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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Well where should I start?
This film rates as one of my all time favourites. For the past thirteen or so years I have played this over and over again.... and that's not just at Christmas time. Thank goodness the DVD has finally come out on sale cos my video of it has seen better days.
The film still leaves my brother and I in stitches even though we know it word...
Published on 19 Sep 2003 by david williams

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars best for kids
I bought this film as a prominent TV presenter said how funny it was.
Yes.. I suppose it was funny, but much more aimed at childrens sense of humour, it just wasn't realy my sort of funny.
I would recommend it for children definatley.
Published 6 months ago by pat


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It truly is a Wonderful Life!, 4 Dec 2002
By 
Gael (Glasgow United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Okay, forget 'A Christmas Carol', forget 'It's a Wonderful Life', National Lampoons Christmas Vacation has got to be the ultimate in Christmas mayhem movies. One to make you weep with laughter and cringe unbearably at the various antics of Clark W Griswald! From start to finish you can't help but laugh, even the opening credits are worth watching! And I think it's safe to say that everyone will feel that their Christmas was a glowing success after watching this film!
There really are too many great bits to mention, but look out for picking the christmas tree, puting up the lights and how can anyone forget the sledging incident - later dudes! It's a must for any Christmas!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hysterically Funny--Watch it every Christmas!, 14 Feb 2011
By 
Kathy W (Baltimore, MD, USA) - See all my reviews
Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Randy Quaid, Julia Louise-Dreyfus and other familiar faces star in this fantastic comedy about getting the family together to celebrate the Christmas holiday. This is truly one of the funniest movies I have ever seen and although it is relatively new (1989), it is truly a Christmas classic that families will want to watch together year after year. If you are familiar with the other Griswold movies ("Vacation" -at Wally World, and "European Vacation"), they are all pretty darned funny (except the "Vegas Vacation". I didn't think that one was very funny.)

The magic begins with Clark Griswold (Chevy), his wife xxx (Beverly), and his children Rusty and Audrey driving out to the country to a cut-your-own-Christmas tree farm. The antics begin immediately and are pretty much non-stop laughter all the way through the entire movie. As you can imagine, there are some problems with the Christmas tree once they get it home.

Clark is a brilliant food additive salesman, a good-hearted family man and father, but is a little "challenged" when it comes to doing some things around the house. Watching him decorate the outside of the house with 25,000 Christmas lights as he staples himself to the roof and almost falls off it is interesting, but then, how many people use a staple gun to hang their outside Christmas lights? It's also an electrician's nightmare.

This year, Clark just wants to get the whole family together for a gala Christmas celebration at his house while he is anxiously awaiting his Christmas bonus check. Of course, Clark's parents and xxxx's parents are both invited over (this is a sleep at the house get together), and the 2 mothers don't exactly adore each other. Uncle xx and Aunt xxx finally arrive. She's a little ditzy and does strange things, like wraps the cat as a Christmas present. Then cousin Eddie, his wife, the 2 kids and their Rotweiler named "Snots" (guess why) show up unexpectedly in a beat up RV that barely made it to Clark's house. Eddie is a good hearted soul, but both his oars are usually not in the water at the same time, if you get my drift, and Eddie has been out of work for 7 years now. His bait selling business is not doing well either.

This movie has scenes like a squirrel getting loose in the house and reeking havoc, the cat chewing on tree wires, and cousin Eddie emptying the RV's septic tank in the sewer system. That's not all either!

Julia Louise Dreyfus is excellent as a yuppie neighbor. The part of her and her movie husband or significant other although fairly small, is interwoven nicely in and out during the movie.

The script writers of this movie, as well as all the actors, did a SUPERB job. This movie, filmed in Colorado, is chocked full of dry humor as well as rip-roaring laugh-your-butt-off moments.

Throughout almost the entire movie, Clark stays upbeat even though things are going wrong at every turn. His enthusiasm and persistence to have a great family Christmas experience is certainly refreshing. A few times it gets a little hard to continue on but he still snaps back, no matter what happens. The movie wraps up with messages about the importance of family at Christmas, the importance of a company appreciating its employees, and the importance of forgiveness and understanding.

