After “National Lampoon’s European Vacation” came out in 1985, film studio, Warner Bros. (WB for short) contacted late writer/director John Hughes, to write a script for the third installment of the Vacation series. He replied back saying, yes. Chris Columbus was selected to direct the third film, but turned down the opportunity in favor of “Home Alone,” to prove himself as a filmmaker, the aforementioned first Home Alone film is also written by John Hughes. John however, couldn’t fill in as director, because he was busy working with frequent collaborator, John Candy in “Uncle Buck.” WB hired a vague director named, Jeremiah S. Chechik, who hasn’t been around since them. Today’s review is “National Lampoon’ Christmas Vacation.”
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation was released in 1989. (same year Tim Burton’s Batman came out) It received positive reviews from critics and movie goers alike. It made enough revenue at the box office. The third entry is arguably considered the best sequel of the Vacation series. Christmas Vacation airs every December during the holiday season.
The following review doesn’t contain any important SPOILERS. Feel free to read this non-spoiler article. I’ll give some of you guys and gals a head start.
Nice & Naughty Elements
Nice: Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo & Randy Quaid reprise their roles & they all did a hilarious job for their respective performances.
Other Cast Members such as Brian Doyle-Murray, (Bill Murray’s real life brother) Julia Louie Dreyfus, Diane Ladd (Laura Dern’s real life mother) & the late Doris Roberts (Marie from Everybody Loves Raymond) all did a good job for their performances. Bryan-Doyle Murray also had a cameo appearance in the first movie.
Johnny Galecki (Leonard from The Big Bang Theory) & Juliette Lewis replaced the other two actors from European Vacation and they did a solid job for their performances.
John Hughes wrote the screenplay. He also wrote scripts (excluding Vacation 2015) from the original Vacation, European Vacation & Vegas Vacation.
Humor contains slapstick, visual gags & laugh out loud memorable dialogue.
Cinematography felt normal lacking technical difficulties.
Opening Credits starts with an animated sequence, indicating what you’re about to watch will make your belly ache in a good way.
Wally World mugs are used as props when certain characters take a sip. As you may know, Wally World is the location where The Griswolds overcome their way through wacky obstacles nearly driving Clark insane.
Most of the film takes place in The Griswold Family Home, rather than repeating the same story over and over again.
We learn that Clark, who’s the main protagonist, works at as a good chemist. Indicating he’s an intelligent man despite his goofy personality.
We also get a glimpse of Clark’s childhood memories via film canisters.
Clark’s motive to receive a Christmas Bonus from his boss, is relatable for many employees who work their butts off to support their family members. I feel their pain.
One scene or two parodies something off of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” mixed with “Friday The 13th.” Coincidentally, “Jason Takes Manhattan” came out the exact same year as Christmas Vacation.
My favorite part of the whole movie is when somebody uses a sled going “faster than a speeding bullet.” I also liked the part when Clark gives a redneck a “pet bird.” If I ever see Bill Maher, I would love to give him “the bird” after he bad mouthed Stan Lee’s legacy. Gosh darn it basic cable, why did you remove Clark’s gesture!?
My favorite line is, We’re gonna have the hap-hap-happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby danced with Danny (insert one word) Kaye!” I’m giving this quote an Extra Point. I want this line to be part of The American Film Institute’s (AFI for short) “Top 100 Best Movie Quotes.” By the way, I want Clark’s “Quest For Fun” speech selected by AFI as one of the best movie quotes.
Naughty: Product Placement featuring brands including Pepsi, Milkbones, Wal-Mart, Ol’Roy, Purina, Dodge & Adidas.
The Final Verdict: A-
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is considered as one of the best Christmas related films of all time and also one of my favorite holiday movies. If you’re interested in this movie, I highly recommend it. If you want to hear big boy curse words, buy it on DVD/Blu-Ray.