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National Lampoon Vacation Movies

post #1 of 144
Thread Starter 
Recently revisited the first 3 and watched the 4th one for the first time.

1. National Lampoon's Vacation: Still a classic and among the best of the series. What I love about the movie is that it is first and foremost an adult comedy. You have random Beverly D' Angelo tits, incest jokes, a dog named snots and his unfortunate fate, cousin Eddie and his family, the whole Wally World sequence, etc. This film works in no small part due to a great script by John Hughes and direction from Harold Ramis.

2. European Vacation: While nowhere as good as the first one, there's still alot to like about this installment. Eric Idle's bicycler, visiting the relatives in Germany, and getting new clothes in Italy. The film is also a case study of how much shit one could get away with in a PG-13 movie back in the day. I was surprised that for the most part, the film is right up there in showing as much skin as the R-rated first installment.

3. Christmas Vacation: This one is hard to rank for me. While I hate that this series morphed into a family franchise with this installment, one can't deny that it's one of the funniest in the series. Pretty much every gag in this movie hits its target. From the Christmas tree to the light show to the return of Cousin Eddy, this movie fires on all cylinders. Sad to say, this would be the last time we'd see this Chevy Chase ever again.

4. Vegas Vacation: If there was ever a premise that would mark the return to its R-rated roots, it would have to be the one of the Griswalds going to Las Vegas. Instead what we have is probably one of the most neutered and safe movies in the series. It's even rated PG. So no skin, no cussing, and no adult situations. None of this would be so bad if the thing (like Christmas Vacation) had some laughs in them. To put this movie in perspective, I laughed more during White Chicks than I did during VV. The sad thing is that if you took the story elements as presented here and let someone like John Hughes write it, this might have been up there with the original and CV in terms of comedy. The material was there but there was nobody at the helm who knew what to do with it.

I know there's a fifth installment in the series called Christmas Vacation 2, but I can't bring myself to watch it. Vegas Vacation did me in. Some things that stuck out for me.....

You can track the neutering of Chevy Chase by watching the Vacation Movies until he becomes a full blown eunich in the last installment. It doesn't seem the guy has a sex drive any more in the last installment.

You can track the neutering of the PG-13 rating during this series. Watching EV recently, I'm surprised this wasn't rated R. While you can tell a few things were toned down, this was much more and R-13 than a PG-13 if you know what I mean. With CV, it's apparent that the things that are allowable with this rating up until today were set in stone by that movie's release.

John Hughes is a national treasure and needs to be making movies again. Come back man. We forgive you for Curly Sue. Chevy Chase and Steve Martin need you now more than ever.

All in all, a good series of movies IF you stop at CV. Heartbreak awaits you if you go beyond that.
post #2 of 144
I have to pretty much agree on all counts. I've never understood the hate European Vacation gets from a lot of people I know. Sure, it's no classic, but there are some great moments.

Vegas Vacation is a movie I kept trying to like (and there are elements in there that should be brilliant but just...aren't) but can't bring myself to. Truly disappointing.

And just fyi, the dog in the first flick is named Dinky. Snots is in Christmas Vacation.
post #3 of 144
You have to love the fact that no effort is made to keep any kind of continuity with the children (Russ is around 16 in the FIRST film, around 12 in 'Christmas Vacation').

Chevy losing it in the car in the first film is still one of his funniest moments. 'You're gonna have so much god-damned fun that you're gonna need plastic surgery to wipe the smiles off of your faces!'
post #4 of 144
Pretty spot-on, Dynamo. I can watch the first two anytime, and they're endlessly quotable. Clark's glasses falling off his face half a piece at a time after the car wreck is one of my favorite sight gags ever. Chase occasionally makes noise about an Australian Vacation, but I'm guessing it's about as likely as The Blues Brothers 3 that Aykroyd has mentioned on occasion.
post #5 of 144
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EnemyoftheStamos View Post
I have to pretty much agree on all counts. I've never understood the hate European Vacation gets from a lot of people I know. Sure, it's no classic, but there are some great moments.

Vegas Vacation is a movie I kept trying to like (and there are elements in there that should be brilliant but just...aren't) but can't bring myself to. Truly disappointing.

And just fyi, the dog in the first flick is named Dinky. Snots is in Christmas Vacation.
Thanks for the correction on that. European Vacation has some classic stuff in it but as a whole doesn't work quite as well as the first or third one. I did like the bit on how polite everyone was when Clark crashed into their cars ("Oh no worries, keep it as a souvenir") and the whole sex tape thing. Plus that whole romantic date Clark and Ellen have with the real "French culture". The movie gets unfairly hated IMO.

