I recommend the film National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. I realise that I have missed December, the one month in which it would have been a good idea to post this recommendation. This recommendation is, therefore, a form of New Year’s resolution. It forces me to keep writing content for this blog because if I don’t every visitor will be greeted by an out of date Christmas recommendation.
If you prefer a merrier explanation: I am already excited about next Christmas and hope that you are too!
If you prefer a more honest explanation: I’d already drawn the bloody picture, ok?
On to the film.
I watch this film every single year, without fail. It is a family tradition. You know that it’s a particularly good Christmas film when you own it on DVD. There is absolutely no need to own any Christmas films on DVD.
The film is about the Griswolds, a typical middle American family, and their attempt to have the biggest and best family Christmas possible. This being a comedy, it doesn’t all go to plan. It’s a fairly standard comedy set up, but it just does it right – something that fewer and fewer Hollywood comedies seem to achieve. The set pieces are silly without being outlandish, it’s universally relatable, and the ensemble cast are distinct and specific.
The star of the show is of course Chevy Chase as dad of the family: Clark W. Griswold. Chase delivers a superb comedic performance as the manic family man whose attempts to have a traditional family Christmas are charmingly ludicrous. His altercations with the Griswold’s yuppie next door neighbours are particularly satisfying as he knowingly and unknowingly sticks it to the snooty scrooges. Chase manages to balance ridiculousness with reality as a man you can laugh with but whose stress and sorrow you also feel.
It’s important to note that this isn’t just a Chevy Chase film. He is the protagonist, but it isn’t a Chevy Chase vehicle. Randy Quaid’s appearance as Cousin Eddie provides some of the biggest laughs of the film, and Beverley D’Angelo perfectly portrays the long suffering smile-or-you’ll-cry Ellen Griswold. The film is endlessly quotable and still manages to raise a laugh even on the tenth viewing.
I recently found out that the child actor who plays Rusty Griswold is now Leonard in The Big Bang Theory, presumably it’s all part of an elaborate plan to make MaCaulay Culkin feel better about himself.
Why the hell haven’t I seen Gremlins this yuletide?
Avoid National Lampoons Christmas Vacation 2: Eddie’s Island Adventure it is so fucking awful that it will cause your heart to shrink four sizes and all of the lethal implications that undoubtedly has.
Happy New Year.