Y’all have no idea how much I struggled this week to find a movie that fully captures 1980s comedy. I went through a lot of picks, suffered through Girls Just Want to Have Fun, realized St. Elmo’s Fire was NOT the comedic Brat Pack follow-up to The Breakfast Club I thought it would be, before landing on that tall, tan mainstay of the ’80s, Chevy Chase. If you mistakenly thought the National Lampoon’s movies were the peak of his career, then let me introduce you to Fletch (Disc/Download).
Like a precursor to Jeffrey Lebowski and Doc Sportello, Irwin M. “Fletch” Fletcher spends his days bumming around the beach, pissing off cops, and becoming embroiled in rich white lady drama. Except the difference here is that Fletch actually has a paying job, as an investigative reporter for the Los Angeles Times. He’s undercover trying to expose a drug ring when the wealthy Mr. Stanwyk (Tim Matheson) attempts to hire him for a murder/suicide indemnity plot. I can practically hear Billy Wilder’s laughter from beyond the grave. Using a variety of disguises, Fletch manages to sniff out the real criminal plot, involving the LAPD, a secret wife in Utah, and an ex-con named Gummy. It’s a wild neo-noir comedy full of hilarious one-liners, nods to classic film, and Chase’s trademark deadpan humor. Truly, I never thought this mainstay of my Saturday afternoon movie binges could pull off a Homeless Brody Jenner look, but the man is a chameleon.
Speaking of looks, Fletch has a lot of them. Everything from surgeon, to hillbilly airplane mechanic, to Lakers basketball player, to rollerskating spiritual leader. But my favorite disguise of all is Country Club Fletch, who wears his little white shorts and polo shirts like he was born to them. Let’s toast “Fancy Fletch” with this take on a classic Royal Bermuda Yacht Club daiquiri, a drink I like to call the Proper Attire.
2 oz Aged gold rum
3/4 oz Falernum
3/4 oz Lime juice
3/4 oz Paula’s Texas Orange liqueur
Lime Wheel and Pineapple leaf (for garnish)
Combine Rum, Falernum, lime juice, and orange liqueur in a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with lime wheel and pineapple leaf.
It makes me happy to know this movie has been in talks for a modern reboot because the character of Fletch is a joy in any era. But when it comes to representing the 1980s, you really can’t do better than the original. The Harold Faltermeyer score, the angry old Republican country club villains, dobermans as a security system… we really did have it all. Cheers!