Yes, everyone in Western civilization can hear the word “Caddyshack and immediately think of a few lines. But has anyone ever thought about what a strange film it is?
For one thing, it’s clear from reading the Wiki entry here — which is well-sourced with a few things available elsewhere — that the movie they envisioned on the first day of filming was nothing like the film they ended up with. Bits of that original concept exist. But Rodney Dangerfield, Chevy Chase and Bill Murray essentially took over, starting doing improv, and there you have it.
The result is almost a train wreck, a strange collection of sketches in which characters seem to be in two movies at once — one about caddies, one about a nasty conflict of snobs and slobs. They share a couple of characters but are otherwise disjointed, like the scenes in Pulp Fiction that intertwine but do little more.
The parts, thankfully, are far greater than the sum. A film about the caddies — Maggie of the wavering accent, the dude who says “Noonan,” Brian Doyle-Murray’s character — surely wouldn’t have been as well-remembered as the final product.
But the funny thing is that you have to root for the obnoxious people for any of this to succeed. In the film, you root for Dangerfield, though you wouldn’t want him behind you on an actual golf course. Behind the scenes, you’re also rooting for Dangerfield and the other comic geniuses who took over Harold Ramis’ film.
AMC often pairs this film with Blazing Saddles for some reason. Sure, they’re both packed with semi-relevant gags like a Family Guy episode (as I type, Sheriff Bart is greeting Count Basie for reasons that probably made sense to Richard Pryor when he was working on the screenplay). But Blazing Saddles is a well-crafted satire in which most of the events are related somehow.
To me, Caddyshack is a good collection of gags. Blazing Saddles is a work of art. Seriously.