Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas Movie Marathon Day 27

           I'm trying something different to get in the holiday spirit this year. Every day, from now through Christmas, I will be watching a different Christmas movie or television special. I have compiled the list of features ahead of time and am drawing one, at random, from my Christmas stocking everyday to determine what gets watched. Thank you for joining me in this endeavor. Here we go with day twenty-seven! What will it be?

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)

          Released in 1989 this film quickly became a holiday classic. I know that my family used to watch it nearly every Christmas. At some point we burned out on it and took a number of years off. We started watching it again a few years ago and, I have to say, I think I like it more now as an adult than I did as a child or teen. Let's see if that trend continues.


           National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is fairly light on plot. A large portion of the film is simply vignettes that use heightened versions of the family tensions that we have all experienced around the holidays to deliver a good dose of hilarity. In terms of connecting story threads there are really only two. First, Clark Griswold is doing everything in his power to make sure that his family has the perfect old-fashioned family Christmas. The bickering of his in-laws and the unexpected appearance of his wife Ellen's cousin Eddie make this difficult and wear on his nerves but Clark keeps it together. As stated, the tension between Clark simply trying to make Christmas the best it can be and the actions of everyone else seemingly working against that goal drives the majority of the film.

This film gave me unreasonable expectations for Christmas lighting displays.

           The other plot thread that runs through the whole movie involves Clark's planned gift for the whole family. He is planning on putting in a swimming pool. However, to ensure that construction can begin as soon as the ground is not frozen he has had to put money down and he is counting on his annual Christmas bonus to cover the check he wrote. Christmas gets closer and closer and no bonus has arrived. Finally, a messenger shows up at the house and delivers what is thought to be the bonus. Instead it turns out that Clark's company has changed policy and in lieu of a bonus he has been enrolled in a jelly of the month club. Clark finally snaps at this reveal and suggests that all he wants for Christmas is his boss dragged to their house so he can give him a piece of his mind. Eddie takes this seriously and kidnaps Clark's boss. The SWAT team arrives at the Griswold house but Clark's boss has seen the errors of his ways reversed his decision on bonuses and no charges are pressed. Christmas has worked out just fine, even if it didn't go quite as planned.

This isn't typically how a holiday gathering culminates.

Final Thoughts

           So, it is the case that this film continues to ring truer to me now than it used to. Maybe it is the fact that I get all of the jokes now that used to go over my head. Perhaps it is that I can relate to more of the adult worries that come with the holidays in a way that I used to be able to. Either way this film is fun for me again. Tastes can change and I am glad that I have swung back around on this one. I don't have much else to say on it other than that it is weird to see Chevy Chase actually being funny. He does that so rarely these days. Join me tomorrow for day 28. If you've stuck around this long it would be a shame to quit now.

Being unfunny isn't surprising for somebody once labeled by Bill Murray as a "medium talent".

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