If you have children who want to watch, you should know there is some limited language, usually sxxx. Fxxx is used once or twice for emphasis. There are also some instances of fairly light adult humor, such as a reference made to the way the dog is "hung". If they are young, watch it yourself first and then decide, but DO watch it. It is hysterical!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just your typical Griswold Christmas celebration/disaster, 22 Dec 2006
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
All too often, I have found the words "National Lampoon's" to be synonymous with "not funny," but National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is actually a pretty entertaining film. Christmas at the Griswold's turns out just like you would expect it to, with Clark (Chevy Chase) trying to persevere in the face of one disaster after another. With the whole family coming over, he wants everything to be perfect - from the Christmas tree he finds and cuts down (er, digs up) himself to the thousands of lights he staples all over the house. He's not completely stupid, though - he knows his parents and his wife's parents are going to argue throughout the holidays, that his wife and kids aren't all that excited about sharing Christmas with the rest of the family, and that Aunt Bethany couldn't get back in the loop even if she knew where to find it, but he's determined to make this the best Christmas ever.

Of course, there are a few things Clarke wasn't counting on: countless problems getting all the decorations up and working, the unexpected arrival of cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) and his backwater brood in their junky RV, or the unwelcome visits of the aptly-named Snots the dog and a special Christmas squirrel. Then, of course, there's the cat-related tragedy, the Christmas bonus bugaboo, and that whole police raid.

The filmmakers brought together a really good cast for this film. Beverly D'Angelo is Clarke's perfectly understanding wife, while Johnny Galecki and a young Juliette Lewis play the long-suffering Griswold kids. The in-laws include Doris Roberts and E.G. Marshall, while Randy Quaid is perfectly cast as crude cousin Eddie. You even have Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a neighborly victim of all the Griswold Christmas cheer and yet another SNL alum, Brian Doyle-Murray, as Clarke's boss at work. With John Hughes, who could almost do no wrong back in the 1980s providing the script, it makes for a pretty simple recipe for comedic success.

This movie never managed to make me laugh out loud, but it is consistently amusing and entertaining. It's not like you could pack any secret laughter bombs the audience would never see coming because the audience knows exactly what kind of slapstick humor to expect. Still, it's the simple things, such as Aunt Bethany's blessing of Christmas dinner, that prove to be the funniest. I might also add that the gross-out humor is kept to something of a minimum, thank goodness. I won't be making this film a part of my annual Christmas tradition by any means, but it's certainly worth one viewing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BUY IT NOW, 15 Dec 2005
By A Customer
What can I say, its funny, its enjoyable its EVERYTHING you would want for Christmas.
The BEST Lampoons film EVER, you just cannot get a better Christmas film, with this much side ripping, face cracking laughter and enjoyment.
Everything about this film is good, quality, extras, sound, EVERYTHING.
If you love Christmas, BUY this film!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 2nd best of the Vacation series, 27 Nov 2003
By 
K. Parkes (Sydney, NSW Australia) - See all my reviews
I rate this as 2nd best of the Vacation series (the original being the best). A couple of things to be aware of with the DVD however. It doesn't have the commentary featuring the cast (minus Chevy Chase), director & producer that's available on the R1 DVD and the film was cut by 2 seconds to get the PG rating in the UK and the DVD appears to be the same. If you want the uncut version plus the commentaries the R1 version is the way to go.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Christmas movie of all time!!!, 21 Nov 2007
By 
Neil Shaw (Northern Ireland, UK.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation [Blu-ray] [1989] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
The best Christmas movie of all time,... now on Blu-ray..... can it get any better!!!!.... Didnt think so. If you have never seen this, then the best part of Christmas is still to come,.... you HAVE to have this. This is as much a part of Christmas in our house, as the tree,.. the decorations or anything else. If you have seen it then watch it this Christmas... and the next one,.. and the next, and the next......
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Christmas Tradition, 24 Dec 2013
By 
prisrob "pris," (New England USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
Clark Griswold, played by Chevy Chase, has become the man we think of when we think of screwed up Christmases. What he wishes for his family, is that they have a good time. And, what happens is one misadventure after another, all humorous. He is able to bring chaos with his adventures.. His wife, played by Bervely D'Angelo is loving and his children are used to him.

Instead of the Griswolds going on vacation, their relatives come to visit them. What a crew,the in-laws hate each other, the crazy cousin is really crazy and has no money. The aunt and uncle have dementia and the aunt wraps the cat as a gift. Griswold covers the house with100,000 lights, and can't figure out how to turn it on. The neighbors are really going to move after this week, one thing after another occurs to them. The Griswolds try to provide a nice Christmas and all the relatives want one, but things just happen, continuously.

This is a funny series, and most families seem to enjoy the absurdities of life with the Griswolds. We see a little bit of ourselves. It becomes a Christmas tradition.

