Sunday, December 14, 2014

Movie Review: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 
Starring: Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Juliette Lewis, Johnny Galecki, John Randolph, Diane Ladd, E.G. Marshall, Doris Roberts, Randy Quaid, Miriam Flynn, Cody Burger, Ellen Hamilton Latzen, William Hickey, Mae Questel, Sam McMurray, Nicholas Guest, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Nicolette Scorsese
Director: Jeremiah Chechik
Warner Bros., Hughes Entertainment, USA, 1989.
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation title
Griswold family are heading into the country to get a Christmas tree. After daddy Clark (Chevy Chase) races with some locals and nearly crashes their car, the family goes to forest for the tree. Mommy Ellen (Beverly D'Angelo), Audrey (Juliette Lewis) and Russ (Johnny Galecki) would rather buy a tree than wander in the cold forest. After uprooting a proper one, Clark has to make it fit into their living-room. 
Chevy Chase
Clark Griswold wants to have a perfect Christmas
Perfect Christmas tree
Juliette Lewis, Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Johnny Galecki
Audrey, Clark, Ellen and Russ
Ellen's and Clark's quarrelling parents, Clark Wilhelm Griswold, Sr (John Randolph), Nora Griswold (Diane Ladd). Arthur Smith (E. G. Marshall) and Frances Smith (Doris Roberts), will be coming to visit them for Christmas. Clark is getting a bonus check from his work, so he plans to build a swimming pool on their yard. Clark goes a bit over the top with the Christmas lights installing 25000 light bulbs. 
The tree needs some trimming
The yuppie neighbours Margo (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and Todd (Nicholas Guest) Chester get their share of property damage when Clark goofs around while installing the lights. And the lights do not work. And when the lights finally work, it is better to have some reserve power ready! 
Nicholas Guest and Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Todd and Margo Chester
John Randolph, Doris Roberts, E. G. Marshall, Diane Ladd
Clark Sr. Griswold, Frances Smith, Arthur Smith and Nora Griswold
Also Clark's cousin hillbilly Eddie (Randy Quaid) and his wife Cathrine (Miriam Flynn) and their kids arrive. Also Griswold's go sledding and Clark's applies new lubricant to his sled, making it fully frictionless. More wacky relatives appear and Clark's Christmas gets worse when Clark's boss Mr. Shirley (Brian Doyle-Murray) does not send him the Christmas bonus. But half-crazed Clark is determined to get a perfect family Christmas whatever it takes. Soon red and blue lights are blinking in front of their house, but they are not Christmas lights. 
Chevy Chase, Randy Quaid, Miriam Flynn
Clark's cousin Eddie and Cathrine
Juliette Lewis, Beverly D'Angelo, Johnny Galecki
Griswold family admires the lights
Electric bill must be astronomical
80s was a good decade for American comedy, with Christmas Vacation being one of the best Chevy Chase comedies. The movie opens with an animated sequence where Santa visits the Griswold residence and barely survives alive. It's a great fun Christmas catastrophe movie full of gags and slap stick comedy but also with some crude jokes. The Griswold family is a bit like the Simpsons, with Clark being kind of a missing link between Donald Duck and Homer.
William Hickey
Uncle Lewis and what's left of the tree
Just a normal Christmas
Rating: Very good

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