There have been so many classic Christmas movies it can be really hard to pick a favorite. Who doesn’t like the lamp from A Christmas Story or James Stewart’s scene in It’s a Wonderful Life where he explains how a bell ringing signifies an angel receiving wings? Those two movies are excellent examples of great holiday viewing, but there is one movie that in my family will always trump the others and it’s high time Christmas Vacation receive the Movieboozer treatment.
This movie, for those who do not know, is part of National Lampoon’s Vacation series. It follows an everyday man by the name of Clark Griswold, played by Chevy Chase, who is accompanied by Beverly D’Angelo, playing the part of his wife Ellen. In the third installment the vacation is more or less a lack there of, because the Griswold’s stay in and the family comes to them. Seems good ole Clark just wants a nice Christmas at home with the family and relatives. As with the other movies in this series we know things are going to go crazy and there will be plenty of laughs along the way.
This movie will keep you laughing and also relating toClarkand the struggles he has as he tries to usher the perfect holiday in for his family. The characters alone are hilarious with cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) being a high point of hilarity anytime he is on camera. My only real gripe is that Clark and Ellen’s children Rusty (Johnny Galecki) and Audrey (Juliette Lewis) are being played by different actors again. I get looking the age for the part and all, but these kids look completely different than the ones played by Anthony Michael Hall and Dana Barron. If you do not get into the series this will have little effect on your opinion of the movie. This in no way degrades the characters I am referring to because they both do a great job supporting and adding to the laughs. The yuppie neighbors, Todd and Margo Chester, played by Nicholas Guest and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, are also a complete riot.
Relating toClarkand his struggles is pretty easy because we all experience stuff like this around the holidays. You see all the classics in here from a family stressing out to a hilarious scene with some pesky Christmas lights that just do not want to work. The support or lack thereof at times is another thing that really keeps you cheering forClarkthroughout the movie. In my family this movie will play no less than probably 10 times when the season hits. Some of the best parts of this movie are in the dialog like when Clark and Eddie are enjoying a lil nog and Eddie goes “You surprised to see us Clark?”Clarksays “Oh, Eddie…. If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn’t be more surprised than I am now”.
My only other real gripe is the fact that the story was a bit too predictable. You can call almost any scene and what will happen shortly. Luckily you are laughing your bum off most times and will not notice. The story is pretty common and seems almost too simple at times but I believe that to be intentional. When you do not have ultra-clever writing, things like characters and their interactions can shine, and in this case they did just that. There were also some small things that did not make sense, such as: how did cousin Eddie know where Clark’s boss lived? The other thing I noticed was the fire trail when Clark is sledding down that hill and how it is lit in front of him. These things also are very small and really take nothing away from the movie.
I was very torn on this one and had to come back and see the movie again before I could slap the two beer sticker on this baby. This movie is a classic and you will be hard pressed to find someone who has not seen it or does not like it. Personally it is my favorite holiday movie followed closely by Scrooged, which will also be receiving the MovieBoozer Treatment soon.
Be warned that the Vacation movies after this one go steadily downhill until they land in the “pit of suck” where they belong.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: any time Ellen uses a pet name forClark
Take a Shot: any time you see an ugly holiday sweater
Chug a Beer: any time a hair piece is on screen