Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Fishing in the Discount Bin - National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin.  I watch a movie and blog about it.  Simple as pie.  Anyway, in my notes, I'm currently going through all the Christmas movies I bought and watched this year.  I'm up to National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, which I bought and watched on December 9, 2018.

As I said, I'm snatching up Christmas movies on Blu-Ray this year, because it seems to be the way to watch them on my schedule.  Time for the tradition that is National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Ah, the Vacation series.  One of the few film franchises that my dad is a nerd for.  To this day, he still quotes the gag from National Lampoon's European Vacation, where Clark Griswold (as played by Chevy Chase) orders a Coke on the plane.

Flight Attendant:  Would you like it in the can?

Clark:  (looks back at bathroom)  Uh, no.  I'll have it here. 

Dad worked in the much bigger town of Stony Plain, and across the street from his office was one of those big chain video stores.  He wandered over one day on his lunch break and signed up for a membership.  He came home on a Tuesday night (I think it was a Tuesday.  For purposes of this story, let's say he rented it the day it came out) with a copy of Christmas Vacation the day it came out.  Renting movies on a school night?  Someone's trying to be the cool parent!

So, once the homework was done, we sat back and watched Christmas Vacation.  And thus, the first time we saw the saga of the Griswold family Christmas.  

No doubt you've already seen it, as it has become a perennial Christmas classic.  Chevy Chase returns as Clark Griswold, and this time for their vacation, they're hoping to spend a nice, quiet family Christmas at home.  The film is quite episodic, as we see the Griswold family stumble through many holiday standards, like getting the Christmas tree, putting up the Christmas lights, and dealing with the relatives staying for the holidays. 

Watching it again tonight, it's amazing how much talent came out of this film.  Of course, there's the Griswold kids, Audrey and Russ, played by Juliette Lewis and The Big Bang Theory star Johnny Galecki in some of their earliest roles.  And the pretentious yuppie neighbour is Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, before hitting it big on Seinfeld.  Actually, seeing her as the pretentious yuppie is one of the few things that kind of dates the film.  Watching her sip a bottle of water, I thought to myself, "Man, remember when drinking bottled water was considered a pretentious yuppie thing?" 

Since we're talking talent, let's take a moment to point out Mae Questel, playing senile old Aunt Bethany.  Questel was the original voice of Betty Boop way, way, back in the 1930s, and had re-prised the role just the year before in Who Framed Roger Rabbit

And, of course, Randy Quaid steals the show as Cousin Eddie.  You can't get through the holidays anymore without someone quoting, "Merry Christmas!  Shitter was full!" 

And as is the way with such movies, it's only upon multiple viewings that you being to pick up the details.  A couple years ago on Facebook, I was chided for finally noticing that the woman Clark fantasizes about skinny-dipping in his new pool is, in fact, the clerk he attempted to flirt with while out Christmas shopping.  And last night, when the old uncle dismisses the Christmas star as being the lights from the sewage treatment plant, thanks to hi-def, in the darkness, I finally made out the outline of an industrial plant of some kind. 

But anyways.  Another Christmas classic has been checked-off my "must watch" list

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