No. 3 – A Good Ol’ Fashioned Christmas

It’s not Christmas if it’s not spent with the Griswolds. At least for the Johnson’s its not. Oops, did I ruin it already?

Our No. 3 film was the highest ranked movie on the list. It averaged an 8.0 ranking and was named No. 1 on eight ballots, also the most.

Every year, either on Christmas or Christmas Eve, the Johnson’s sit down and watch the Griswolds hike through the snow to pick out a Christmas tree that is too big for their living room (“It’s not going in our yard Russ. It’s going in the living room.”) and light up their house with 25,000 lights (“Two hundred and fifty strands of lights, one hundered individual bulps per strand for a grand total of twenty-five thousand individual miniature imported Italian twinkle lights.”) This movie has always been a favorite of mine and a favorite in the Johnson household. When my Dad cleans the tank in the motorhome he always blurts out Cousin Eddie’s line, “Shitter was full!” Or after my Dad has climbed up the ladder onto the roof to hand the Christmas lights I tell him, just as Clark told his Dad, “You taught me everything I know about exterior illumination.” And when my Dad starts ranting and raving he looks likeClarkhopping around with his hands in his pockets, upset about his Christmas bonus.

But we also love Clark because he wants what he thinks is best for his family. He rejects the idea of going toHawaiifor Christmas because he’d rather have a good old-fashioned Christmas with the parents, in-laws, cousins and all. We root for Clark because he tries hard to please his family and unfortunately, like their trip to Wally World andEurope, nothing seems to go right for him and his family. I also like that midway through the movie we’re introduced to new characters, first Cousin Eddie appears and shortly thereafter Aunt Bethany arrives. It’s got its hilarious moments and lines (I could go on and on with the memorable quotes, and do below), but what the movie portrays is that behind all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, it comes down to spending time with the ones you love.

The second John Hughes movie (see No. 10 “Home Alone”) to enter the top 10, I give you…drum roll please…drum roll…

No. 3 – National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

Directed by: Jeremiah Chechik. Starring:Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Randy Quaid.

Total Points: 183 (Highest Rank No. 1 – eight times. Named on 23 ballots. Kevy’s No. 1).

Tagline: Yule Crack Up!

Memorable Quote: Clark: Where do you think you’re going? Nobody’s leaving. Nobody’s walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We’re all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We’re gonna press on, and we’re gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny f**king Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white @$$ down that chimney tonight, he’s gonna find the jolliest bunch of @$$holes this side of the nuthouse.

Says my co-worker and fellow Goonie Mike, “Christmas Vacation” is one of the few movies that seems just as funny every time I see it – and I’ve seen it A LOT!”

He goes on to say, “Clark Griswold is a great character. You root for him because you know that deep down he just wants everything to be perfect for his family, but the funniest moments are during his freakouts when disaster strikes time after time. My favorite scenes include the road rage sequence where the Griswold car gets trapped between the wheels of a semi truck, the epic outdoor light saga when they finally get the electricity to work, and Clark’s whacko tirade after he realizes he didn’t get a Christmas bonus.

“Also, I love some of the subtle-but-hilarious lines, like when Clark mumbles, “It’s good! It’s good!” as he chugs egg nog during one of his manic episodes. And cousin Eddie almost steals the show with his awesome mock turtleneck, general dopiness and shamelss toxic waste disposal on the sidewalk. His best line, of course, is: “Shitter’s full!” Classic.”

My X (as in Extra)-List Hollywood actor brother Randy says this about why he picked “Christmas Vacation” as his favorite, “I chose Christmas Vacation first because when I think about our Christmas Eve movie days this is our main movie. I think we enjoy this movie so much cause we can relate to the craziness of having family over for the holidays and their family is just as crazy as mine. Plus it always made it fun to have those memorable quotes when we are all working on putting the lights up, “The little lights aren’t twinkling Clark”, decorating the tree, “Did you hear that sound? It’s a funny squeaky sound”, or if you just feel like waiting for the perfect moment to blurt out a line like “The shitter was full!”. It might not be considered a classic in movie history but as far as I’m concerned it’s a classic in my book. Merry Christmas everyone and make sure to watch this movie!”

Fun facts about the film: The Griswold’s neighbor’s house is the same house Murtaugh and his family lived in all the Lethal Weapon movies. The houses on this street are on the Warner Brothers Studios back lot.

Just because I love it, here are some more memorable quotes that make me laugh everytime I hear them:

Clark: Hey. If any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I’d like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the other rich people and I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head, and I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is. Hallelujah. Holy shit. Where’s the Tylenol?

Bethany: Is your house on fire, Clark? Clark: No, Aunt Bethany, those are the Christmas lights.

[Todd and Margo Chester, the Griswold’s yuppie neighbors, appear]

Todd: Hey Griswold. Where do you think you’re gonna put a tree that big?Clark: Bend over and I’ll show you.Todd: You’ve got a lot of nerve talking to me like that Griswold. Clark: I wasn’t talking to you.

Uncle Lewis: Hey Grizz, Bethany and I figured out the perfect gift for you.Clark: Aw, you didn’t have to get me anything. Uncle Lewis: Dammit, Bethany, he guessed it.

Ellen: What are you looking at? Clark: Oh, the silent majesty of a winter’s morn… the clean, cool chill of the holiday air… an asshole in his bathrobe, emptying a chemical toilet into my sewer…

[Eddie, in the driveway, is draining the RV’s toilet]

Eddie: Merry Christmas! Shitter was full.

Eddie: You surprised to see us, Clark? Clark: Oh, Eddie… If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn’t be more surprised than I am right now.

5 thoughts on “No. 3 – A Good Ol’ Fashioned Christmas

  1. OMGosh…I remember that movie!  I haven\’t seen it in years!  Hope you had a wonderful holiday with all your family and friends.  Heres to another year of friendship~Kat in Wyoming

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