In regards to Vegas Vacation, I read on IMDB (not the most reliable of sources) that the original script was much raunchier than what eventually came out. From what I understand, some writers were brought in to tone the movie down so it would be a family comedy. Didn't quite work. But even toned down, there were bits that should have killed.....and didn't. It was as if the producers of Family Matters had a shot at making a Vacation movie. It was zany but had zero wit. Poor Chevy Chase. The guy looks like he's embarrassed to be there. I don't blame him.
post #6 of 144
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Misfit View Post
Pretty spot-on, Dynamo. I can watch the first two anytime, and they're endlessly quotable. Clark's glasses falling off his face half a piece at a time after the car wreck is one of my favorite sight gags ever. Chase occasionally makes noise about an Australian Vacation, but I'm guessing it's about as likely as The Blues Brothers 3 that Aykroyd has mentioned on occasion.
If another "Vacation" movie is made, they need to drop the whole Russ and Audrey are still kids thing. Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo are simply too old to make that work. My fan fic scenario for a fifth vacation movie would be something like a Winnebago trip that Clark takes with his grown children and their spouses. Maybe have John C Reilly as the grown up Russ or maybe Audrey's husband but don't pretend that a 60 year old Chase is the father to a 14 and 18 year old. Also have someone like Judd Apatow or Tina Fey behind the scenes writing and/or directing the thing.
post #7 of 144
I wasn't a huge fan of European Vacation as a kid but I may like it more now. The first one is clearly a classic. Christmas Vacation is just such a Holiday staple at this point that it's a little hard not to love.

I like Vegas Vacation when it came out but I was 13 at the time so I was the audience they were pandering too. I think that's the operative word to describe the whole movie. There was a lot of potential there that they didn't take up on.
post #8 of 144
I used the words "occasion" and "occasionally" in the same sentence. Note to self: proofread more.

Another favorite moment: "That hurt, Ellen."
post #9 of 144
They need a hard R entry now: 'National Lampoons Hedonism II Vacation'. Chevy and Beverly book their second honeymoon in Jamaica without realizing the kind of place that they're staying in. Randy Quaid shows up in his leisure suit as a surprise and tries to get Chevy into the swinging lifestyle.
post #10 of 144
Saw ...Christmas Vacation first (when I was about 6 or 7, I think) and have loved it ever since. It's a massively flawed beast, of course, but it just works.
post #11 of 144
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby Bear View Post
Saw ...Christmas Vacation first (when I was about 6 or 7, I think) and have loved it ever since. It's a massively flawed beast, of course, but it just works.
Hmmm. Never saw it as massively flawed. It's pretty much a perfect Christmas comedy in my book. As a Vacation movie, it's pretty tame but it still makes me laugh hard. Something that can't be said about Vegas Vacation.
post #12 of 144
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Judas Booth View Post
They need a hard R entry now: 'National Lampoons Hedonism II Vacation'. Chevy and Beverly book their second honeymoon in Jamaica without realizing the kind of place that they're staying in. Randy Quaid shows up in his leisure suit as a surprise and tries to get Chevy into the swinging lifestyle.
Well, Vegas Vacation needed to be that entry. How can the most family friendly Vacation movie be set in Vegas of all places? Does not compute. I'll amend my previous idea and say that the next one doesn't need the kids (except maybe in cameos). For a series that's so played out, I have this odd desire to see another if done right with some of today's talent behind the scenes.
post #13 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by dynamotv View Post
Well, Vegas Vacation needed to be that entry. How can the most family friendly Vacation movie be set in Vegas of all places? Does not compute.
I agree with you on this; the watered down movie that we got could have been a great R-rated romp, especially with Russ winning all of the prizes. Where was his 'hookers and blow' moment?
post #14 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Judas Booth View Post
You have to love the fact that no effort is made to keep any kind of continuity with the children (Russ is around 16 in the FIRST film, around 12 in 'Christmas Vacation').

Chevy losing it in the car in the first film is still one of his funniest moments. 'You're gonna have so much god-damned fun that you're gonna need plastic surgery to wipe the smiles off of your faces!'
Not to nitpick, but he says "fucking fun" which makes it that much funnier and R-rated.
post #15 of 144
You're correct, Beldar. Here's the whole rant:

Clark: I think you're all fucked in the head. We're ten hours from the fucking fun park and you want to bail out. Well I'll tell you something. This is no longer a vacation. It's a quest. It's a quest for fun. I'm gonna have fun and you're gonna have fun. We're all gonna have so much fucking fun we'll need plastic surgeory to remove our godamn smiles. You'll be whistling 'Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah' out of you're assholes! I gotta be crazy! I'm on a pilgrimage to see a moose. Praise Marty Moose! Holy Shit!
post #16 of 144
I was thinking more about European Vacation in class today and immediately decided that you have to automatically give it some points for the ol William Zabka factor. Granted, now all I can think about is Clark Griswold dealin' with the Cobra Kai. That would certainly make for an interesting movie.

