Monday, February 13, 2017


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

Monday, January 16, 2017


Depressing, but not as depressing as I had expected, drug addiction story (set in New York City) about a young woman, Helen, who, while recovering from an abortion, is shown compassion by a small-time thief/heroin junkie named Bobby (Al Pacino).  Before you can say "I'm late for my Interpretative Twerking class!", Helen has shacked up with Bobby in his sleazy, rat trap apartment and become addicted to heroin herself.  In order to help pay for their addiction, she turns to prostitution.  Things just keep getting shittier and shittier from there.

Watching it now (this was my first time seeing it), all of these years after it's initial release, THE PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK is a a fascinating film on many levels.  First off, it's just a good movie.  I was really impressed with young Al Pacino's acting abilities.  Every time he's on screen, your eyes instantly go to him, to watch all of his small gestures and facial expressions.  Pacino managed to make the character of Bobby charming despite the fact he was nothing but a shitbag thief and junkie.  Another thing that I found intriguing was New York City itself.  (I've never been to NYC, but thanks to endlessly watching and re-watching Woody Allen films as a youth, I've developed a love for the town.)  The entire film was filmed in NYC, so many times during the movie I had to rewind it just to look at the stuff happening on the streets.  It was really cool...and so much trash!

No music, gritty as fook acting, dingy NYC scenery, a few scenes that should have been left on the editing room floor (the long needle scene, the entire puppy story), great ending and a few brief sightings of actors that would later become well-known including: Marcia Jean Kurtz, Raul Julia, Joe Santos and Paul Sorvino.

Overall, THE PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK is a dated film, but still very much worth watching.