Posted by: steveonfilm | October 1, 2009


For some Chevy Chase is an acquired taste. For others he’s a source for visceral hatred. Fortunately, I fall into the first category.

I think the first movie I saw with Chase was a butchered version of Caddyshack on TBS when I was a kid. I know I didn’t get most of the jokes (unlike Steve Martin’s movies), but I know my parents laughed a lot while we watched it, so I figured it was probably a movie I needed to go back and revisit when I got older. I did, however, see the Vacation movies, and by then figured out Chase was a pretty funny guy.

And about 10 years later, when I was sixteen or so, I did go back and revisit Caddyshack. And I’m glad that I did. Because while getting the movie from the video store (back when people still rented VHS) it was on a wall that featured a bunch of Chevy Chase movies (he was the comedian of the month of something). I saw a movie next to Caddyshack called Fletch.

I had a vague memory of Fletch. It was late and I was watching HBO or Cinemax, and it was some scene at a tennis court…

…and I ended up moving on to something else (probably a Godzilla movie). But after reading the description on the back of the Fletch box, and realizing it had nothing to do with tennis, I decided to rent it too.

After laughing my ass off at Caddyshack, and wishing I had gone back and seen it MUCH earlier, I popped in Fletch. If you haven’t seen it, here’s the trailer:

Man, I was blown away. It wasn’t the story, which is a pretty by the numbers murder mystery, but the character Fletch himself. His dialog was witty, sharp, and if you weren’t paying attention you’d miss it.
I don’t know how much was Chase and how much was the script, but I just thought his character was great. Plus, it had that fat guy from Cheers in it.

Anyway, Fletch was the first time I remember watching a movie where I really saw the character outside of the action they were involved in. I recognized how important they were to making what was otherwise a mediocre story work. In effect, they were the movie, and they story was just a medium to let the audience experience them.

I’m not saying Fletch is the best movie to use as an example of a great character, but it was, for me, the first time as a viewer I was able to separate them from the rest of the film. I was able to think critically about how the creators of the movie went about coming up with his character.

If you haven’t seen it, please do yourself a favor and put it on your Netflix queue.

Until next time, keep writing!



  1. Fast-paced and witty, this is Chase’s best solo venture to date, and will hold almost anyone’s attention for its well-edited 98 minutes. Nice Review, check out mine when you can!

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