Summer Rental (1985)
Why I Love This Scene: Depending on how long ago you last watched Carl Reiner’s vacation comedy, Summer Rental, the first thing people would say about it is that it was a starring vehicle for the late great John Candy. OK, maybe very few of you would say the words “starring vehicle” but I think you know what I mean. Even to me, it doesn’t have many memorable scenes, except maybe Candy’s sunburn mishap or the family getting chased out of the rental house by a confused and angry African-American family who were the rightful renters that week. You may remember Andie from The Goonies was in it, and maybe you can recall Rip Torn playing a crusty ‘ol pirate dude. I’m sure many of you might forget that Colonel Trautman himself, Richard Crenna was the villain in this Us vs. Them comedy.
Richard Crenna started acting in the 1950’s but to our generation of 80s kids we will probably only know him as Rambo’s mentor and friend. I seriously only saw him in the 3 Rambo‘s and Summer Rental for the longest time and even now I can say I only seen him in a total of 6 movies. But he’s been in a lot of flicks over his long career until his death in 2003. It’s just that they weren’t the types of movies that stood the test of time I suppose. Which is a shame because Colonel Trautman is one of my favorite military characters and Crenna played him great. He has one of the best quotes of all time by describing Rambo’s unique and absurd survival methods as:
You don’t seem to want to accept the fact you’re dealing with an expert in guerrilla warfare, with a man who’s the best, with guns, with knives, with his bare hands. A man who’s been trained to ignore pain, ignore weather, to live off the land, to eat things that would make a billy goat puke. In Vietnam his job was to dispose of enemy personnel. To kill! Period! Win by attrition. Well Rambo was the best.
But because he was a great authority figure he also made for a great rich snob as well, that in my opinion was only second to Ted Knight’s Judge Smails in Caddyshack. And in Summer Rental the scene that I’m highlighting is his very rude and dick move to demand a table at a very crowded resort restaurant all because he’s a local. He even coincidentally, takes the last of the fresh lobster that John Candy’s family were excited to eat for dinner. When Candy loses his cool about the situation and confronts Crenna and his party, Crenna rips Candy a new one by being a rich dick and playing the privilege card. I wouldn’t do it justice by describing it but I will tell you that I absolutely relish the part where he asks if “these are your shorts” and while Crenna’s wife tries to calm him down for pulling down his pants he shushes her by going “tut-tut-tut-tut.” I don’t know why I find this so hilarious but it’s just perfect for a rich uppity asshole to do to a woman and his wife to boot.