Recommended. prisrob 12-24-13
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic brilliant family Christmas film., 28 Nov 2013
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Christmas isn't Christmas without a classic family film. This is that film. Loved by everyone from 5-105 yrs. You can watch it over and over and never tire of it. If you haven't seen it then treat yourself this year.

"You surprised to see us, Clark?" - Eddie (Randy Quaid)

"Oh, Eddie... If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am now." - Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clark: "I dedicate this house to the Griswold Family Christmas". Ellen: "`Welcome to our home - what's left of it.", 25 Dec 2012
This review is from: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation [Blu-ray] [1989] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
First off, let's get the technical Blu-Ray stuff out of the way. Warner Brothers have released some truly lackluster editions of the "Vacation" series, and unfortunately "Christmas Vacation" is no exception. The "Ultimate Edition" Blu-Ray copy released in 2009 featuring the newer, green jewel case is the exact same copy (with only the blue color case changed) that Warner Bros. released in 2006.

The picture quality never really becomes alive like you would expect from a Blu-ray, and is rather drab to say the last. The 1.85:1 non-anamorphic print is about the same as the Special Edition, and there isn't the same amount of crispness and clarity that should be present for a high definition transfer. Several sequences suffer from some rather dark video, and the audio is the Dolby Digital 2.0 Stero track from the original DVD releases. Subtitles and mono tracks are available in French and Spanish.

Special features include a full length audio commentary by Jeremiah Chechik (director), Beverly D'Angelo (Ellen Griswold), Miriam Flynn (Cousin Katherine), Johnny Galecki (Rusty Griswold), Randy Quaid (Cousin Eddie), and producer Matty Simmons. Notably absence is Chevy Chase. The commentary isn't that revelatory but is passable as far as commentaries go. For all the complainining about Chase not being on the commentary, this group commentary is miles [infinitely] better than the "European Vacation" commentary, which ONLY featured Chase. Matty does reveal the studio nearly cut the fried cat scene, and only due to postive reaction from test audiences were they able to keep that in the movie.

That leaves us with the physical merchandise: four coasters, "I Survived A Griswold Family Christmas" pin, a Santa hat, a small bag of snow powder ????, and a cheap plastic replica of the moose mug Clark and Eddie drink eggnog from. Personally I wouldn't recommend getting the more expensive Blu-Ray versions of this movie - just pick up the cheaper editions. You're pretty much getting the same product minus the physical merchandise. Then again, who WOULDN'T WANT a small bag of fake snow powder and a cheap plastic Marty Moose mug? That being said, let's move onward to the review.

"I don't know what to say, except it's Christmas and we're all in misery." No words were more aptly spoken. After the rather disappointing misfire of "European Vacation", John Hughes and Chevy Chase return Clark W. Griswold to his former glory. Hilarious, extremely relatable, and just as good as the original "Vacation", "Christmas Vacation" is one of those instant secular Christmas classics that become a tradition for so many families, just like "It's a Wonderful Life" and "A Christmas Story" (a movie that personally I abhor).

The movie features classic performances from Beverly D'Angelo, Randy Quaid, Miriam Flynn, the in-laws, and the two Griswold children. Brian Doyle-Murry (Bill Murray's older brother) also returns to the franchise as Frank Shirely, Clark W. Griswold's boss. He appeared in "Vacation" in a brief scene as a Kamp Komfort clerk. Doris Roberts (who plays Marie Barone on my all time favorite sitcom, "Everybody Loves Raymond") plays Frances, Ellen's mother. Also a pre-Seinfield Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, along with Nicholas Guest, plays a rather yuppy, above it all couple by the names of Margo and Todd Chester who operate as a foil to Clark's outlandish behaviors. They find Christmas cliche and are not observant of any holiday traditions. Naturally they find it difficult living by the Grisworlds, and throughout the course of the film encounter several obstacles and even extensive property damage.

Like the original "Vacation", why "Christmas Vacation" has become such an endurable holiday favorite is its relatability. John Hughes was truly an absolutely hysterical guy, but he crafted his films and scripts in such a way that people from various walks of life can watch his films and instantly identify with the mad-cap hysterics taking place on screen. Yet both the aforementioned Vacation movies transcend mere slapstick into something deeper. Also notable is this is the only vacation movie that is set in Chicago wholly, as the Griswolds not traveling but rather staying home for Christmas.

