Sunday, February 26, 2017

NATIONAL LAMPOON'S EUROPEAN VACATION (1985)

Thanks to a tired script, NATIONAL LAMPOON'S EUROPEAN VACATION is actually more dated than the original Vacation film released 3 years earlier!

The film opens with an amusing game show scene, in which the Griswold's (or Griswald as it's spelt on his passport) win a trip to Europe.  After that it's mostly downhill with cheap sets, bizarre editing, stock footage, pointless scenes, a boring car chase scene, completely underused European locations, hideous fashions and numerous jokes that are dead on arrival.  On the bright side...it's still totally watchable.  Chevy Chase has his moments, some familiar faces (Eric Idle, Paul Bartel, John Astin, Ballard Berkeley, William Zabka, etc.) brighten things up, two nice topless scenes, hideous fashions, quick pace and strangely enough...some of the dead humor is now so lame that it's actually become funny to laugh at.

I feel (as a highly-paid professional film critic) that I should probably have more to say about EUROPEAN VACATION, but honestly the subject bores me and I'd much rather move on to the next film in the series, NATIONAL LAMPOON'S CHRISTMAS VACATION, which is one one of the greatest things in the history of the world.  "Shitter was full!"

Part 1 - National Lampoon's Vacation
Part 3 - National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Part 4 - Vegas Vacation
Part 5 - Vacation

Lame pre-1972 stock footage that doesn't even show the World Trade Center.

Monday, February 13, 2017

NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VACATION (1983)

In hopes of being able to spend some much needed quality time with his family, food additive designer Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase), buys a new monster station wagon and sets off on a cross-country road trip to visit the world-famous Wally World amusement park in Los Angeles.  Along the way, everything from visiting inbred family members and eating dog urine-marinated sandwiches to skinny dipping in a freezing swimming pool happens.  And let's not forget Christie Brinkley as the "Girl in the Ferrari".  God only knows how many kids busted a nut to her back in the 80's!  I know of, at least, one!

Newer audiences today will probably find NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VACATION to be dated and lame, but as a child of the 1980's I have a soft spot for it and can't even tell you how many times I've seen it.  Dozens, easily.  Quick pace, iconic characters, quotable lines ("Yeah, but Daddy says I'm the best at it."), nice scenery, ancient electronics, 80's fashions, a stack of nudie books this high, great acting by everybody, a moose getting punched in the nose, yo mama gettin' fucked, people whistling 'Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah' out of their assholes, Eugene Levy as a car salesman, Beverly D'Angelo topless, John Candy as a security guard and probably the highlight of the film to me: a surprise appearance by Eddie Bracken!!  Just the mere sight of him brought up memories of the wedding scene in THE MIRACLE OF MORGAN'S CREEK and I immediately started smiling ear to ear.

Highly recommended.  An absolute must watch for anybody interested in 80's movies.

Part 2 - National Lampoon's European Vacation
Part 3 - National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Part 4 - Vegas Vacation
Part 5 - Vacation