• Jeff South

Other Summer Movies of the 80s: Fletch

Released: May 31st, 1985

Chevy Chase: Irwin "Fletch" Fletcher

Joe Don Baker: Chief Karlin

Dana Wheeler-Nicholson: Gail Stanwyk

Tim Matheson: Alan Stanwyk

Richard Libertini: Walker

Screenplay by Andrew Bergman (based on the novel by Gregory McDonald)

Directed by Michael Ritchie

Rated PG

Man, I loved this movie when it came out. I saw a few days before my high school graduation with a buddy of mine and we had a blast. It remains my favorite Chevy Chase film and was my favorite performance of his until his run on Community as Pierce Hawthorne. I liked the way he played Fletch, the wise-cracking investigative reporter from the Gregory McDonald novel. Chase seemed relaxed and at home in the part. I wanted to make movies this and play roles like Fletch.

Graduation loomed and college awaited in August. A theater scholarship from Southeast Missouri State provided me a way out of Poplar Bluff and a chance to pursue acting, albeit on a small scale. A dream was now fully planted and I was prepared to go for it. I wanted to act and write, especially comedies because that is where I felt most at home. A movie like Fletch appealed to that nature, so I went back a second and third time to study how it was put together. Especially the one-liners. The more I saw the movie, the more I was drawn to the script. Sure, I wanted to one day play a character like Fletch, but deep down I knew I really wanted to create a character like him.

I planned to spend the summer of 1985 writing and the movies, television, and novels I consumed provided a deeper inspiration than they previously had. What started out as some kind of unknowable abstraction was now a possibility. In a couple of months, I would be leaving the only home I'd ever known to chase a dream. I was scared and anxious and had the entire summer to think about it.

And the girl from the summer of '84 was soon to return.

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