The December movie of the month, as chosen by a horde of Sticht family voters, is National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation! This is a favorite of mine and I watched it a week before the poll went up. So I'm ready to go!
This is the story of the Griswold Family and the attempt of Clark to pull off the perfect family Christmas. This sets the film up for lots of disasters of course. The crux of the story is that the Griswolds are hosting Christmas at their house to include both sets of grandparents. Clark has a big surprise for everyone. For the big Christmas gift he plans to use his annual Christmas bonus to pay for a swimming pool. However, in order to get the work order submitted in time he had to write a check that would have no funds to back it up until the Christmas bonus is deposited. The whole world comes crashing down when on Christmas eve he receives a letter from his boss which for the first time in 16 years has no bonus but a membership to the Jelly of the Month club. As cousin Eddie puts it, "that's the gift that keeps on giving." Clark goes crazy and upsets the family. He says that he wishes his boss was right there right now so he could tell him what he thinks of him. Eddie obliges, kidnapping his boss. When confronted not only does his boss not fire him, press charges etc. he reinstates his bonus and adds 20%. All's well that ends well.
What I love about this film is that everything that goes wrong has happened to each of us on a much smaller scale. But it's all relatable. Visiting family that we have difficulty getting along with, enormous effort put into Christmas displays that don't work (check every light again), having your Christmas tree dry out (we had a tree one year where the lady didn't know what a fresh cut was. After one week we were afraid to even be angry in the same room as the tree in fear it would burst into flames), and the big one: spending money you don't yet have for that one great gift. Most years we manage to have our tax return mostly spent before December is over. So it's all relatable and you just feel so bad watching Clark try so hard to just make the best Christmas ever. Sometimes when we try that hard it is inevitable that there'll be disappointment. Some of the best Christmas memories are the ones that just happen and were not the result of planning at all (I learned that from "Deck the Halls," one of the worst Christmas movies I've ever seen).
Favorite line : Clarke - Hey, kids, I heard on the news that an airline pilot spotted Santa's sleigh on its way in from New York City!
Eddie: You serious, Clark?
Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed it. Please tell me what you thought.
The category for the January movie of the month is Buddy Cop Films. It is too bad that so many good buddy cop films are Rated R. My favorites are Lethal Weapon and 48 Hours. Sigh. I thought I was going to go with Starsky and Hutch but I think I'll pick a real american Classic and submit In the Heat of the Night with Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger. Even if this film loses (I'm sure it will) you should watch it anyway. Great movie.