Our Holiday Favorites…Hip Hip Hooray for Christmas Vacation
NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION (DVD/1989) For some time during my teenage years, I believe I was a gigantic a-hole. Though my family is far too kind to confirm this, I have many memories of them asking me to join them for outings and deeming myself far too cool (ie, lazy) to join them. One such evening came in 1989, when they decided to see a movie together—a rare event. I remember deciding to stay home in a spontaneous fit of annoyance, then watching them shrug and head out (without even begging me to join them! Not a single tear!). I went through the many stages of teen grief: disbelief, self-righteousness, self-pity, hunger, and finally, stinging regret. Anyhoo, eventually they returned, The Little Mermaid (ew) having sold out, with tickets for National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Having entered the stage of relief/gratitude, I graced them with my presence. Good choices all around!Funnier than the original Vacation and nowhere near as nausea-inducingly grotesque as European Vacation, this is an ideal holiday movie for people who dislike houseguests and yuppie neighbors alike. Chevy Chase’s never-more-impeccable timing is a delight from his first moment on screen, caroling with unbridled enthusiasm in the car, Beverly D’Angelo looks smoking hot (aided by a hilariously ironic Vaseline lens), and Juliette Lewis shines in the role she was born to play—funny-looking whiner. Special props go to Randy “Shitter Was Full” Quaid in his greatest role ever (although his recent stint as “bipolar mumu wearer on a Bonnie-and-Clyde–style crime spree” is also very convincing!). But really, everyone is perfectly cast, and I’m hard-pressed to choose a favorite scene (The squirrel! The turban! Cousin Eddie’s holiday outfit! Where’s the Tylenol?). Each year we watch after Christmas Eve dinner, cackling and grinning wildly at sarcastic asides and pratfalls we’ve watched dozens of times before. And my (delightfully!) conservative parents aren’t even bothered by D’Angelo’s vice-like grip on Chase’s package during the joyous finale. A true Christmas miracle. It bonds us in our slightly lowbrow tastes, and reminds me that my family is kind of awesome (for moving thousands of miles away from all relatives).