Christmas Vacation truly is a holiday staple, though. Plus, it's provided my family with plenty of lines to say on various occasion. "It is a bit nipply out" is almost always said around the house when it first starts getting cold. Plus the classic "Shitter was full" which we just like to drop into conversation from time to time.
post #17 of 144
"I like her thin. She eats too much."--William Zabka as Jack.
post #18 of 144
When I was 9 in '85, I was bothered with how ugly and annoying Audrey had developed into between 1 and 2.

Now I feel a little guilty upon hearing that:

She (Dana Hill) suffered from diabetes which stunted her growth and caused major diabetic complications as well as a stroke which caused her death on July 15, 1996. Hill was 32 years old.

Course that makes the Audrey's nightmare all the more twisted.

Holy shit, she played Max on GOOF TROOP.

EDIT: To add... Rusty's fantasy outfit is amazing in EV.

EDIT 2: To also add, that I love Beverly D'Angelo.
post #19 of 144
Thread Starter 
Replacing the kids never bothered me that much. They really weren't well developed characters to start with. I sort of have a soft spot for fat Audrey but the best over all was Juliet Lewis. I also like Anthony Michael Hall as the first Rusty.

One false note to me in the 4th one was Clark's reaction to his son living the high life in Vegas. I was expecting an "atta boy" but instead got a "you are in so much trouble". That's when I knew this was a Vacation film in name only. So much wasted potential.
post #20 of 144
I love European Vacation. Personal highlights:

-The moment on the train where they're all trying to annoy each other
-The AWESOME tits/nipples on that German/Austrian (can't remember which) girl
-"Would you like that in the can?" "*looks around*... No, I'll have it right here."
-Eric Idle
-Russ' fantasy
-"I think he's gonna pork her, Dad" "He's not going to pork her, Russ."
post #21 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeypants View Post
-The AWESOME tits/nipples on that German/Austrian (can't remember which) girl
I can't believe that this scene didn't earn the film an R.
post #22 of 144
They showed CHRISTMAS VACATION last Christmas, and I was surprised by how good and funny it is. That ridiculous Mavis Staples power ballad in the opening credits is now officially THE SOUND OF CHRISTMAS as far as I'm concerned.

The part that always pleasantly surprises me is that Clark Griswold has a real attitude problem. In memory, he's just a bumbling good-natured dad, but when you watch the movies, he's a pathological nutcase.

And CHRISTMAS VACATION has the best version of the kids.

"IS RUSTY STILL IN THE NAVY?"
- confused old grandma
post #23 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Judas Booth View Post
I can't believe that this scene didn't earn the film an R.
It's sexual too, it's not like an innocent nipple slip. If I'm not mistaken, Rusty is caressing them when they cut back to the scene.
post #24 of 144
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul McCartney View Post
They showed CHRISTMAS VACATION last Christmas, and I was surprised by how good and funny it is. That ridiculous Mavis Staples power ballad in the opening credits is now officially THE SOUND OF CHRISTMAS as far as I'm concerned.

The part that always pleasantly surprises me is that Clark Griswold has a real attitude problem. In memory, he's just a bumbling good-natured dad, but when you watch the movies, he's a pathological nutcase.

And CHRISTMAS VACATION has the best version of the kids.

"IS RUSTY STILL IN THE NAVY?"
- confused old grandma
I'd say Christmas Vacation is definitely up there in terms of laughs in the series. I'd say it's even with the first one. Oh and Randy Quaid totally steals that movie. In some ways it plays like a spiritual sequel to Planes, Trains and Automobiles (which I think came out the previous year). My favorite gag of the movie has to be the cat's demise. Such a great scene.
post #25 of 144
Nick Pappagiorgio from Yuma!
post #26 of 144
Clark's best rant:

"Hey. If any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I'd like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the other rich people and I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head, and I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, fore-fleshing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is. Hallelujah. Holy shit. Where's the Tylenol?"
post #27 of 144
Was there an actual reason for replacing the kids in European Vacation?
post #28 of 144
I'm pretty sure Anthony Michael Hall was busy with his Brat Pack career and couldn't do the film so they just recast both the kids.
post #29 of 144
I'm ashamed that no one has mentioned the immortal Lindsey Buckingham's flawless soundtrack hit, Holiday Road, yet. So I will.

Perfect, in context of the movies.
post #30 of 144
People actually like European Vacation?

Wow.

