28 December 2008

Christmas Vacation

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.


Rhett said...

Ok so I love this movie. I try to watch it every year.

This year we tried to go to Brewvies and watch it for free. It was sold out/packed with freeloaders so we ended up watching it at my house. Every year this movie surprises me with sheer awesomeness. I did notice this year that there is not one mention of Jesus in the entire movie... go figure.

Buddy cop movies next month...hhmmmm. I suggest Tango and Cash.

joN. said...

this time when i watched it the scene where he's stumbling over himself in front of the lingerie lady was funnier. there were actually some line thrown in that i had no recollection of -- "plenty of shopping days until adultery, i mean adulthood -- which is to say, christmas... as in yule... yule log."

favorite line: (immediately after cutting the cords on the christmas tree in their living room) "lotta sap in here."

second favorite: (watching his boss's entourage of kiss-ups leaving the room) "merry christmas. merry christmas. kiss my @%*. kiss his @%*. kiss your @%*. happy hannukah.

it is a weird movie though. it's more of a series of great sketches than anything. it totally works though. perhaps even moreso than the first vacation movie. one thing i don't get is how in every movie he has a bunch of different kids and relatives.

the only buddy cop movie i can think of right now is dragnet.

Swint said...

Christmas vacation is awesome. One of the top 3 Christmas movies ever.

How about Beverly Hills Cop.

Anonymous said...

I daresay that this blogs' fanbase maybe watches rated R movies (I don't know, maybe it's just me--BTW, my wife and I love Lethal Weapon 4.) I did submit Rush Hour as our non-rated-R film.

My favorite line this year that I don't recall from previous viewings:

Audrey: Grandpa, he worked really hard on it (the house lights).

Grandpa: So do washing machines!


Chapman Family said...

So sadly to say that I did not know who Buddy cop was until people suggested movies... ah! Don't judge. But I would have suggested Rush hour for sure! good thing someone else suggested it.