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National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation  1989
National Lampoon’s Xmas Vacation / National Lampoon’s Winter Holiday
Director:  Jeremiah Chechik
Producer:
  John Hughes and Tom Jacobson
Art Director:
  Beala B. Neel
Editor:
  Jerry Greenberg and Michael Stevenson
Music:
  Angelo Badalamenti
Screenplay:
  John Hughes
Director of Photography:
  Thomas Ackerman
Cast:
people1 Chevy Chase spacer1 Beverly D'Angelo spacer1 Randy Quaid people1 Juliette Lewis
spacer1 Johnny Galecki spacer1 John Randolph spacer1 Diane Ladd spacer1 E.G. Marshall
spacer1 Doris Roberts spacer1 Miriam Flynn spacer1 Brian Doyle-Murray spacer1 Julia-Louis-Dreyfus
people1 Chevy Chase spacer1 Beverly D'Angelo spacer1 Randy Quaid
people1 Juliette Lewis spacer1 Johnny Galecki spacer1 John Randolph
spacer1 Diane Ladd spacer1 E.G. Marshall spacer1 Doris Roberts
spacer1 Miriam Flynn spacer1 Brian Doyle-Murray spacer1 Julia-Louis-Dreyfus
people1 Chevy Chase spacer1 Beverly D'Angelo
spacer1 Randy Quaid people1 Juliette Lewis
spacer1 Johnny Galecki spacer1 John Randolph
spacer1 Diane Ladd spacer1 E.G. Marshall
spacer1 Doris Roberts spacer1 Miriam Flynn
spacer1 Brian Doyle-Murray spacer1 Julia-Louis-Dreyfus

Synopsis:
Clark Griswold is determined to give his family, comprising wife Ellen and teenagers Audrey and Rusty, a traditional old-fashioned perfect family Christmas, and decorates the house with the usual lights and illuminations, which splutter and fail, finally lighting after several attempts, but being spectacularly outshone by the far more impressive, and expensive, array of lights put up by their new young neighbours, Todd and Margot, whom Clark cannot stand. But since the road to hell is paved with the best intentions, so everything in the Griswold household starts to go wrong, from arguments, over-frisky pets, a squirrel in the Christmas tree causing mayhem, arguing parents, the arrival of Clark’s much loved but utterly deadbeat cousin Eddie, complete with his entire side of the family, and various culinary disasters, with Clark managing to keep his increasingly fragile mental state under control by holding onto the fact that his Christmas bonus from work is going to pay for everything, and send him into the New Year in reasonable financial shape. But when his bonus arrives, and proves not to be what he was expecting, not by a long way due to his company claiming to have had a very bad year, Clark’s tether finally snaps, and it is the season to be jolly no more, as Clark is furiously determined to get what he believes he deserves, season of goodwill be damned.
Review:
The National Lampoon appendage in a film’s title, beginning with the record-breaking and still hugely enjoyable National Lampoon’s Animal House, quickly became a very devalued commodity indeed after the success of the three Vacation pictures, including the disappointing European and this sparky and entertaining effort, after which the NL tag seemed to be applied to all sorts of mediocre offerings, and does anybody actually remember detritus such as NL’s Up The Academy, or more recent direct-to-video and cable fodder such as NL’s Senior Trip, although to be fair the NL which produced the template-establishing Animal House is now long gone, with few of the original founders still there. This last outing for the Griswold family, whose misfortunes had previously taken them on dire vacations both in the US and abroad, this sees them at home, settling in for the holiday season, and as one can imagine, through a mixture of stupidity, arrogance and sheer, relentless bad luck, there is very little good will going spare in the Griswold household, as Clark’s competitive streak takes over, with him wanting to have the best display of those unutterably bad taste Christmas lights, and inevitably being outshone by the neighbours. Rest assured that everything possible which could go wrong, does, from the arrival of his deadbeat cousin Eddie and his brood, another cherishable if actually quite hideous cameo from Randy Quaid, in their pestilent RV, to a dead dog and, most tellingly of all, the paltry size of his annual bonus, which finally sets Clark off on a rampage of revenge, a rather awkward association of a happy Christmas only being possible by a lot of money, and the festivities being ruined if this doesn’t arrive, which possibly wasn’t the intention of the original story. On the plus side director Jeremiah Chechik (Benny & Joon) handles the laughs with skill, and even Chevy Chase, one of the most divisive of comedy leading men, is on fine form here, having perfected Clark’s mixture of optimism, boorishness and utter ineptitude, and the cast includes series regulars Beverly D’Angelo and Juliette Lewis, with fine support from veteran E.G. Marshall, Diane Ladd (Wild At Heart), Doris Roberts (TV’s Everybody Loves Raymond) and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (TV’s Seinfeld).

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