Reviewing one movie at a time…

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)


Trailer: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

Starring: Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, & Juliette Lewis – Directed By: Jeremiah S. Chechik

Running Time: 1 hr & 37 mins – Genre: Comedy

Synopsis:  We follow the Griswold family yet again on another Vacation.  This time it is a vacation that is at home.  No traveling here.  Clark wants to give his family the best Christmas he can muster.  It’s just with Clark, he tends to “set standards that no family activity can ever live up to”.  Craziness of Christmas and things that go along with the holiday break out in timeless Lampoon fashion and Clark realizes his true meaning of Christmas… because its different for everyone.

Big JD (Host)

I can’t say enough about this movie.  I’ve watched it at least once a year for as long as I can remember it being there to watch.  I never get tired of it and the jokes although a bit corny at times never get stale.  I still laugh.  In fact I think I pick up something new each and every time I watch it.  Best Christmas Movie Ever!!!

We start by seeing the Griswold family in their car driving to go get there “Grisold Family Christmas Tree”.  As you will notice there are 2 new actors (1 actor & 1 actress) in the back seat.  Yes, Rusty & Audrey this time played by Juliett Lewis & Johnny Galecki.  The Rusty & Audrey characters have sort of become the Batman of Lampoon movies.  Everybody will get a shot to play them.  I just hope to never see Val Kilmer acting as Rusty.  Some may see this as a bad casting call.  I actually feel that these two are the best Rusty & Audrey of all time.  Although there are arguments for Anthony Michael Hall as Rusty, but Audrey although a blonde will always be Juliett Lewis to me.  Also, while we are talking about cast.  Don’t you think that Clark’s mom is a bit young looking (in the face) to be married to his dad?  No Matter.  She’s terrified of squirrels and that’s her blockbuster part.  She was fine.  Cousin Eddie’s kids were re-cast as well.  I think it’s a National Lampoon’s Vacation requirement.  If you’re under the age of 18 then you will be recast in an upcoming sequel.

There are so many quotable’s in this movie it is insane.  I can just about recite the entire movie verbatim.  From “Eat my rubber! I’m gonna burn dust” to “you couldn’t hear a dump truck driving through a nitroglycerin plant!”  It’s just so many to choose from.  This movie was written splendidly and you won’t hear any complaints from me.  I loved getting to know more about the Griswold family.  I enjoyed getting to know more about were Clark works.  Having Cousin Eddie play a larger role was better too.  I guess we can only expect the best from John Hughes… duh.

The soundtrack brings Christmas to the heart of this film.  From the intro song I’m hooked.  Although a bit 80’s I can get around it by it being a Christmas song specific to this movie.  Also, the song “Christmas is the time of year…” with Clark stuck in the attic watching home movies.  Really touching and great slow down scene.  It helps you relate with Clark and you want him to have a fun old fashioned Christmas.  The director did a fantastic job conveying the “feel” of Christmas to film.  I think that’s what I love most.  I would love to spend Christmas with this family.  As messed up as they are even.  In fact, I do.  Every year.

Ya know, I’m surprised that Jeremiah Chechik hasn’t really “made it” as a big movie director.  He’s done a few movies but I think he’s worked more on TV like a few episodes of “Chuck” & “Hart of Dixie” and “Burn Notice”.  All fairly successful TV shows.  Wait, Chevy has done a few episodes of “Chuck”.  Hmmm coincidence?

Let me leave you with the thoughts of Clark Griswold speaking to his wife about the majesty of looking out the front window on a Christmas morning.  “Oh, the silent majesty of a winter’s morn, the clean, cool chill of the holiday air . . . an asshole in his bathrobe, emptying a chemical toilet into my sewer.”

If you haven’t already added this to your Christmas movie watch list then I suggest you start now.  It’s ok.  It won’t ever get old.  Play Ball!!!  …oh and Merry Christmas!

oh, and by the way… the Old Navy commercials make me want a real sequel to this movie.  Just sayin’.

