on June 19, 2015
The movie is a Christmas classic in my house, but the Blu-ray didn't seem any clearer than a DVD. I would probably just buy the DVD, especially if it's cheaper, because then you can playback on more devices.
on November 23, 2013
I have to watch it every year, and it still makes me laugh. I'm glad that I got it, I watch it over and over and I still laugh at the same spots all the time. I have watched it a few times already and it isn't even December yet.
on November 27, 2012
This movie is a classic and a must have.
This particular copy looks amazing in Hi-def (1080p) but I was surprised that it only had 2.0 stereo sound (dolby digital).
I recommend this to anyone. The movie and the price make this, money well spent.
on April 14, 2004
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation was the third film in the Vacation series of films. For many years, the first film has been hailed as a comedy classic, but this one gets plenty of praise as well. Is it one of the better entries in the series, or one of the weaker ones? Read on for my review.
The storyline of the film goes something like this. The Griswalds are staying home for Christmas, and their non-immediate family members are coming to stay with them for the holidays - including cousin Eddie and his family. Yes, believe it or not, this is a Vacation film that doesn't involve the Griswalds traveling! Soon enough Clark Griswald finds himself dealing with both an ungrateful boss, as well as his entire family - which more than has their share of problems.
This film is a masterpiece. I'm even going to go so far as to say this film is as good as the original Vacation. The acting, once again, is great. Like any entry in the Vacation series, you've got to see this one to appreciate it.
The DVD is severely lacking as far as extras go despite the "special edition" tag. We get commentary and trailers, and that's about it. There's really not much other than these things, things that every DVD should have. It's the lack of extras that cost this film half a star, not the film quality itself. Still, the actual film is good, and it makes up for this.
Overall this film is a comedy masterpiece - and don't you dare deny it! If you want to laugh, pick it up. You'll be glad you did.
on December 20, 2015
This has become an iconic Christmas movie and is a must see every Christmas for many families (including ours). If you're uncertain about the benefits of switching from your old DVD version to blu-ray then think no more. At this price this movie is the best deal of the year and one of the few movies in your collection guaranteed to be watched at least once per year.
on April 15, 2004
It's amazing that Chevy Chase wasn't maimed or killed during the making of this movie. I know, there were plenty of stunt players who fell off the roof, crashed through the attic, were flung about into brick walls, etc.---but still! Chevy, who had a well-publicized stint in the Betty Ford Clinic for addiction to painkillers (due to extreme back pain caused by, of all things, his numerous falls on "Saturday Night Live" in the 1970's while spoofing then-President Gerald Ford---how ironic is that???), certainly took on a certain level of risk in reprising his role as the perpetually clumsy, but good-intentioned, WASP patriarch Clark Wilhelm Griswold, Jr. in this, the third installment of the VACATION series by Chase's old comedy troupe, National Lampoon.
Having not seen (as of yet, believe it or not) either VACATION or EUROPEAN VACATION, I was a bit unfamiliar with the main characters; however, CHRISTMAS VACATION got me to know them real fast. I have to admit, I have not been a Chevy Chase fan since the '70's, during and immediately after his SNL days. (Let's face facts, the show made him an instant star, but he was never really one of the funniest members of the Not-Ready-for-Prime-Time Players.) However, I believe that he gives a truly inspired comedic performance in CHRISTMAS VACATION. I'm not even referring to the copious physical comedy he displays. I'm actually talking about his comedic acting! I love the manic energy with which Chase infuses his role, and the crazed look in his eye when his character is pushed over the edge. Beverly D'Angelo, as patient but frequently unamused wife Ellen, provides a good low-key foil for his over-the-top antics. She's well-cast and, I must say, beautiful.
As far as acting talent goes, this film has no shortage in this department. A pre-stardom Juliette Lewis is welcome as Griswold daughter Audrey, and a very young Johnny Galecki is engaging as her kid brother Russell (three years before he was cast as Darlene's lazy boyfriend David on the hit TV show "Roseanne"). We also get memorable performances from E.G. Marshall, Doris Roberts, an unrecognizable Dianne Ladd, and a hysterically funny William Hickey. Rounding out the mix is Randy Quaid as filthy slob Cousin Eddie (who parks his trailer in the driveway), Nicholas Guest and Julia-Louis Dreyfus as the bland and stuck-up neighbors next door, and Brian Doyle-Murray who serves up good moments as Clark's old crabby boss.
The problem with CHRISTMAS VACATION is that, while it does contain some very funny scenes with lots of great, memorable one-liners, it is marred by inferior direction on the part of first-time director Jeremiah Chechik. He tends to interlace the fast-paced physical scenes with long, slow ones that grind the movie to a dead halt every time. While I didn't expect the level of non-stop, lightning-paced zaniness a la AIRPLANE!, these extended slow breaks (that usually focus on a character staring dreamily into the sky) are awkwardly placed and paced, and thereby create an uneven viewing experience. However, John Hughes' smart and wickedly funny script pretty much saves the day. I wouldn't add this to the list of perennial must-see Christmas films (such as A CHRISTMAS STORY or IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE), but CHRISTMAS VACATION does offer a lot of fun for the whole family (except for kids under the age of 10, as the language is well-seasoned with four-letter words). If it does nothing else, this film should make you feel a lot better about your Christmas!
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.
on December 23, 2003
"National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" is one of those real gems -- you get one every five or ten years, a Christmas movie that defines that moment in time and becomes a holiday favorite like "It's a Wonderful Life," "Miracle on 34th Street" and "A Christms Story" before it. Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo reprise their roles from the previous two "Vacation" movies and decide this time to stay home and have an old-fashioned family Christmas. This would not be the Griswold family, of course, if everything didn't go wrong.
The only thing disappointing about this DVD set is that Warner Brothers has the nerve to label it a "Special Edition." While it's certainly a step up from the barebones fullscreen DVD released a couple of years ago, there's still not much here. The only special features are the trailer and a commentary track that doesn't even include Chevy Chase. (C'mon, what's he got to do these days that he's too busy to record a commentary?) This would be an okay DVD release, but it's certainly not "special." Still, it's likely to be the best we'll get, and since I avoided the previous release, I picked this one up because I do love the movie.
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!
on January 12, 2014
I have seen this movie many times so decided to purchase it rather than to wait for it to come on television every year. The audio and video quality of the "copy" of the movie I received was so poor I had to return it. On the bright side, Amazon does make it very easy to return items. I am very pleased with the customer service Amazon provides.