Merry Christmas in July!
The blogathon has had some fantastic guests over the past few days but it is my turn at last. I will be closing out the Christmas in July Blogathon 2020 with the review of the last film I have yet to review on my Fave Five Christmas Movies: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Without further ado, let’s get to it!
If you ask someone to name some of their favorite Christmas films, chances are they will have National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation on that list and it’s not hard to see why. Penned by John Hughes, who also wrote the first two Vacation films, Christmas Vacation has much of the emotion and humor you would expect from the legendary writer. Filled with as many laughs to match the big heart at the center, Christmas Vacation continues to be a holiday season much-watch for me.
One of the aspects of this movie that always brings me back is how it plays on the dysfunction of the family. While all of the previous films in the series play on this too, Christmas Vacation takes it up a notch. The Griswold household is packed full with both sides of the family so there are plenty of shenanigans abound. With so many characters, every personality imaginable is present, which create some wild interactions. However, this high volume of characters also proves to be a detriment as most of the characters introduced are relegated to the background. Other than names and being told the fact that the two sides don’t get along, little information is given about them and they aren’t developed very much either.
Griswold family patriarch Clark (Chevy Chase) continues to be the lovable goofball we’ve come to expect over the course of the franchise. Hugh’s script once again highlights Chase’s sense of humor and deadpan delivery perfectly. Just as well, Beverly D’Angelo as Ellen Griswold continues to be a magnificent counterpart to Chase. The Griswold kids, Rusty and Audrey, are once again portrayed by a new set of actors in John Galecki and Juliette Lewis respectively. This duo is the weakest of the actors to play the Griswold kids in the franchise so far. Neither have many stand out moments and they end up getting lost in the sea of extra characters who aren’t Clark, Ellen, or cousin Eddie.
Speaking of cousin Eddie, I’m so glad Randy Quaid is back! His presence was sorely missed in European Vacation. He has some of the best moments of the movie, especially towards the end of it. Although he might be more of an oddball than Clark, like Clark, his heart is in the right spot, making him a lovable character.
While I do enjoy the core group of characters, what brings me back to Christmas Vacation time and time again is the film’s heart and honest, albeit exaggerated, look at family holiday gatherings. How many times have you been with your family and everybody was bickering or had that one family member who did everything they could to make everything perfect? Hughes’ script fantastically blends all of these elements together, weaving in so much heart and Christmas spirit that you can’t help but enjoy it.
I thought National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation was GREAT 😀 As a Vacation movie, it has all the comedy and emotional heart you have come to expect from the franchise. But as a Christmas movie is where this film is strongest. Riffing on the craziness and unpredictable nature of family gatherings through Clark Griswolds signature antics, Christmas Vacation remains one of the funniest Christmas movies today.
Cast & Crew
Jermiah Chechik – Director
John Hughes – Writer
Angelo Badalamenti – Composer
Chevy Chase – Clark Griswold
Beverly D’Angelo – Ellen Griswold
Juliette Lewis – Audrey Griswold
John Galecki – Rusty Griswold
John Randolph – Clark, Sr.
Diane Ladd – Nora
EG Marshall – Art
Doris Roberts – Francis
Randy Quaid – Cousin Eddie Johnson
Miriam Flynn – Cousin Catherine Johnson
Cody Burger – Rocky
Ellen Latzen – Ruby Sue
William Hickey – Lewis
Mae Questel – Bethany
Sam McMurray – Bill
Nicholas Guest – Todd Chester
Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Margo Chester
Brian Doyle Murphy – Frank Shirley
Natalija Nogulich – Mrs. Shirley
You might not know the name of my guest to the holiday party but you might recognize her. My guest is Milana Vayntrub, aka Lily the AT&T girl.
Milana has been on my guest shortlist for a while now but never quite made the cut. Appropriate that she is at the top of my list this year, given that she has recently returned to the role of Lily. Outside of the AT&T commercials, she has done some smaller roles and is currently the voice of Squirrel Girl in the animated television show New Warriors. Milana has also done some wonderful humanitarian work as well. Truly the complete package.
And that was the final entry for the seventh annual Christmas in July Blogathon! The wrap up post will be posted tomorrow, where you can find a list of all the entries from this year, as well as the entire guest list to our holiday party. See you there!
Until next time, cheers!