Midgetnuggets’s review published on Letterboxd:
Why the fuck did I give this movie three Stars the last time I reviewed this? This movie is up there with some of the greatest comedies of the 80s like Ghostbusters and Airplane. I don't know I guess I was having an off-day but who cares because I'm here to tell you that National Lampoon's Vacation is a really funny movie. As a comedy it really holds up for the most part and that's saying something considering the fact that it's from the 80s and not everything dates really well which to be fair there's some things in this movie that are really dated and even kind of offensive by today's standards that even the people that made this movie kind of regret putting it in there. But that's not always bad though there's lots of dark jokes in this movie that are really funny but sometimes they're really fucked up like there's a incest joke in here, a really funny scene that involves a dead dog no I'm not joking, something that involves a human corpse that I'm not going to say. All the performances are great. Chevy Chase basically does a Pitch Perfect parody of the 1950s stereotypical dad, the wife is played well too, all the kids are really well acted and feel really believable as children while at the same time are able to go and get some jokes for all of them as well. Everybody else is great too. Randy Quaid is great as Cousin Eddie who for some reason looks more ugly in this movie than he does in Christmas Vacation. I don't know why but there's something about his teeth that look really bad which maybe was intentional and the later movies just forgot to add that detail but it's kind of noticeable. I really don't need to tell you what the plot of this movie is because the title says it all it's a vacation that goes bad. However unlike other shity road trip movies whenever bad things happen to the Griswolds even if things get serious to the point of their lives being on the line you never at all feel sad or miserable watching them. That's the thing that's so many bad road trip movies forget to do is if you're going to have bad things happen to the characters constantly go through crap don't make the audience feel like shit. Wish I could say that for later movies in the franchise but we'll get to that later. I like that these movies basically feel like live action cartoons. Christmas is obviously the most cartoony out of the whole franchise but this movie has stuff in it that. I think is really silly from the dialogue to how certain situations and how did they end go. Another thing that's funny about this movie is it feels like a real big fuck you to Disney and their customers. I mean it's not like a running theme in the movie but the fact that Clark is willing to go through hell with his family and even endangering their lives at the end I just so they can go and ride a stupid roller coaster and take pictures with a fucking moose says something about this character. I mean after all he does say the people of Wally World owe The Griswolds because after all they watch their show and buy their products why shouldn't he hold there employees hostage just so you can go on some Sweet Rides. Granted all the stuff is still played out for Laughs though it's not like the original story that was written for the National Lampoon which this movie was based after which in that story it takes place in the 50s and instead of Wally world it's Disneyland and it takes so much darker path where Clark Griswold drives to Walt Disney's house with a gun in his hand plotting to kill him he walks up yells at Walt Disney and then shoots him in the leg then he gets arrested and the rest of the family head back home on an airplane and acts like none of this really happened. Pretty fucked up stuff but what do you expect when the first line of dialogue in your story is If Dad hadn’t shot Walt Disney in the leg, it would have been our best vacation ever! It's messed up but I kind of like that. Clark Griswold as a character is probably one of the most fascinating comedy characters to me. He's basically an idiot like other Dad characters like Homer Simpson except he's a special type of stupid. The guy can obviously be a normal functioning member of society when he wants to be it's only one he screws up due to something he did or just because the world constantly gives him bad luck that's when he goes crazy. That's kind of why the over Vacation movies that work made by John Hughes aren't that's funny because they focus more on Chevy Chase doing wacky stuff in foreign locations instead of being more character studies of this really weird guy and that were hanging out with him. This guy wants to be the ultimate family man and provide for his family and give them something that he never had when he was a kid no matter what the cost is. He can take the most horrible situation and try to make a positive spin on it even though it's obvious deep in his head that everything is going completely wrong but he'll still try to fix it anyways even though it's obvious things are only going to get worse. I kind of like that the character he wants to get things done even the task is impossible and could possibly kill him or his family. Also he's the type of guy that will hit his head on something and we'll just probably brush it out saying I meant to do that and laugh. Anyways enough with this character analysis bull crap let's talk about a childhood memory I had of this movie. When I was little kid probably six or seven my dad watched this movie on Comedy Central. I thought I could be cool like my dad and watch it with him because anything that was made for older people I liked watching with my parents. The thing is we got to the part where Clark and the family went to Wally World and Clark is holding the Wally World employee hostage with a BB gun. Now here's little ol me seeing a grown ass man holding out a gun and scaring a man and not really knowing what's going on it kind of frightened me. My dad was laughing his ass off but I was kind of scared my mom was actually saying oh dad turn it off but it was almost at the end. Yeah not having the context of why he had the gun was kind of scary but now that I've seen the whole movie in its entirety it's actually really funny and I totally get the joke but tell that's a little kid me lol. Anyways that wraps part one of my week of vacation reviews shooting tomorrow for a double feature between european vacation and Vegas Vacation.