May 25, 2016
National Lampoon's Vacation.
Review #804: National Lampoon's Vacation.
Chevy Chase (Clark Griswold), Beverly D'Angelo (Ellen Griswold), Imogene Coca (Aunt Edna), Anthony Michael Hall (Russell "Rusty" Griswold), Dana Barron (Audrey Griswold), Randy Quaid (Cousin Eddie), Christie Brinkley (Girl in Red Ferrari), John Candy (Russ Lasky), Eddie Bracken (Roy Walley), Brian Doyle-Murray (Kamp Komfort Clerk), Miriam Flynn (Cousin Catherine), James Keach (Motorcycle Cop), and Eugene Levy (Ed) Directed by Harold Ramis (#138 - Bedazzled, #208 - Caddyshack, and #342 - Groundhog Day)
[Skip to the second paragraph if you don't want to read a recollection of the past]
It has been a while since the last Lampoon film I watched (#771 - National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation), so I figured that this would fit with summer coming right up. From personal experience, I remember when me and my dad decided to drive all the way to Oregon years back (and vice versa). I was 14, but even with the problems that occurred (spark plugs problems, having to drive right straight through California* because we drove too far to the left in Arizona), it was still fun, if not with a few hurdles.
With this movie, I can relate to the frustrations of trying to have some fun on a vacation, but I also can have some laughs, which is what helps the movie, alongside a wonderful cast. Chase and D'Angelo have great chemistry along with good timing, coming off as natural, if not beleaguered. Chase does a great job selling this character, who clearly wants to have fun with his family, and it is fun (if not odd) to watch him gradually get more and more frustrated. It's an episodic kind of movie, expressed through their stops to different towns from St. Louis to Coolidge to (somewhere in) Arizona, all with a Wagon Queen Family Truckster, which is a great ugly car, complete with four headlights and wood paneling that would make a lumberjack blush. The music selection (Holiday Road, Blitzkrieg Bop) are also pretty good, fitting the movie well. Hall and Barron are also pretty good, making perfect examples of kids on a road trip, a weird road trip at least. The rest of the cast are also pretty memorable, such as Quaid and his bumpkin of a character that certainly endears to people who get to deal with at least one quirky relative every so often. There's a certain charm this movie has in that one can relate to (and giggle) with the experience in the movie, such as when they finally reach their destination, Walley World. Not to spoil much, but let's just say that it serves as a fine climax, complete with John Candy being added to the fray. For anybody looking for a vacation movie with all the stops of fun (and misery), I'd check this one out.
*Note: Nothing against California, which actually was pretty decent, if not a big state to go through. My highlight? Getting to drink Mr. Pibb for the first time. Hey, I was 14, give me a break.
Overall, I give it 9 out of 10 stars.