Like "Vacation", "Christmas Vacation" shows Clark W. Griswold as an over-idealistic sentamentalist who just wants to give his family the best Christmas vacation ever, despite his zany, over the top antics and the "threshold of hell" that so frequently occurs. We've all been in family gatherings that have gone ary. Everything that goes wrong pretty much does, from a fried pussy cat, a burning Christmas tree, overbearing relatives, malfunctioning decorations, and bad relations with your neighbors. Yet despite all his difficulties, ultimately Clark W. Griswold prevails in treating his family to a great Christmas vacation.

The real strength of both "Vacation" and "Christmas Vacation" is that, at its heart, we see the Clark truly wanting the best for his family, and though the Griswolds are long suffering, ultimately they know the meaning of family unity and togetherness. Hughes is a sentimentalist, and as both this film and "Home Alone" show, like Dickens' Ebeneezer Scrooge, he knows Christmas and keeps it well.

As this is more of an adult comedy under the National Lampoon moniker, "Christmas Vacation" does feature some racier elements. While there is no nudity like the first two films, there are numerous profanities scattered throughout, including the infamous "We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny f---ing Kaye!" Audrey also tells her mother she has nightmares about what Rusty does alone in his bed at night when she is not lying in bed next to him (referring to masturbation). When Eddie arrives, he talks to Clark about how big the dog's testicles are, and says he has some "Mississippi Leg Hound". Eddie tells Clark that if the dog begins humping his leg, he should allow the dog to continue until climax and then clean off his jeans from the dog's . . . sex cells.

Also continuing a character thread from the first film, we see that Clark not only flirts with a store clerk he meets early on in the film, but has an elaborate fantasy regarding the clerk Mary naked in a swimming pool midway through. The film shows Mary getting out of the pool in a head and neck shot, but before her breasts are seen Ruby Sue, Eddie's daughter, comes in and interrupts Clark's fantasy. There is also an extended shot of Eddie dropping raw sewage into Clark's sceptic system.

The film opens with Clark, with family in tow, going out to pick out a Christmas tree. One notable mention is this opening sequence mark's the film's ONLY reference to Jesus Christ, the true reason for the season. There are no nativity scenes or other religious referneces, etc, which is somewhat strange given the overtly religious nature of the origin for Christmas. Even Kevin McCallister in "Home Alone" (another John Hughes movie, made a year after "Christmas Vacation") hides in a nativity scene and goes to church. Clark and his family memorably have an almost horrible wreck with some rednecks and gets lodged under a semi, before taking out a the Christmas lot sign. Given Clark's driving record, he most have some truly expensive auto-insurance policies. Upon arrival, they wander off into the woods, where Clark finds an enormous tree which he is adamant is the Griswold Family Christmas Tree! Bringing no saw, Clark uproots the tree and drives the tree home, roots and all, strapped to his family truckster from the first film.

The first half of the film sets up Clark and Ellen preparing for Christmas and the arrival of the in-laws. So many of us can relate to those awkward family gatherings, and the Griswolds are no exceptions. Roger Ebert in his review from 1989 critized the movie for the way Hughes handles the inlaws, saying they functioned more as a homogenous unit and serve as a backdrop to Chevy Chase's antics, much like the majority of the dwarves blending seamlessly into the background in Tolkien's "The Hobbit". The in-laws never really distinguish themselves or make themselves notable in the script.

I disagree rather strongly with this assessment. While the main focus is indeed on Chase, there are many moments involving the in-laws that are not only quite funny but often quite realistic. Hughes writes with an economy befitting an hour and a half comedy; he gets every bit that he can from both sets of grandparents and Uncle Lewis and Aunt Bethany (played by Mae Questral in her last film appearance, and the voice of Betty Boop). Alas, as I have grown older I can truly relate to the rather sad state elderly people get into when they begin to experience dementia, Alzheimer's, and senility.

Although the script is already crowded with these extra characters, one notable omission is the lack of any children, aunts and uncles. As far as we know, Beverly and Clark were only children and Rusty and Audrey have no first cousins. I think there could have been some memorable interactions had Hughes brought in some first cousins.

Thoughout the first half, the in-laws arrive, Clark gets locked in the attic (and watches some old home movies, before being quite abruptly interrupted in a very funny, very painful moment), and struggles with the art of exterior illumination. He meets an attractive sales clerk at the mall and tries to make himself visible to his boss in a good way, all the while failing miserably. Another memorable line is when the parents arrive, Clark says "Well I'm gonna park the cars and get the luggage, and well, I'll be outside for the season." I've known a few times when people (my father in particular) escape into other areas (outside, other parts of the house), to escape the chaos of the Christmas gatherings.

