It’s too bad Bogie never starred in one
By BILL BROTHERTON
For those of us itching to hit the links, the wind, rain and snow of early March frustrated us to no end.
One day, after breaking my back shoveling about eight inches of the heavy, wet stuff I nursed a Green Head IPA,settled into my cozy chair and binge-watched a batch of golf-themed movies. There are more of them than you’d think.
“Caddyshack” has always been one of my favorites, and has been since it came out in 1980. It’s still hilarious. Even funnier is the Three Stooges’ short “Three Little Beers,” a 1938 howler that finds Moe, Larry and Curly creating mayhem at an exclusive country club and nearly destroying the course, cutting down trees, damaging greens and doing their laundry in a ball-washer. Kudos, too, to a series of amusing instructional/slapstick comedy shorts by the legendary Bobby Jones; W.C. Fields is even in one episode!
After 10 hours of viewing, I’d decided “Caddyshack” had slipped to No. 3 on my favorites list. Putting on both my Siskel and Ebert hats, here is my ranking of
1. “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” 2005, starring Shia LaBeouf, Elias Koteas,
A true underdog story of young amateur Francis Ouimet’s (LaBeouf) unlikely 1913 U.S. Open victory against renowned Brit Harry Vardon (Dillane) at The Country Club in Brookline. Lots of golf action, with a riveting undercurrent of class
prejudices and lack of support from Ouimet’s father. And
you’ll want to go to Google to see if Ouimet and Sarah
eventually married. Even though you know how this ends, it’s terrific entertainment.
2. “Tin Cup,” 1996, starring Kevin Costner,
Rene Russo, Don Johnson, Cheech Marin.
Lovable underdog Roy “Tin Cup” McAvoy (Costner), a train wreck of a human being and failed golfer, qualifies for the U.S. Open, where he competes against his arch nemesis Sims (Johnson) and competes for the affection of Sims’ girlfriend (Russo). A winning romantic comedy with lots of golf and
inside humor. Plus you’ll love the way she waggles it!
3. “Caddyshack,” 1980, starring Chevy Chase,
Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Murray, Ted Knight.
A classic National Lampoon comedy that evokes laughs no matter how many times you’ve seen it. Dangerfield is a riot and Knight is spectacularly insufferable, but they and “SNL”
stars Chase and Murray are upstaged by a gopher. “Whoa. Did somebody step on a duck?”
1. “Happy Gilmore,” 1998, starring Adam Sandler, Christopher McDonald, Julie Bowen with
memorable contributions by Bob “The Price is Right” Barker and Richard “Mr. Larson” Kiel.
First off, I detest Adam Sandler. His shtick is annoying as hell. But this comedy is priceless, equal parts “Caddyshack” and “Slap Shot.” The sight gags are sublime and the
one-liners are hysterical. The stuffy pro tour could use more lovable Happy Gilmores and fewer jerkward Shooter McGavins.
2. “Pat and Mike,” 1952, starring Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Aldo Ray.Technically, not a golf movie. But there’s a glorious pivotal scene featuring Babe Didrikson Zaharias,
Hepburn’s Pat Pemberton and other women golfers on the course. One of Tracy-Hepburn’s best films, the chemistry between the stars is undeniable.
3. “Dorf on Golf,” 1987, Tim Conway,
Maybe the Green Head IPAs were talking, but this is silly, stupid, dopey, dumb foolishness. I laughed like an idiot at the antics of Conway’s diminutive golfer and clueless caddie Schiavelli.
ABLE TO MAKE THE CUT
1. “Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius,” 2004, starring Jim Caviezel (The guy from
“Person of Interest”), Claire Forlani, Jeremy Northam.
2. “Dead Solid Perfect,” 1988, starring Randy Quaid, Kathryn Harrold, Jack Warden.
3. “Donald’s Golf Game” and “The Honeymooners” “Hello, ball” episode.
FAILED TO MAKE THE CUT
1. “A Gentleman’s Game,” 2000, starring Mason Gamble, Gary Sinise, Philip Baker Hall.
2. “The Caddy,” 1953, starring Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis (despise him more
than Sandler; and the movie’s a dud), Donna Reed.
3. “The Squeeze,” 2015, starring Katherine LaNasa, Michael Nouri, Jeremy Sumpter
1. “The Legend of Bagger Vance,” 2000, starring Matt Damon, Will Smith, Charlize Theron.New-age mush. An embarrassment. The outfits are great though.
Bill Brotherton is editor of North Shore Golf magazine. Let him know which of these are on your must-watch list or if there’s a film he missed; email (bbrotherton@essexmediagroup.
com) or comment on North Shore Golf magazine’s Facebook page. Results of this informal poll will be
reported in our Summer edition.