Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Guest Post: Memories of Christmas Vacation, the Movie

So I had some technical difficulties with my computer in the morning and it made me completely space that I had an absolutely wonderful guest post planned for yesterday. Since it's better late than never, I'm proud to host Jessi from The Elliott Review here at The Shady Glade today. Jessi has a post about one of her favorite Christmas movies, so without further ado, take it away Jessi!

To me, the quintessential Christmas movie is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Back in the 1990s in my middle school years when I discovered it, it was the perfect blend of Christmas magic and quirky, off-color humor that my little juvenile heart desired.

I watch this at least once every Christmas season, transported back to my younger years. Each year I am able to relive all of my favorite, quotable parts and notice different things that perhaps didn't strike me as so funny when I was younger. In this year's rewatching, I was shocked to realize that I quote a lot of things from this movie all year long when the appropriate occasion arises.

Here are my top ten moments from the movie:

10. Clark goes Christmas shopping at the lingerie stand.

The sales girl is (for the 80s, I suppose) a looker, and Clark gets a little flustered in talking to her - so much so that Freudian slips pepper everything he says. He's so enamored that he doesn't even realize his son is standing there listening to most of his interactions with her.

9. The family goes Christmas tree hunting.

Due to Clark's perfectionism, they must find the best tree out in the middle of nowhere in sub-zero temperatures, and he refuses to stop even when his daughter's limbs start to progressively go numb until her eyes are frozen to the point she can't see. This is vaguely reminiscent of one of my family's Christmases together when we lived up north. That outing somehow ended with my sister in the car putting gloves on her feet.

8. The Chesters, the yuppie couple that lives next door.

This couple cracks me up. When I was younger I remember thinking their house was so modern and up-to-date looking. Now it cracks me up with the sheer 80s-ness it possesses. This poor couple just can't get over their own sense of importance, and unfortunately they have their holiday ruined by the Griswolds - a tree coming through the window, a huge chunk of ice destroying their "high tech" radio, lights blinding them in their tender moments, a squirrel jumping on her, and so much more...

7. Gross Cousin Eddie and family.

Randy Quaid plays the gross, uninvited cousin WAY too well. I find myself staring at him in shock every time he is on screen. His disgusting outfits and hair style and random bulges disgust me, but they are hilarious, too. With his RV sewage, disgusting dog that likes to hump people, white sweater with a black turtleneck dickie underneath, Cousin Eddie steals the scene every time he is in it. But not in a good way.

6. Christmas Dinner Disaster.

If having both sets of parents in the house and Cousin Eddie's family in the RV for an extended period of time wasn't enough, the REST of the family gathers for a Christmas Eve that ultimately makes Clark go berserk. Uncle Clark's toupe comes off with his hat, and his cigar smoking makes the dried out Christmas tree ignite. Aunt Bethany accidentally wrapped her cat in a box as a present. The perfect looking turkey deflates.

5. The SWAT team breaks into the house.

When the poo hits the fan due to Cousin Eddie ("he was a huge, beastly, bulging man") kidnapping Clark's boss, the SWAT team descends on the Griswold house, destroying it by randomly kicking out the windows and breaking in the door despite the fact they never actually knocked on it in the first place. When they tell everyone to freeze, everyone is in the craziest position.

4. The storm drain blows up.

Again, thanks to Cousin Eddie, at the end of the movie the storm drain is filled with sewer gases that have been festering and Uncle Lewis's stogy misplaced - and BAM! Plastic reindeer fly through the sky across the moon, giving the impression that Santa is flying past.

3. The flying squirrel scares them all.

After the Christmas tree explodes, Clark goes ballistic and chops down a tree from the neighbor's yard, not considering the fact that it is also a home to a flying squirrel. The family then goes ballistic, frantically fleeing from the poor little critter. It always amazes me that people are that scared of the poor little squirrel because I love it!

2. Clark's light hanging fiasco.

Clark completely overdoes his exterior lighting decoration by coating the house in a thick layer of twinkling lights and then, at the special moment they are all supposed to light up, nothing happens. Frustrations galore erupt at this point, especially when the father-in-law makes caustic comments about it not working out. My favorite, favorite, favorite part in this section of the movie is when Clark attacks the plastic Santa and reindeer, kicking them and cursing rabidly. To this day, my family calls any house that is excessively decorated a "Griswold house."

1. Clark makes his special Christmas request.

"Ah, 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..." My all-time favorite memory about this movie watching it with my best friend and continuously rewinding and absorbing parts that we thought were hilarious. THE part that we loved the post was toward the end when Clark flips out because he doesn't receive his Christmas bonus. We were fascinated by the long, colorful name he bequeaths his boss at the time, rewinding and rewinding until we were able to copy down the whole diatribe and memorize it for future reference.

Again, thanks to Alyssa for allowing me to ramble on about my happy memories regarding this movie...


M.A.D. said...

Mary D

Christmas Vacation has long been one of my family's favorite holiday movies! From Randy Quaid to Chevy Chase, it's a perfect all-star cast! I think the most hilarious part is the crazy aunt and uncle :D

Anonymous said...

This movie, along with A Christmas Story are my favourites. :)