I Saw A Film!

Dangerfield and Pesci are a pair of pot-smoking gamblers who are set to inherit a family fortune if only Dangerfield can lose weight and quit his adolescent addictions. I always feel like Rodney was playing this middle-aged (and aging), joker character in dozens of movies, but in reality it was just four major ones, and only two were really recognizable hits. Caddyshack in 1980, Easy Money (1983) followed by Back to School (1986) and lastly Ladybugs (1992). Of course Rodney would show up on TV shows and other smaller parts throughout, but his impact felt much larger to me than just those two big movies. His late-in-life success is a famous story, nearly Don Quixote-like (for both character and author, Cervantes was 65 himself when his books became much copied!).

In the current tale, Rodney is a working photographer getting pictures of little kids at parties and such. Having him interact with little tots with hand-puppets might be the silliest of the ideas leveraged onto him. I desperately love the idea of him having more responsibility. I’ve long wished for Rodney spoofs of popular movies. I wish they’d have had him for the Nicholson role in As Good As It Gets, or a remake of Das Boot as the captain, or let’s go full on, as James Bond in an over the top production. Think of how much fun that would have been! Think about how fun he’d have been in the Liam Neeson role in Taken! I feel like directors are lazy and lack imagination! They would have Richard Pryor and John Candy do almost this same exact film two years later! Nothing inspires like a successful formula.

OK sorry, instead of just sitting here fantasizing about how we didn’t get enough Rodney, maybe I should tell you what happens in this goofy film. It goes much as you’d expect. They get exercise equipment, Pesci tries to get him off the gambling, they deliver a huge cake. They spar with Jeffery Jones from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The mother is a Victorian for some reason, head to toe in black layers of dress with a massive black hat.

This runs free on prime and will remind you that Rodney was a wasted talent. Man Imagine if Rodney had been used to replace Mastroianni in something, a remake of 8 1/2 or the one where he fantasizes all the deaths of his plump unappealing wife! Oh well, that’s life, we so often miss our real potentials. There’s so much to learn from Rodney, and it goes way past his expert delivery of one-liners.

2 thoughts on “Easy Money (1983)

  1. such a unique figure, I’ve watched him, heard him interviewed, heard many comics talking about him with love and awe. Apparently he passed his pot pipe on to a particular friend . . . I still want to know his process, how he created Dangerfield, how much was Rodney him?


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