What To Watch: “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”

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The Griswolds hosting an unforgettable family Christmas (Courtesy of facebook.com/LampoonsChristmas)

Tis the season for spending time with family, caroling, gift-giving and putting up massive amounts of Christmas lights on top of your house and making it look a multicolored light bulb. Yet again, your father is not Clark Griswold.

The Griswolds are back. Christmas is only a few  weeks away and quirky father, Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase), thinks it is high time he and his family got into the holiday spirit. What could go wrong?

The first step into Clark’s plan is to get a Christmas tree, so he gathers wife Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo), son Russ (Johnny Galecki), and daughter Audrey (Juliette Lewis) to do so. Piled into their Ford Taurus, the family heads out to the country to find the perfect tree.

After finding a tree, Clark realizes he had forgotten to bring an ax or saw. This entails the entire family effort to pull the tree out of the snow covered (and frozen ground). Great start to the holiday season.

With the tree haphazardly tied to the roof of their car, they head back home. Soon enough, Ellen’s parents arrive only to annoy the Griswolds with their incessant complaining.

Somehow, Clark manages to be in good spirits with thoughts of a “good old-fashioned family Christmas.”

Now comes the most famous scene in the film. What is Christmas without Christmas lights on your house? Clark answers this by stringing up massive amounts of lights that fluctuate from working to not working.

With the lights working (somewhat) Clark takes a moment to admire his handiwork. At this moment he sees the end to Christmas as the Griswolds know it.

Ellen’s cousins, Catherine (Miriam Flynn) and Eddie (Randy Quaid) have arrived, unannounced, with their own children.

The more the merrier, right?

Christmas is quickly approaching. This usually means bosses hand out yearly bonuses. but for Clark Griswold it means his boss is holding tight to his money.

The  bonus, that Clark needs, will be put forward to the family’s pool that he is planning to purchase after winter.

After a disastrous (but hilarious) Christmas Eve dinner, Clark finally receives the “bonus” from his boss.

But what’s this? A membership to the Jelly Of The Month Club? Not the cash bonus? Clark snaps. He goes on a tirade about his wonderful boss.

With the bonus nonexistent, Clark is forced to find a last minute Christmas “present” that will replace the pool.

Clark and Eddie hatch a plan to insult Clark’s boss. Eddie takes it upon himself and  kidnaps Mr.Frank Shirley (Brian Doyle-Murray).

Eddie arrives back at the Griswold’s home with Mr.Shirley, who explains to Ellen and Clark that the company scrapped the idea of bonuses.

A SWAT team enters the home and hold the entire family at gunpoint. Mr.Shirley decides to drop the charges and gives Clark his bonus. With an additional 20 percent.

Clark promptly passes out from shock.

With Christmas Day in a few hours, Russ and Audrey claim to see Santa Claus. This turns out only to be a light from the sewage plant, as Cousin Eddie states.

Clark is reminded of and incident earlier when Cousin Eddie was dumping his RV’s sewage into the city sewers. In which he left the sewer top off.

Before Clark can do anything, Cousin Eddie tosses a match aside after lighting a cigarette. The Griswolds are thrown onto the ground after a massive explosion.

The family begins to hum the Star Spangled Banner while looking at the Clark’s Santa and Reindeer set. A strange smile crosses as Clark lies sprawled out on his front lawn.

“I did it” he says, referring to having a “good old-fashioned family Christmas”.

If you intend on celebrating Christmas, or any holiday, give this film a watch. It just might  inspire you to have a “good old-fashioned family Christmas” of your own.

 

 

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