Over the past week or so, the other Dead Curiousers have told you all about their favourite Christmas films, and there have been some great ones. I, however, have decided to share with you my own personal top Christmas movie in time for Boxing Day: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy proper films, I do. However, I’m just not sure I can agree with watching proper cinematic prose on the day after Christmas. Sometimes you need a bit of levity and the ability to say: ‘at least my relatives are not like those people.’ Be it Randy Quaid’s ‘cousin Eddie’ pumping out the holding tank from his Recreational Vehicle into the storm sewer or Julia Louise-Dreyfus and Nicholas Guest portraying the Griswolds’ yuppie next door neighbors Margo and Todd Chester, even the ancillary characters provide their own memorable scenes worthy of quoting on their own. ‘The shitter was full’ and ‘I don’t know Margo’ have entered the (well you con’t very well call it cultural) lexicon in their own right.
With the sub-plots and minor characters providing much of the comedic firepower, the story of Chevy Chase’s Clark W Griswold trying and failing to have the perfect family Christmas doesn’t need to be on the level of say a ‘Fletch’ movie from earlier in the 1980’s. This is a good thing, as whatever he had been doing to kill ever more brain cells had started to take their toll by the time this film was made in 1989. Yet, the flashes of comedic brilliance and that great knack for physical comedy are still present, and Chevy Chase at 85% of his late 70’s pinnacle is still certainly entertaining.
Is this the greatest film of all-time, no, and Christmas Vacation isn’t even as good as the first one. However, this is my favourite Christmas movie for a single reason: no matter how you try, perfection is simply impossible. Christmas is a time you’re supposed to spend with loved ones and your (extended) family, even if you’d rather not. This is why people gorge themselves on turkey, baked goods, alcohol, and, if you’re lucky enough to have a prescription, Xanax. Seeing this Christmas disaster played out in Blu ray’s 1080P high definition makes you feel so much better about one’s own. Although, that could just be the Xanax…