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on February 24, 2004
Christmas Vacation has more humorous scenes than any movie short of Airplane and Naked Gun and it's funnier than either of those two movies. As I sit here in February, I can't remember a single scene from Christmas Vacation that wasn't funny, most of them are cracking-up funny.
I've laughed at scenes in only two other movies in my life so hard that it brought tears - the "We're not moving!" scene from The Sure Thing, and the bathroom scene from The Cable Guy. This movie has at least four scenes that genuinely, literally had me out of breath, tears rolling down my face and chest aching from laughing so hard - the attic scene, the main catastrophy scene with Todd and Margo next door, the Aunt Bethany scene (both her gift and her jello) and the squirrel catching scene. The Christmas lights, lingerie shopping, sledding and final scenes are close behind.
Chevy Chase is a comic genious (at least in Christmas Vacation - he's been in plenty of movies with inferior writing, too many, sad to say). No other comedic actor - including such greats as Charlie Chaplin, Laurel & Hardy or the Marx brothers - comes close to being as funny as Chase is with physical comedy.
I've seen two sorts of non-positive reviews for this movie. The first sort comes from people who found this movie too lowbrow for them. It's not sophisticated or dry humor like This is Spinal Tap or Best in Show (both among my favorites, incidentally), nor is it cutesy humor, such in a Hugh Grant romantic comedy. Christmas Lampoon is flat-out, ridiculous humor. It is so poignantly ludicrous, absurd, childish and downright silly that it is hilarious. A lot of other silly humor - Adam Sandler and David Spade movies come to mind - has nowhere near the level of clear focus on the ridiculous and that explains why Christmas Vacation is so funny.
The second group of people are complaining about the "Special Edition" additions to the DVD. Some are explaining that their low ratings are on the DVD, not the movie, and that is fair, while others seem to think that the movie itself is of secondary importance to the special features on the DVD. Now I've not seen the Special Edition (I just jumped to the first result from an Amazon search of "Christmas Vacation"), but what most people are complaining about is the voice-over commentary on the SE DVD. I've probably listened to the commentary on maybe four DVD's out of the hundred or so I've rented or bought, and I really cannot understand how that one feature could make or break the movie so significantly. In my opinion, the commentary, whether it is the best or the worst ever made, can only effect the overall ratings by maybe one star at the most.
Oh, between the laughs, the movie also has a nice Christmas theme of treating everyone well and being generous during the holidays.
In summary, if you can't crack at least a few smiles watching Christmas Vacation, have the paramedics bring the electric paddles, because you have no pulse.
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on June 6, 2013
I bought the BluRay version & watched it this past Christmas, it works perfectly! I can finally watch this without missing parts & getting frustrated by it skipping. I'd initially bought the Special Edition (2003) DVD & it skipped in the same sections every time without fail, unfortunately, I couldn't do anything to fix it, so I bought the BluRay & couldn't be happier!
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on March 1, 2004
Man, is this a funny movie. It has taken the place in our DVD collection along side "It's a Wonderful Life," "A Christmas Story," and "A Charlie Brown Christmas." It has all the right elements for the season: humor, a good storyline, and a lot of holiday spirt. And while I'm not a very big fan of Chevy Chase, he's perfect reprising his role as the befuddled Clark Griswold, trying to keep the relative happy during the holidays.
I'm not going to be saying anything new that the 200+ people have already said regarding the storyline of this movie, but I will pull out a few favorite scenes:
* Randy Quaid as Eddie emptying out his RV's toilet in the street. Eddie steals every scene he's in.
* Clark meeting Eddie's dog Snots for the first time.
* The squirrel attack.
* Uncle Louis catching on fire
The list can go on and one, but so do the laughs with this movie. This is simply just a great holiday film that you can watch anytime the mood strikes. It touches on all that can (and often does) go wrong during the holidays, but it all comes together with a happy ending. Highly recommended!
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on January 30, 2004
This is by far one of the best comedies I have ever seen. This fresh, imaginative comedy can be watched year after year, and the humor never gets old. In fact, Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without the Griswalds!
Although their children are always different, Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo are a perfect match for portraying the campy couple, Clark and Ellen Griswald, who want to have a nice Christmas at home with the family. One disaster after another ensues, and every one of us can relate to something. Has your cat ever chewed on the Christmas tree lights? Ever accidentally taken off an old man's toupee? Spend endless hours putting up Christmas lights and they won't come on?