The original is a classic in every way. Best use of Chevy Chase ever. Interestingly, it succedes despite the John Hughes screenplay (the "wrong turn" into the inner-city is the only scene where Hughes' usual suburban racism bleeds thru. Cringe-worthy) Thank you, Harold Ramis.
post #31 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Judas Booth View Post
You're correct, Beldar. Here's the whole rant:

Clark: I think you're all fucked in the head. We're ten hours from the fucking fun park and you want to bail out. Well I'll tell you something. This is no longer a vacation. It's a quest. It's a quest for fun. I'm gonna have fun and you're gonna have fun. We're all gonna have so much fucking fun we'll need plastic surgeory to remove our godamn smiles. You'll be whistling 'Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah' out of you're assholes! I gotta be crazy! I'm on a pilgrimage to see a moose. Praise Marty Moose! Holy Shit!
Followed by Russ laying a hand on Clark's shoulder followed by "Don't Touch!"
post #32 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fat Elvis View Post
The original is a classic in every way. Best use of Chevy Chase ever. Interestingly, it succedes despite the John Hughes screenplay (the "wrong turn" into the inner-city is the only scene where Hughes' usual suburban racism bleeds thru. Cringe-worthy) Thank you, Harold Ramis.
Have you ever been to downtown St. Louis?
post #33 of 144
The unheralded classic,
Christmas Vacation 2: Uncle Eddie's Island Adventure
post #34 of 144
Love Chase's delivery of this line from Christmas Vacation: " Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, kiss my ass. Kiss his ass. Kiss your ass. Happy Hanukkah".
post #35 of 144
I don't care how inappropriate you think the ghetto scene is in Vacation. It ends with somebody spray painting "Honky Lips" on the side of the car, which makes it quite possibly the best scene in film history.
post #36 of 144
I've never seen Vacation. I'm terrified that it'll be like Animal House or Blues Brothers, and I won't like it, yet putting another nail in the coffin of my film taste.
post #37 of 144
Have you seen Fletch?
post #38 of 144
^^what Misfit said. 'Fletch' is a classic and is, in my opinion, Chevy's best movie.
post #39 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Ripoll View Post
I've never seen Vacation. I'm terrified that it'll be like Animal House or Blues Brothers, and I won't like it, yet putting another nail in the coffin of my film taste.
I know comedy is subjective, but Chevy Chase is a different flavor than Belushi. You may enjoy it.
post #40 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobClark View Post
The unheralded classic,
Christmas Vacation 2: Uncle Eddie's Island Adventure
I've actually seen this movie. It's horrible on every possible level and makes Vegas Vacation look like a great film.

I love the first one. It's actually been years since I've seen the Euro one, so I feel like I should revisit it after reading this thread. I remember not liking it that much. I watch Christmas Vacation every December. Vegas is bad, but there are a few things I like. Most of those things involve Eddie. I like when he touches the top of Wayne Newton's hair.
post #41 of 144
I love Fletch. I adore Fletch. Fletch is wonderful.

Is Vacation as good as Fletch? I may need to watch this right fucking now.
post #42 of 144
It's in the same league as 'Fletch', in my opinion. You can probably disregard all of the sequels, though.
post #43 of 144
Chase uses the same energy behind Fletch's confidence to power a hapless suburban dad. You should see this, Ripoll.
post #44 of 144
It's added to thy queue. I'll have to let you folks know how I like it.
post #45 of 144
Please do, Patrick. I'm with you totally on 'Fletch', so I sincerely hope that you like 'Vacation'.

As a side note, I've probably seen 'Fletch' more than any other film. I saw it in the theater when it first came out, and then we killed it in college on almost a weekly basis.
post #46 of 144
Considering the wonky continuity with the kids ages, I was always surprised this desperate series didn't go the inevitable "In Space" sequel route and that we hadn't wound up with National Lampoon's Europa Vacation by now. So when I recently reread Stephen King's short story The Jaunt, I imagined the Oates family as the Griswolds. It has now become the official final entry into the Vacation Saga for me.
post #47 of 144
I was at Best Buy buying a new mouse when I spotted National Lampoon's Vacation/European Vacation Double Feature for a mere 4.99.

Destiny. Destiny. No escaping, that's for me.
post #48 of 144
Thanks for the tip; I was planning on hitting BB afer work anyways.
post #49 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Judas Booth View Post
You can probably disregard all of the sequels, though.
Respectfully disagree. Christmas Vacation hits all the right notes for me.

I can't wait to share Vacation with my kids.
post #50 of 144
That double feature is what they must have been thinking of when they named the store.

I've seen all these films and like them - even Vegas, which is more bland than bad - but I definitely need to revisit. For one thing, I usually watched them with my family when they were on TV, which means I saw edited versions. Apparently that was quite a disservice, especially to European.
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