life at Bushwood. He leaves a laughable path of destruction wherever he goes. Possibly one of Rodney’s most famous roles. Carl Spackler (Murray) is the slightly “off” groundskeeper at Bushwood. Murray has a plethora of outstanding roles throughout his career, but his Carl Spackler will never be forgotten. Their quotable lines will live in golf lore eternally. There are literally so many that I’d be kidding myself if I thought I could list them all. Instead, just a little sample below :
The supporting cast of Tin Cup performed admirably. Particularly entertaining was when McAvoy’s crew were watching him give Dr. Griswold (Russo) her first lesson. As an added bonus, my favorite announcer McCord has a timely cameo. But really, this entire category is not even fair, or close. I suppose Caddyshack is more of an ensemble, but I’ve never been “inside the actors studio” to say for certain. Either way, it’s the Caddyshack supporting cast, by a margin longer than US Open rough.
Winner- Caddyshack supporting cast
And the Oscar goes to
Neither! I know, I’m as shocked as everyone else. These are two hilarious movies, classics never to be forgotten. Really tough to pick a clear cut winner. One can easily make strong arguments for both films. But since this is a “versus”…..Caddyshack comes out on top for me by the narrowest of margins. Too many stars, too many quotable lines. I recommend not only seeing these films but owning a copy of each. As always, thoughts and comments are welcomed here at Comical Golfer. Which one is your favorite?
Tin Cup and Caddyshack information retrieved from International Movie Database, IMDB
Thanks for reading!