Of course, no National Lampoon vacation would be right without Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid). Although is brain is on the small side, and his wife and kids are straight out of a trailer park, he has the best of intentions. When Clark describes to the children at Christmas Eve dinner that the newscasts have reported sightings of Santa's sleigh, Eddie wonderingly asks, "Are you serious, Clark...?"
Another great aspect of this movie, is the addition of the snobby, yuppy neighbors, Todd and Margo (Nicholas Guest and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss), whose biggest pet peeves revolve around the lovable Griswalds. You will love to hate this stuck-up couple, and take great glee in watching them suffer the torments piled on by Clark and family. From the blinding light of 10,000 white Christmas lights, to the tree crashing through their window, it is high comedy living next to the Griswalds.
Chevy Chase is truly at his finest in as Clark W. Griswald. This film promises endless laughs, lots of good times and a true classic to be revered for all time.
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on December 15, 2003
If this film is not already a Christmas classic, it will certainly be in that group a few years down the road. Aside from the "Vacation" series, this movie stands on its own legs as a hilarious look into the life of Clark W. Griswold, trying to give his family the great American Christmas.
There are very few slow moments in the film, which contributes to the fact that you can watch it over and over and over again, not getting sick of it (remember - a classic). It is also filled with countless memorable moments and one-liners, almost on par with "Caddyshack."
This film succeeds on two levels of comedy. The first is that it manages to place its characters in funny *situations* as opposed to simply having them try to speak funny lines. This is the mark of a lasting movie. The second level of success is in the humor itself (the dialogue, the one-liners, etc.). It has what it takes to be a classic.
As for the special edition, it's worth it because of the commentary, which includes Randy Quaid (Eddie), Beverly D'Angelo (Ellen), Johnny Galecki (Russ), Miriam Flynn (Catherine), Director Jermemiah Chechik and Producer Matty Simmons. They get off to a rough, slow start, but if you hang in there they eventually get it going. But where's Clark? I was very surprised that Chevy Chase didn't make an appearance on the DVD anywhere, and during the commentary the others spoke about him as though he were deceased. I wonder if there was a little falling out...?
The transfer to DVD is wonderful. The picture quality is great, unlike other recent releases like the special edition of "A Christmas Story" which contains no film restoration whatsoever.
All in all, this is one that you buy. You'll throw it in again and again starting around mid-November, and it will soon become part of your Christmas tradition.
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on November 8, 2003
I'm so glad Warner wised up and re-released this in OAR. It truly is the best Vacation movie and this DVD is miles better than my crappy old pan and scan VHS copy.
With a strong John Hughes script, an ace comic performance from Chase and onslaught of jokes and quotable dialogue this is not only best of the "Vacation" series but one of THE Xmas movies. There certain movies that Xmas cannot be without (Scrooged, Planes, Trains and Automobiles and Gremlins are the others) and this is one of them. Xmas Vacaction is definitely the new 'It's A Wonderful Life'.
This time the Griswolds are staying at home in the snowy suburbs of Chicago and are preparing for the 'best Xmas ever' as Clark has been dreaming of a 'good ol' fashioned family Xmas all his life'. But it's not that simple. The in-laws hate each other, brother and sister are forced to sleep together, there's no Xmas bonus (not a good one anyway) and Hillbilly cousin Eddie (a classic performance from Randy Quaid) imposes in an impromptu 'surprise' visit. It seems like a disaster waiting to happen but there is no waiting; Just disaster, as everything that can go wrong...does. And them some. But the ever-delusional Chase will not let any little mishaps sway his optimism.
The suburban-American Xmas atmosphere is captured perfectly and snow covered scenery gives the impression of a very cosy Xmas. Watch this film during advent, I guarantee it will be to your festive benefit.
The new DVD has an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and has a Dolby 2.0 soundtrack. It's definitely one to get for this time of year.