5‘s

Ran-Dizzle

Where to start with this movie. Not only is it a Christmas Classic, but who doesn’t love the Griswold’s and their zany adventures and stories, something I also love is the kids are never the same in the movies I’ve seen, I am sure John will correct me if I am wrong.

I noticed some big names in this also, besides Chevy, Beverly there was Johnny Galecki. Who is on one of my favorite TV Shows…no not Roseanne but Big Bang Theory as Leonard Hofstadter,and Juliette Lewis who as been in numerous TV/Movies to many to list however one of my favorites is From Dusk til Dawn. Some others are Doris Roberts who plays Raymond’s mom in Everyone loves Raymond, and also in Grandma’s Boy(Spoiler Alert: I have a feeling will be coming up in a movie review this next year.)  and the biggest surprise Frank Shirley was no other the Bryan Doyle Murray, Brother to the Infamous Bill Murray.

So besides the huge cast and surprises to see some young and upcoming stars go the direction they have the story is pretty good. I mean doesn’t it kind of explain your whole family at the holidays? If not then I now feel like the only one who can relate to The Griswolds. In my family there is always a fight between in-laws, and zany family members who have memory issues, but never one who wrapped up a cat, or have a  killer Squirrel being let lose in the house, or dumped their sewage in a storm drain.

So many things about this movie are good, very few are bad…actually I don’t think I couldn’t remember one scene, well maybe the kidnapping of Frank Shirley…and then everything be ok, but it’s the Griswold’s….Who doesn’t love the Griswold’s Family.

Well I hope you all take a chance to sit back sip on some nice eggnog, try not to let your families drive you insane and have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and watch this movie!   5‘s

……

Willie Good-Cook

-And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he’s gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse.-

So….was I the only one who was creeped out by Chevy Chase in this movie. That creepy smiles and crazy wide eyes made me think he was either supposed to be portraying a mentally handy capped individual or perhaps he is a child molester. He did this crazy look for almost half the movie. The other half he spent with his mouth open in some manner. He was the original Kristen Stewart. Either way, it was way out of place for a Christmas movie. Here’s an idea, lets take two horrible actors (Chevy and Randy Quaid) and put them in a movie together so they can annoy the crap out of Willie GC.

The slap stick was the one thing that made this movie tolerable. There were some very amusing scenes, like the attic ladder hitting Griswold in the face. But after a while even the slap stick got boring. Why would he sit on the ladder while watching the projector? Does he want to break his kneck? Ok, we get it. He can take a hit and make it funny. Move on to something funny again please. The rest of the cast did a pretty good job, but I feel if this movie came out now it would receive an even lower ratings then what i have given it here.

I think this is one of those movies that has the nostalgia factor attached to it. I am sure these two are going to rave about how good this movie is. I believe this comes from that factor. No one could sit down and do a serious review of this movie and see anything other than a cheesy, cliche ridden film. This reminded me of Bruce Campbell films. It may have been funny back then, but now it is only ok.

Even the special effects were bad in this movie. Ok, he greases the bottom of his trash can lid. That would not cause him to shoot off like a rocket, regardless of how much it lowered the friction caused by the sled. And then somehow his family see’s him wreck even though he has been rocketing across the landscape. Yah, that makes sense.

And what was with the glasses Griswold wore only during the opening sequence? Why even wear them at all. It made no sense. Either he needs glasses to see and should wear them all the time or he doesn’t need them and why were they ever included in the film? And what kind of dumbass father tries to race a huge truck in his station wagon while his kids are inside? My wife would have ripped my head off for doing something like that. Not just sit there and go “Honey!”

-Suggestion-

This may have been a great movie back then, but if you didn’t watch it growing up as a kid…it kinda sucks…just a little.

2.0‘s

2 responses

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    January 18, 2013 at 6:32 pm

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    June 4, 2013 at 4:25 pm

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