Netflix Pick of the Week: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Don’t we all dream of a perfect Griswold family Christmas? It’s what every young family aspires for at some point or another. Chevy Chase was still in good form in this movie in the late 1980s. This was before his career took a weird detour for a little while. It wasn’t until recently where it became safe again to admit you think he’s funny. Chevy is like a comedy godfather to younger comedians now-a-days. You can just put in an old Chevy Chase movie and you get to go back and time and see what was funny in the 1980s or even the late 1970s. When you think of top comedians doing movies in recent history you think of a Adam Sandler or a Will Farrell, well the 1980s version of them is Chevy Chase and Bill Murray.

In the very first scene you already dive into the cliché family Christmas story but with of course Chevy accompaniment. Just like A Christmas Story is the perfect example of what goes through a kids head around Christmas time, Christmas Vacation is the perfect example of what happens around the country for families this time of year. From the siblings complaining about sharing the same room, to the grandparents coming to stay in the house, to the random relatives showing up, to the crazy old relatives showing up who border on insane, to the pressures of wondering if your Christmas bonus is still coming, or even a dad hiding from his crowded house of relatives to put up outdoor decorations that cause a brief city-wide blackout. While watching this movie you’re going to want to have your phone with you, with the IMDB application already downloaded because this movie is one of those “is that so and so in this movie?!” You’re going to be looking up Beverly D’Angelo (American History X), Johnny Galecki (Big Bang Theory), Doris Roberts (Everyone Loves Raymond), Julia Louis-Drefus (Seinfeld), Brian Doyle-Murray (Groundhog Day), and even Randy Quid (Independence Day/ where is he hiding from the cops right now?). There are many people you’re going to recognize in this movie. Just think of Christmas Vacation of the family Christmas you always wanted to have, including all the bits and fun going on (including the police raid of your house on Christmas Eve). WARNING this is not a children’s movie by any sort of the imagination. There is a lot of adult humor mixed in with the crazy wackiness going on in the Griswold household which keeps the older crowd interested and it also keeps this movie from becoming to corny to be considered funny anymore.

This movie is definitely worth watching every year around this time. There are some good laughs in here, it is worth the trip to Best Buy to grab a cheap copy of this movie or to rent it on Netflix. You won’t be disappoint by this holiday, dare I say, classic. This movie isn’t up the list of holiday traditions as far as a must watch like an “It’s a wonderful Life” or “A Christmas Story” or even “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. But it is an above average Christmas movie that can entertain you every year. What does that mean to be a “above average” Christmas movie you ask? Christmas movies are almost like a guilty pleasure movie (i.e. the first Transformers or The Rock), a movie you know you shouldn’t like that much but you still like to say you enjoyed it because it’s so darn entertaining. So for this movie to be an “above average” Christmas movie is like saying if it’s on during December I should watch it. A classic Christmas movie, the really good ones, is like a “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “A Christmas Story”, those are the Christmas movies that give you the itch to almost watch them when it’s Christmas in July. (Yes I almost watched all of It’s a Wonderful Life this past July but I came to my senses and stopped the movie to watch some Arrested Development on Netflix) So basically what I am saying is put the popcorn in the microwave and pop in Christmas Vacation and watch some Chevy.(pun not intended……alright slightly intended)

 

-Eric B

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