Been & Going

[Why Watch This?] Holiday Edition Part VI: Christmas Vacation

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

It’s Christmas eve- and some of you may be stuck with your families and hating life. Well- if you are- then all you need to do is repeat after me “It could be worse. We could be Griswolds”

I think everyone of a certain age has a very particular opinion about what is the best Vacation movie. Me? European Vacation. All. The. Way. “Look kids! Big Ben! Parliament!” Who doesn’t love that? I mean, let’s be real here, the whole point of any 80s movie is the quotable lines. This is why my favorite commercial of ALL time is the Old Navy “European Rusty” Christmas commercial. Love it. He’s in the beret. He’s in the beret!!! Yes, maybe you have to be 40 to get it, but I’m 40 so shut up. My second favorite is probably Christmas Vacation, and hurray! It fits with our theme here, so here is my three paragraph argument as to why you should watch Christmas Vacation.

crazy faceThe thing you wait for in all Vacation movies is when Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold loses his shit. All of Clark’s carefully laid plans fail in spectacular fashion during the course of the movie, but usually there is that one moment where he can’t hold it together anymore and he loses it in a big explosion of profanity. The premise of Christmas Vacation is that the Griswold’s aren’t dinnergoing on vacation at all, they are creating the good old fashioned family Christmas at home and inviting all the various relatives that come with it. The family bickers, Cousin Eddie shows up unannounced (played with gleeful revoltingness by Randy Quaid). Clark has many whacky scenes setting up an extreme light display on the exterior of his house, much to the derision of their yuppie neighbors. Ah, yuppies, remember them? One of them is played by Julia Louis Dreyfus! They go into the woods and dig up a tree (Clark eddieforgets the saw).

This is all leading up to the big dinner when everything really falls apart. The ancient cousins and aunts and uncles show up. One of them is a little senile and wraps her cat and her Jell-O mold as presents. Now, things start going off the rails. Turns out there is a squirrel in the tree they dug up, the discovery of said squirrel causes much chaos and destruction. Aunt Bethany’s cat decided to chew on the Christmas tree lights and electrocutes itself. And Clark keeps chugging along, until he discovers that the Christmas bonus he had been expecting to use to install a pool, turns out to be the jelly of the month club. Outburst ensues which inspires Cousin Eddie tocat go kidnap Clark’s boss, and well, I’ll skip to the end, everything turns out OK!  (After an explosion in the storm drains due to Cousin Eddie dumping his chemical toilet in the gutter. But it’s ok, because it launches the plastic Santa and his sleigh from the Griswold roof through the sky, almost as if it were the real Santa) Hurray! Clark is a family hero.

bonusOK, so yeah, it’s a pretty stupid movie. But an awesome stupid movie. This isn’t my favorite version of Chevy Chase, I always preferred his wise-cracking trouble making ala Fletch, but it’s hard not to laugh at him as Clark. He gets that wide eyed look and you know you’re in trouble. I’m sure everybody has that guy in their family, the crazy idea guy, the family bonding guy, the let’s all buy matching berets and take our picture on the Eiffel Tower guy. But we love them anyway, right? Sure we do! It’s the standing around while shaking our heads as everything falls apart that brings us closer together.mug


By the way…last minute gift? These are available on Amazon!!

[Why Watch This?] Holiday Edition Part V: Die Hard

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

It’s Christmas eve!  Aren’t you glad you’re not at some terrible 80’s LA office party filled with drugs and terrorists and feathered hair and a totally hunky undershirt wearing Bruce Willis? No? Well- you can visit that magical world by watching this all time great holiday classic.

athertonWilliam Atherton was the ultimate guy you wanted to punch in the face in the ‘80s. In Die Hard, 1988, the whole movie is John McClane vs. anyone who disagrees with John McClane. And this movie was at the cusp of Bush I, not even Bush II, I know, weird! I love how the press and the FBI are portrayed in equally unflattering ways as the terrorists in this movie. This is, of course when terrorists were just a motley group of long haired Germans who want money, and not the Terrorists they are today. Yes, Virginia, there was a time when terrorists were white and had hair the color of spun gold. And yes, I know one of them in this movie is African American, I’m making a point here! Geez.terrorists

Do I have to explain the plot? Ok, John McClane is a New York cop. His wife, Holly, played by Bonnie Bedalia, has moved to LA for a career opportunity with their children. John is arriving in LA to visit for thpartye holidays, and is meeting Holly at her office. Things are weird between the two of them, we learn. Anyway, John gets to the office, an office party is going on, awkwardness, awkwardness, John goes into Holly’s office to conveniently take of his shirt and shoes and clean up. While his shirt and shoes are off, kablamoo! Gun shots, the office party is being taken over by terrorists! John quickly escapes the office before he is discovered, in just his bare feet and undershirt. Get it? He’s just in his undershirt and bare feet.bruce

Cat and mousrege ensues throughout the, still under construction, high rise. People are killed, things are said. One of those is: “Yippe-ki-yay mother fucker.” John befriends Sgt. Al Powell (played by Reginald VelJohnson, who later would go on to be Erkel’s foil in “Family Matters”) via walkie talkie. Al’s wife is pregnant and he hates guns cause he shot a kid. Doesn’t matter, though, because like all good ‘80s movies, it’s Al and John as the regular Joe’s vs. the FBI, the LAPD, a stern faced Paul Gleason, the terrorists, the press, the world. It must have been so hard to be a manager in the ‘80s because all of your employees thought they were infinitely smarter than you. Assholes. What’s worse is that they were! Dammit.

santaAnyway, the only person dressed as Santa in this one is a dead terrorist, but other than that, it still gets you in the mood for the Holidays. Right? Drunken office parties that go horribly awry? Check. The boss you sort of like and also sort of hate until he gets shot in the head by a German terrorist because he won’t give him the code to the safe and then you feel bad? Check. Bruce Willis in all of his ‘80s swashbuckling charm? Check and check. Exploding helicopters, people falling out of high rise windows in slow motion, stunts that are improbable at worst and totally awesome at best? Merry Fucking Christmas!stunt