National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

Hello everyone and welcome to another #moviemonday. I hope you are all enjoying the run up to Christmas. It’s hard to believe that next week Christmas will be behind us. I still have one more festive movie lined up for the month of December so be sure to stay tuned.

Today I am talking about National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation because I think it is a must watch at Christmas time. So let’s dive into #moviemonday.

This movie was released in 1989 and it was directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik.

Plot.

Clark Griswold plans to have the perfect old fashioned family Christmas with his entire family coming to stay with him for the holiday. Clark is also dreaming of putting in a pool with the Christmas bonus that he is expecting, he’s already paid the deposit. The movie follows the Griswold’s as hijinks ensue on their journey to Christmas Day, but despite everything going wrong, Clark is staying positive because he is absolutely determined to have the perfect Christmas.

Characters.

This movie is made up of a great ensemble cast. Clark Griswold is the main protagonist as he is the captain of this Christmas Day. Clark is a family man, he is perhaps the ultimate family man. He loves his wife and his children and he wants nothing more than to make them happy with a perfect Christmas Day. Clark has energy and positivity in abundance. He gives his all 100% of the time, and sometimes he is relentless about achieving his goals even if they seem unrealistic.

Ellen Griswold is Clark’s wife. She supports his dream but she knows that Christmas can be a stressful time and she knows that all family members under one roof is bound to be stressful at some point, but Clark won’t hear of it. Ellen keeps him grounded and she picks him up when he is down. She is the voice of reason in this relationship.

Clark and Ellen’s parents arrive and they bicker for the entire trip. Audrey and Rusty, Clark and Ellen’s children are sharing a room while their relatives stay, much to Audrey’s dismay. Ellen’s cousin Catherine and her husband Eddie arrive in a beat up RV with their children Rocky and Ruby Sue, and their dog Snots. Clark is not thrilled to see Eddie but he is still determined to make it work and have the perfect family Christmas, meanwhile Ruby Sue is concerned that Santa Clause won’t come again, as he did not come the previous year, revealing the money problems that Catherine and Eddie are facing.

Despite the bickering, this is a family who loves each other and when the going gets tough they all pull together.

Themes.

This is a Christmas movie about Clark Griswold and his family so obviously it is going to be a cheesy, somewhat over the top, family friendly Christmas movie. It is about family and love and everyone coming together for Christmas because it is a special time of year. This is a comedy but there are some deeper moments in this movie, and while it is not extremely obvious, the movie does cover important subjects such as how much pressure people can put on themselves at Christmas, how much people can rely on their Christmas bonuses and how money issues can have a very big impact on people, some people cannot even afford to give their children presents at Christmas time so while it is a special time of year, it can also be a time that adds stress and pressure to many so it is always important to be thankful for the things we do have and for the people in our lives. Clark learns that he does not need a million Christmas lights or the perfect turkey to have the most perfect Christmas, he just needs his family with him as they are the most important people in his life.

Structure.

This movie is 97 minutes long. I think that an hour and a half is a really nice running time, I have mentioned this before but it is not too long but it also feels like a decent movie length. We get a lot of story but it does not drag on too long. Some movies need more time, and there are movies that I love that are two hours long or maybe even slightly longer, but there are also movies that are longer than they need to be, but I think with this kind of cheesy, fun, festive movie an hour and a half is the ideal length.

I would say this movie follows the three-act structure. The first act sets up Clark’s unrealistic Christmas expectations as he prepares for family to arrive.

Act two is when the in-laws arrive and chaos begins to ensue but Clark pushes on, determined to make things work.

Act three is Christmas and all of the problems along the way don’t seem to matter anymore as the true meaning of Christmas is remembered once more.

Final Thoughts.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a fun movie. Every time I watch it I laugh the entire time. It’s festive, it’s fun, it’s got great heart to it, and it does touch on some serious moments without bringing the tone down. It will always be a must watch for me.

This has been Movie Monday. Do you like this movie? Let me know.

I hope you all have a great week.

Kate xo.

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