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on October 10, 2003
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is a movie that never fails to score top marks every time. Even the truly horrible, full screen disc that was released a few years couldnt detract from the movie itself. When a 'Special Edition' was announced earlier this year, I was overjoyed! At last, this classic movie is going to get the teatment it deserves. Two discs, Widescreen, Commentary, trailers, making of, behind the scenes, interviews and deleted footage. But, lo and behold, when the 'Special Edition' arrived at my house, all it contained was the Widescreen version and Commentary. Nothing that would make it a special edition! On both DVD realeases there is a shot of the Griswolds collecting their Christmas tree with the site owner. This scene isn't included even though it was shot! Why include this shot on the packaging if it isn't in the finished movie? And why oh why are there no deleted scenes? If you have the fullscreen edition, it is a worthwhile investment to buy this disc (I can't call it a special edition) if only for the Widescreen element. All in all, Warners still treat this title with the contempt it totally doesnt deserve. And its even in a snap case not the better plastic cases that Warners are supposed to be using now! Hopefully by 2010, we will have disc that we truly can call 'Special Edition'.
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on July 31, 2003
This movie should be mandatory viewing for every household that celebrates any holiday. It is the perfect example of "there is no such thing as the perfect holiday". Every December 15th I sit down with presents to my left, wrapping paper to my right, and turn on this movie as I start wrapping presents. When the movie is over, I re-wind and play it again - and again - and again. I've worn out three VHS tapes, and I'm working on my old DVD version. I plan to get this new WIDESCREEN version as soon as it hits the shelves. It keeps the holiday season in perspective for me - that there really is no such thing as a "perfect" holiday gathering.
Clark W. Griswold wants one thing in life -- The Perfect Christmas. What he gets is an hilarious mixture of uninvited relatives, feuding in-laws, cheapskate bosses, yuppie-neighbors, rampaging dogs, feisty squirrels, insensitive visitors, a dead cat, and one heck of a wild ride on a bobsled!!!
For anyone that has ever wanted to have a perfect holiday, you must see this movie!!! It will keep things in perspective for you.
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on July 23, 2003
Finally, after all this time, Warner Brothers have come to their senses. On October 7th, we will be treated to a heftly helping of one of the greatest Christmas films to ever grace the silver WIDESCREEN.
I was extremely disappointed with the previous DVD release of this film which contained a pan & scan presentation and nothing more than a theatrical trailer in the extras department.
What we have here is a special edition of this great movie, which will contain audio commentary from both Beverly D'Angelo and Chevy Chase, a "making of" featurette, as well as other stocking stuffers which have yet to be disclosed at this present time.
Being a huge fan of this movie, I honestly can't wait for this release. "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" has become a holiday tradition in my home, and to be able to see it the way it was intended to be seen is truly a treat for me.
Aside from the features of the disk, the film itself is the true gift. One of the funniest movies today which still withstands the test of time even 15 years later. The premise is simple. Clark W. Griswold (Chevy Chase) is hell bent on having an old-fashioned family Christmas in his home, relatives and all. Of course, the hilarity kicks in when things start to go awry. There are so many hilarious scenes in this movie, it would be difficult to list them all. You have everything from an electrocuted cat, to a house with the brightest Christmas light display known to man. Let's not forget the dried up turkey, the saucer sled and the dog/squirrel chase! There's so much more I could say to praise this movie, but if you haven't already seen it, [I won't say more]
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on October 27, 2002
I love the entire Vacation series, but this is my favorite. The ensemble cast, all stars in their own right, play off each other perfectly. Chevy Chase is incomparable as the sentimental family man striving to overcome a certain geekiness that makes him both sympathetic and lovable. Doris Roberts (from Everybody Loves Raymond) and Diane Ladd (mother of actress Laura Dern) are the mothers-in-law who, when not squabbling, are complaining about their health problems. The droll Juliette Lewis and Johnny Galecki (David on Roseanne's show) are great as the Griswold offspring. Julia Louis-Dreyfuss and her screen husband "Todd" are the perfect yuppie foils for Clark's escapades. Randy Quaid (Eddie) is arguably the most gifted actor of the bunch - from playing it straight as LBJ to this role as Clark's dimwitted country cousin, Quaid proves no role is beyond his range. Dedicated fans should be able to match the following gems with the characters speaking them: "Get off me you little fungus!" - "I've got hemorrhoids, isn't that terrible!" -"Do you see this mole on my neck? Does it look like it's growing?" - "Don't worry - he's just yackin' on a bone..." Every time I watch this I laugh my behind off. And I definitely agree with Eddie that "It's a good quality item..."
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