126. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

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Movie: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Release Date: December 1, 1989

Director: Jeremiah S. Chechik

Starring: Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Randy Quaid, Juliette Lewis, Johnny Galecki, Diane Ladd, E.G. Marshall, Doris Roberts, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss.

Tag Lines: “Yule crack up!”

“There’s No Place Like Home For A Holiday!”

Relevance: ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’ is one of those movies in which I have no clue of the when, where, why and how I saw it for the first time. I do know that when it was released in theaters I was finishing up my first semester at college so I am sure that I did not see it then or over that following holiday break. What I do know is that it was first viewed via rental from our local Blockbuster store sometime in 1990. I also knew that as soon as I watched it, it was definitely not going to be the last.

I was already a fan of Chevy Chase and the previous ‘Vacation’ movies. In fact one more of those movies will be popping up on my list of most influential movies of all time within the next few months. ‘Christmas Vacation’ was as silly, goofy, and side-splittingly funny as the others and entertained the Dickens out of my family and me. (Pun intended!) There were so many great bits, one-liners and ridiculous antics to produce those tears you get from laughing so hard and belly laughs so numerous it was like getting an abdominal workout. It was an extremely funny movie but also one with a lot of heart.

‘Christmas Vacation’ was purchased for our family’s movie collection as soon as possible and we watched it every holiday season. We also watched it non-stop when it played on HBO and every other channel that aired it. We just couldn’t get enough of the Griswold family. Many of the laughs came out of familiarity with what happens around the holiday season with families and festivities. Who can’t relate to Christmas light debacles, problems with the tree, unwanted family visitors or sledding trips gone wrong? Coupled with the buffoonery of Clark W. Griswold, you had comedy gold that over the years as turned into a Christmas classic.

The movie received mixed reviews from critics but was a moderate box office hit when it was released in 1989. It has since become a staple for families across the United States during the holiday season. I am sure it became a task on many American household’s Christmas to-do list. In my family, we usually watched it right after Thanksgiving to officially start off Christmas and then would watch it again and again when it aired on the numerous television channels throughout December. It never got old. It became one of my son’s favorite movies of all time and one that he quoted twelve months out of the year. A Christmas gift that keeps on giving the whole year through.

Today’s Thoughts: “I don’t know what to say, except it’s Christmas and we’re all in misery.”

Christmas in August? When it’s as funny as ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,’ why the hell not? Obviously I had just watched the movie numerous times around eight or nine months ago, but I am always ready for a slice of Christmas cheer a la Clark Griswold.

The movie is one of my family’s favorites, equally loved by both my husband and son. Unfortunately, neither of them were around for today’s viewing, so the laughing was all up to me. And there was quite a bit of laughing going on. I am always amazed at how much this movie still makes me smile, chuckle, chortle and guffaw despite seeing it countless times. I laughed just as hard today at the movie than I did that very first time. Good comedy is simply good comedy and never gets old. John Hughes’ script holds up very nicely despite it being nearly thirty-one years old.

The cast is quite simply perfect in every way. Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo are the perfect “ying and yang” couple and their chemistry as the leaders of this crazy family is priceless. Their children this time, as they have changed with every film, were effectively played by Juliette Lewis and Johnny Galecki. The rest of the ensemble including Randy Quaid, Diane Ladd, E.G. Marshall, Doris Roberts and Julia Louis-Dreyfus is equally effective.

‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’ is pure comedy Christmas magic for the whole family. It is really funny with sweet tender nostalgic moments that are the best memories to wrap up in on cold December nights. Or even warm August mornings for that matter.

Ways to Watch: HBO Max, Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, DVD Availability.

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