Growing up, there was one man who could always make me laugh. He was fearless with his physical comedy, had incredible timing and improvisational skills, and his deadpan deliveries never failed to entertain me. From roughly 1978 to 1989, Chevy Chase had my heart. At the height of his career, Chevy did a little comedy based on a series of books by Gregory McDonald. The film was released 30 years ago, this week. Both Burt Reynolds and Mick Jagger had been considered for the role. Thankfully, Chevy landed the title role. For it would be hard to imagine anyone else filling the shoes of Irwin M. Fletcher.
I present to you, Fletch.
Click HERE to watch the original trailer.
In the film, Fletch is a reporter for the LA Times. He has been working undercover on a story in an attempt to bust a local drug trafficking ring. Through a simple case of mistaken identity, Fletch gets caught up in an even bigger world of intrigue, scandal, embezzlement, murder…you name it. Of course, there’s time for romance and plenty of one-liners. This movie is so quotable! I couldn’t decide which ones to use, so I’m posting a link that has dozens of the best Fletch quotes.
One of the more enjoyable aspects of the film is how easily Chevy transitions between aliases. He has been quoted as saying Fletch was his favorite film role because “it allowed me to be myself. Fletch was the first one with me really winging it. Even though there was a script, the director allowed me to just go, and in many ways, I was directing the comedy.” Chevy enjoyed the various props and costumes for each new character invented. With aliases like Ted Nugent, Arnold Babar, Dr. Rosenpenis (Dr. Rosenrosen, Dr. Rosen), Mr. Poon, the Mattress Police, and of course my personal favorite, John Coctostan. Which, by the way, is the one item on the menu at Moe’s Southwest Grill that I always order; not only is it delicious, but it’s an excuse to say John Coctostan.
A sequel, Fletch Lives, was released in 1989 and failed to live up to the box office bank of its predecessor. A prequel, Fletch Won, has been in on-again/off-again Hollywood limbo for at least two decades, with names like Kevin Smith, Jason Lee, Ben Affleck, Zach Braff, and most recently Jason Sudeikis attached to the project. Will it ever happen? Who knows. In the meantime, do yourself a favor and watch Fletch. When I was in the hospital for 2 months having lung surgery in 2013, I came upon a Fletch marathon (?) on the television. I forgot just how funny the original movie was, until it quite literally hurt too much to laugh. It’s the perfect movie for a summer afternoon!
Stay tuned, my friends, for next Thursday we bring back The Goonies!