Wednesday, December 23, 2009

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Day 357 - 12/23/09 - Movie #357

BEFORE: See, I told you we'd get there...Chevy Chase was my link to Christmas movies. Very appropriate since I just finished wrapping gifts last night, and my own vacation/time off starts this afternoon. (I love it when a plan comes together...)

THE PLOT: The Griswold family's plans for a big family Christmas predictably turn into a big disaster.

AFTER: Ah, slapstick! Last resort of desperate comedians everywhere. The lowest rung on the comedy ladder - which Clark Griswold is always either falling off of, or getting smacked in the face with... Plus there are Christmas trees that catch on fire, cats getting electrocuted, exploding sewers, dry holiday turkey, and a large number of breaking windows.

Then we have the many, many, continuity mistakes listed on the IMDB. Such as - how come one electocuted cat trips the house's circuit breaker, but the 25,000 Christmas lights on the roof doesn't? Or how come the grandparents arrive at the house in the week before Christmas, and watch the Macy's parade on TV, which takes place on Thanksgiving?

But you know what, I'm in a holiday mood, and this is the season of giving...I'm going to go easy on this one because they broke the "road trip" stereotypes of the other "Vacation" movies. I'm even going to ignore the fact that the Griswold kids get randomly older and younger in each film - Rusty was clearly a teen in the first film, seemed about 24 or 25 in "European Vacation", and in this one he's back to being a kid...

While I'm reminiscing about people I've met, I did have the pleasure of meeting Beverly D'Angelo a few years ago, she came in to a sound studio and recorded a voice for a character in one of my boss's animated features. She told some great stories... For that matter, I also sort-of met Johnny Galecki (Rusty) at a party at the Sundance Festival a year or two later...

Lots of great acting talent wasted here, though - Galecki and Juliette Lewis aren't given much to do as the Grisworld children, with appearances by E.G. Marshall, Diane Ladd, Doris Roberts and John Randolph as Clark and Ellen's parents, plus William Hickey, Mae Questel (her last movie role...), Brian Doyle-Murray, Sam McMurray, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (getting attacked by a squirrel AND a dog in a slapstick two-fer...). Plus, what's a "Vacation" film without Randy Quaid? (I guess that would be "European Vacation"...)

Written and produced by John Hughes (aww...)

RATING: 5 out of 10 extension cords

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