November 18, 2005
The Rehoboth Beach Film Society recently concluded its eighth annual Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival. Thousands of movie buffs watched over 130 films over five days.
An October 29 Wall Street Journal article about film festivals noted that there are now 650 such events in the United States, with 200 of these movie marathons starting up in the last five years.
Unlike the Rehoboth Festival, which offers a broad variety of movie genres, several of the other festivals focus on a particular theme.
They’re not the only ones who can do this, of course, thanks to Blockbuster, Netflix, and other movie outlets.
For example, here is a sample program listing for a golf film festival that any Cape Region golfer and movie fan could set up and watch over a long weekend—a very long weekend. The movies are listed by date, from oldest to newest.
Follow the Sun (1951)—Glenn Ford starred as Ben Hogan in this biopic, with Anne Baxter playing his wife. Several PGA golfers of the time appear in cameo roles, for example when Hogan (Ford) returns to the Tour for the Los Angeles Open after the car accident that took him out of action during the prime of his career.
The movie is a bit earnest by today’s standards, but Hogan didn’t let it go to his head. He won several major tournaments after the film’s run.
The Caddy (1953)—Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis took their comic shtick to the golf course, with Martin as a pro golfer and Lewis as his caddy. This movie will not help your golf game, but it might improve your singing. The film is best known now for the fact that Martin sings “That’s Amore,” which earned an Oscar nomination. Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, and Byron Nelson play themselves, and a very pretty Donna Reed is in a supporting role.
Caddyshack (1980)—Following the Martin/Lewis tradition, Chevy Chase and Bill Murray try their hand at a comedy centered around golf. The raunchy movie is now recognized as one of the best such movies of all time. Among other running gags, Murray plays a demented groundskeeper trying to eliminate an obviously fake groundhog, with eventually explosive results.
This very funny film was followed up eight years later by Caddyshack II, routinely recognized as one of the worst sequel movies ever made. In fact, it’s right down there with the worst movies ever, regardless of its heritage.
Dead Solid Perfect (1988)—Randy Quaid gives a fine performance as a struggling tour pro trying to find a way to keep playing. Based on the 1974 best-selling book by Dan Jenkins.
Happy Gilmour (1996)—Many folks consider this movie to be one of Adam Sandler’s best performances. Many other folks do not consider this to be such a big deal.
Sandler is a hockey player who learns how to use his slap shot with a driver and a golf ball. Those looking for realism in a golf movie should stay away, but for those looking for slapstick need not look anywhere else. And yes, that pun was deliberate.
Tin Cup (1996)—The writer of Bull Durham switches sports, but keeps Kevin Costner as the hero in this wryly funny movie about a golf pro at a down-market driving range. Rene Russo plays the love interest, and Cheech Marin is a wise-cracking caddie who helps Costner as he somehow makes the finals of the U.S. Open.
The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)—Robert Redford directed this drama about a caddy (Will Smith) who teaches Matt Damon how to find life’s meaning, while also perfecting Damon’s golf swing. Somehow this wasn’t exactly a box-office hit.
A Gentleman’s Game (2001)—Gary Sinise stars in this drama about a young boy (Mason Gamble) learning the game as a caddy at his father’s country club. He also learns some valuable life lessons, thanks to Sinise’s character. Many of the film locations were in and around Phildelphia, Pennsylvania, including Media, Paoli, and Springfield.
A festival with these selections should satisfy the most die-hard golf fan.