Shiny cars, bodyguards, red carpet, and silicone-injected starlets (who wouldn't know a bogey from a booger) prancing around in $10,000 gowns. Ah yes, it's the Academy Awards. A gala affair. Hollywood's biggest night of the year. I'm not sure how you feel about the issue, but as a diligent, hard working (okay, that's probably pushing it) member of the golfing industry I sometimes feel that golf movies don't get their due.
Take Caddyshack for example. I'm still in shock that everyone involved didn't win some award for that tear-jerking, sweeping epic. They could have even created some special categories - Rodney Dangerfield (best dressed), Chevy Chase (best massage), and Bill Murray (pictured) best turf 'grass' management.
At any rate, I'm somewhat disappointed by the fact that a golf movie has never won an Academy Award. Of course, Hollywood scriptwriters could have altered history if they had had a passion for golf. For example, here's a list of a number of movies that could have turned out quite a bit differently - and still would have won Academy Awards - had the directors, writers, producers and so on. had their priorities straight.
1) How Green Was My Golf Course - As seen through the eyes of an old greens superintendent, this warm, moving film depicts a Welsh man's love of growing bent grass and raking beautifully sculpted sand traps [Er, I think that's 'bunkers', Ed] amid his unspoiled Alister Mackenzie golf course.
2) The Sound Of Persimmon - Set in the Alps just before the end of World War II, an Austrian military man and his children's nanny find comfort in roaming the hills and pounding the dimples off their gutta-percha golf balls. The blood-filled final scene depicts the children beating the ever-loving facism out of the Germans with their hickory shafted niblicks.
3) Around The Course In 80 Strokes - An Englishman takes on a bet that he can play Carnoustie in under 80 strokes. Most of the fun in this film comes from numerous cameos from some of the games most prominent players, including one of Seve Ballesteros getting up and down out of the ball washer.
4) Gone With The Swing - A lady who won't take no for an answer falls in love with a man whose desire for her is dependent on the state of his golf game. In the end, after much suffering, war, and heartache, he says a very bad word and takes off to meet the boys at the golf course.
5) One Flew Over The Caddyshack - Jack Nicholson stars in this gut wrenching tale of a hacker's quest to stay sane while being tormented by the female greens keeper's unplayable pin positions. He eventually accosts her on a Los Angeles freeway and exacts retribution with a 3-iron.
6) The Beer Hunter - Robert DeNiro and Meryl Streep star in this sad story telling how a Vietnam veteran resorts to senseless competitions in which he must defeat his golfing opponent in a beer drinking challenge. A buddy tries to rescue him but is a little too late as his liver explodes during a last ditch effort to save him from self-destruction.
1) Driving Big Bertha - Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman star in this beautiful story of how an elderly woman lives her life largely unaware of just how much her Big Bertha driver is helping her emotionally troubled life.
2) Stand Behind Me - A touching tale of a group of junior golfers who go on a golfing safari. One of the boys, in fear that he'll tattoo another member in the foursome, insists that the others always take cover or, at the very least, stand behind him as he plays a shot.
3) Dead Man Hacking - A stirring performance by Sean Penn who plays a distraught hacker living out his last few days. A non-golfing nun, played by Susan Sarandon, tries to bring peace and redemption to his troubled soul but in the end realises that he has hit one too many shanks to be cured.
4) Apollo 18 - Tom Hanks and Pete Dye star in this Sci-fi drama which depicts NASA's stunning decision to send golf course architect Pete Dye (played by himself) to Mars to design 18 championship holes of golf. In a shocking climax scene, Pete discovers that the gravity on Mars is similar to that of the moon and his course has been rendered obsolete even before opening.
5) Crouching Caddie, Hidden Hazard - Sensational special effects accompany a dramatic saga that focuses on a caddy who holds special powers. One of the best scenes of the movie takes place when two caddies wage battle while flying through the trees above Winged Foot's famed West Course.
6) Fargo CC - A disgruntled member of the Fargo CC decides he needs his low-handicap wife murdered. Things become unraveled when one of the hired killers turns on the other and tries to stuff him through the range ball washer.
Of course, things wouldn't be complete without a couple of horror flicks.
1) I Know What You Shot Last Summer - A bunch of 'hotties' star in this sordid tale of how a university student records a horrific round of 117 with a 12 handicap. Much bloodshed follows, including a scene in a back shop where a guy gets 'hooked' by a wedge with an overly sharpened flange.
2) Chucky Goes Golfing - Chucky wreaks havoc when he decides to join a prestigious LA country club. The board of directors, maintenance staff, and all low handicap members are slaughtered as Chucky ensures that he is the only one left with a chance to win the club championship.
I can smell the popcorn already.
Andrew Penner is a Canadian golf pro and frustrated movie star (but don't call us, okay?)
|| 25 - JULY 2002