National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
I haven’t asked her lately, but there’s a fair chance that National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is my sister’s favourite Christmas movie. It’s not bad, and it’s fine to stick on in the background while you’re hanging your decorations or dressing your tree, but compared to some other seasonal comedies, it’s a little stale and uninspired.
The Vacation series of movies is a strange beast. Each one follows the Griswold family as they set about (unintentionally) ruining each of the movie’s titular holidays, so you know exactly what you’re getting into here, even if you’ve never seen one of these minor eighties classics.
Clark: 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 cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is! Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where’s the Tylenol?
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is far from the funniest movie out there. It’s not even the best movie in its own franchise, let alone the entire festive genre, and Chevy Chase’s acting and delivery has always felt a little on the cardboard side, but if you’re in the mood… it is probably the most accessible and family friendly of the whole bunch.