In a memorable ensemble scene when Clark and Ellen finally get the thousands upon thousands of Christmas lights finally working, Clark hugs each family member and then moves on to Cousin Eddie, hoping the Christmas lights "adds" to Eddie and Katherine's festive cheer and enjoyment of the holiday season. He then promptly realises that Eddie and Katherine are standing in his front yard and goes into shock.

Randy Quaid deftly plays Cousin Eddie, the ultimate trailer-trash cousin. Like Chevy Chase to Clark W. Griswold, Randy Quaid was tailor made for this role. Having been out of work for seven years (he's holding out for a management position, Katherine informs Ellen), they have lost their farm from the first movie and are now living in an RV. Katherine and Eddie had four children (and she was pregnant with a fifth) in the first movie. Hughes promptly dispenses with the extra children and there are only two children present, Rocky and Ruby Sue, as Eddie explains the older ones are working in a carnival. I also love when Clark says he and Ellen will be Eddie's children some Christmas presents (as Eddie doesn't have any presents for his children due to financial hardships), and Eddie says he wants Clark to buy himself a really nice present for being so generous. Cracks me up! The sled sequence is also quite funny.

Cousin Eddie promptly interjects life into the second half of the movie. While the first half leading up to Cousin Eddie's arrival are quite funny, Randy Quaid almost steals the show. He just nails his performance wonderfully. Redneck, broke, and just overall idiotic, Randy was born to play this role. I've always been rather creeped out when Eddie tells Rusty "Come on, let's go find your sister." Given that we know he french kisses his daughter from the first movie, the whole exchange just has a very creepy undercurrent.

The squirrel scene is quite funny too. Watching the movie on TV can lead to interesting cuts. One of my favorites is when Clark's father is talking to Clark, and he asks his dad how his dad managed to make it through the holidays. His father's answer: "I had a lot of help from Jack Daniels", at which they both laugh. I've seen several cuts where they simply elimiate that last part "from Jack Daniels", completely ruining the joke. Clark's reading of the "Twas the Night Before Christmas" (barely begun and unfinished as the performance is) is another great moment.

The main driving plot device that sets up the climax of the film is Clark has put down money for a new swimming pool but does not have the money to pay for the pool. He is relying on his bonus to cover the costs. As he has worked for his company for seventeen years and every one of those years he has gotten a bonus ensures that he has certainity [is certain] he will likewise get a bonus this year. Ultimately we discover there is no forth-coming monetary bonus and is instead enrolled in a Jelly of the Month Club, which Eddie promptly points out is a gift that keeps giving the whole year through.

Clark then memorably goes into probably the best single moment in the entire Vacation franchise, railing against his boss and how he wants him brought to Clark's house so he can tell his boss how worthless he is. In a nod to the original, still unseen ending to "Vacation", where Clark kidnaps Roy Wally at his house, Cousin Eddie kidnaps Clark's boss Frank Shirley and brings him to Clark's residence. A swat team promptly goes into rescue Frank Shirley and just like "Vacation", Shirley decides not to press charges and reinstates Clark's bonus, as well as the other employees' bonus. In the end, Clark looks at the camera and says "I did it", showing he was successful in his aims at having a great Christmas after all

Overall, a fantastic Christmas movie. For those concerned with the profanity then watch the movie on one of the regular cable TV channels. This is Hughes at his best. If I had to choose between this and "Vacation", I'd give a (very, very) slight edge to "Vacation", but both are easily the best the Vacation franchise have to offer!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blu Ray review only, 16 Dec 2012
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This review is from: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation [Blu-ray] [1989] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
If you're thinking of buying this excellent film on Blu-Ray, here's some information;

The picture quality is exactly the same as the DVD version.
i.e.- it looks like a standard definition transfer.
There is an improvement in the amount of digital noise in the picture that is solely an inherent feature of the Blu-Ray format.

The biggest surprise is when Clark drops an 'F-bomb' near the end of the film.

Just after the squirrel has run amok through the house, and all the relatives are about to leave.

The speech about having the:
"hap-hap- happiest Christmas this side of the nut-house since Bing Crosby tap danced with Danny dancing Kaye"
becomes "Danny F---ing Kaye"

Great film though! Only lost a star for poor (non-existent) HD quality.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. :)
Play ball!
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