You know those favorite movies of yours that seem to run on a continuous loop and come on weekly and despite the fact that you’ve seen them over a thousand times you simply can’t look away and have to see them again? “Shawshank Redemption,” anyone?
This coming Monday will mark the 30-year anniversary of the release of one of those very movies in “National Lampoon’s Vacation.” I can’t imagine that sharing the Top 10 reasons to celebrate this American Roadtrip classic would be a spoiler alert for anyone (who hasn’t seen it?) but a happy reminder of why you should see it again so here you go….
10. Christmas Vacation – Without the original, we’d never have this Classic Holiday Sequel (This was actually the “threequal” after “European Vacation”)!! “Where do you think you’re going? Nobody’s leaving. Nobody’s walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We’re all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We’re gonna press on, and we’re gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny f*****g Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white a** down that chimney tonight, he’s gonna find the jolliest bunch of a**holes this side of the nuthouse.” Yes, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” has much in common with the original when it comes to family fun and f-bombs.
9. Holiday Road – The opening song Holiday Road by Lindsey Buckingham has the simplest of lyrics, but the melody and harmonies lock you in and give you immediate confidence that a wild ride lays ahead. The sequence of vintage postcards and old neon signs from Mt. Rushmore to Gator Land accompanying the song also put you in roadtrip vacation mode. Every time I hear that song today it takes me back to the movie and every family vacation roadtrip I’ve ever been on. Chances are it does for you too. Watch, listen, sing along….
8. The Wagon Queen Family Truckster – “You think you hate it now, but wait till you drive it.” I can relate to the Griswold ride as my Pops had a 1971 Ford LTD wagon which was almost identical to the green beast that stereotypical sleazy used car salesman Eugene Levy stuck Clark and clan with. “The “St. Louis Strip” was the first of many priceless scenes for the doomed vehicle as Clark chatted up a local thug asking for directions (Clark: We’re from out of town. Thug: No s***) when he ventured into the wrong part of the city for just a few minutes while hubcaps were ceremoniously removed pit-stop quick before his conversation was ever over.
7. The Bar scene – Not the one where Cousin Eddie offers Clark an opened beer he’d been guzzling while popping himself a fresh can, but the one in rustic Dodge City where Clark provokes the unimpressed bartender he believes is just an Old West actor ; “Hey Knucklehead, set us up with four Red eye’s will ya? Hey, Yellowbelly! Hey tenderfoot, move your chicken wings, turkey! Hey, underpants!” The bartender proceeds to take out a double barreled shotgun and shoot Mr. Griswold…
6. The Motorcycle Cop (James Keach) – Seems as if the family dog “Dinky,” was tied to the bumper by mistake before hitting the highway (kinda Mitt Romneyish) and the exchange between Clark and the Highway patrolman is classic; Clark: “Oh, you can’t think I’d do this on purpose? Look… I tied him to the rear bumper while I was packing the car. It was very confusing. I must have forgot. I’m very sorry, I feel terrible. Cop: “How do you think that little dog feels?” Clark: Look, I told you I was sorry. It really was an accident. Cop (now sobbing a bit): Well, I guess I can buy that, sir. But it is a shame. I had a pooch like this when I was a kid. Poor little guy. Probably kept up with you for a mile or so. Tough little mutt…
Apologies to the dog lovers out there, but keep in mind it was the pre-political correctness era in 1983 when this film was made and no animals were hurt during the filming of this motion picture.
5. Cousin Eddie – The role portrayed in the movie by Randy Quaid as the off-just-a-kilter relative may very well have been an accurate look into the real life future of the actor these days (He believes his life is in imminent danger from Hollywood “Whacker” people). One of the many excellent Eddie/Clarke exchanges in the film; Eddie: “Well, I didn’t want to ask you, Clark, you know, but could you maybe spare a little extra cash? Clark: “Sure, Eddie, how much do you need (pulling out a few small bills from his wallet)? Eddie: About fifty-two thousand dollars.
4. Jenna from “30 Rock” – Yep, actress Jane Krakowski made her big screen film debut as the kissing Griswold cousin Vicki. Much like her character Jenna Maroney on Rock, cousin Vicki likes to experiment with all kinds of fellas as brought to light from this memorable exchange with little Audrey Griswold; Vicki: I’m going steady, and I French kiss. Audrey: So? Everybody does that. Vicki: Yeah, but Daddy says I’m the best at it….
3. John Candy – God, I miss that guy.. Anyway, Candy played the Wally World park security guard who became a hostage and uttered the words that drove Clark Griswold off the deep end when he said “Sorry folks, parks closed. The moose out front shoulda told ya.” One of the classic lines of the film that I never fail to utter when I pull up to any place to find out it’s closed… Don’t you?
2. Christie Brinkley (I know gentlemen, she should be #1, but just put your hormones on hold for once in your life) – The hundreds of facial expressions Chevy Chase exhibited between his first encounter with the Supermodel driving by in her red Ferrari, to the skinny dipping scene at the hotel pool were all Oscar worthy. “This is crazy, this is crazy, this is crazy!!”
1. Best F*****g quote of the movie – “I think you’re all f****d in the head! We’re ten hours from the f*****g fun park and you want to bail out. Well I’ll tell you something, this is no longer a vacation, it’s a quest. It’s a quest for fun. I’m gonna have fun and you’re gonna have fun. We’re all gonna have so much f*****g fun we’ll need plastic surgery to remove our G-Damn smiles. You’ll be whistling Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah out of your a******s! I gotta be crazy; I’m on a pilgrimage to see a moose! Praise Marty Moose! Holy s***! As far as family friendly vacations go, that’s not the best language to be celebrating but the movie was rated R so I digress.
And there you have it. There could really be a “Top 40 or 50 reasons to celebrate,” so in case you haven’t seen this movie, or if you’re going to see it for the millionth time, just turn on the “Shawshank”channel this Monday and you can enjoy it on a continuous loop all day long….
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