National Lampoon's Vacation

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National Lampoon's Vacation
Vacation1983.jpg
Theatrical release poster by Boris Vallejo
Directed by Harold Ramis
Produced by Matty Simmons
Written by John Hughes
Harold Ramis (uncredited)
Chevy Chase (uncredited)
Based on "Vacation '58" 
by John Hughes
Starring Chevy Chase
Beverly D'Angelo
Anthony Michael Hall
Dana Barron
Imogene Coca
Randy Quaid
John Candy
Christie Brinkley
Music by Ralph Burns
Cinematography Victor J. Kemper
Edited by Pembroke J. Herring
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date(s)
  • July 29, 1983 (1983-07-29)
Running time 99 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $15 million
Box office $61,399,552

National Lampoon's Vacation, sometimes referred to as Vacation, is a 1983 Technicolor comedy film directed by Harold Ramis and starring Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Randy Quaid, Dana Barron, and Anthony Michael Hall. John Candy, Imogene Coca, Christie Brinkley, and Jane Krakowski appear in supporting roles.

The screenplay was written by John Hughes, based on his short story "Vacation '58" which appeared in National Lampoon. The original story is a fictionalized account of his own family's ill-fated trip to Disneyland when Hughes was a boy. The success of the film helped advance his screenwriting career.

The film was a box-office hit, earning more than $61 million in the US with an estimated budget of $15 million, and received widespread acclaim from critics. In 2000, readers of Total Film voted it the 46th greatest comedy film of all time. It is widely considered to be the best film in the Vacation series, and continues to be a cult film and a staple on cable television. As of August 8, 2014, the film has received a 95% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[1]

Plot[edit]

Wagon Queen Family Truckster

Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase), wanting to spend more time with his wife Ellen (Beverly D'Angelo) and children Rusty (Anthony Michael Hall) and Audrey (Dana Barron), decides to lead the family on a cross-country expedition from the Chicago area to the Los Angeles amusement park Walley World, billed as "America's Favorite Family Fun Park". Ellen wants to fly, but Clark insists on driving, so he can bond with his family. In preparation, he has ordered a new "sports wagon" for the trip, but the dealer (Eugene Levy) claims the sports wagon will not be ready for six weeks. Clark is forced to accept a Wagon Queen Family Truckster, an outsized station wagon.

As the family travels, they run into numerous mishaps, such as being tagged by vandals in a rundown area of St. Louis, while Clark is tempted numerous times by an attractive young woman (Christie Brinkley) driving a flashy red Ferrari 308 GTS. They stop in Kansas to visit Ellen's cousin Catherine (Miriam Flynn) and her husband Eddie (Randy Quaid), who foist Aunt Edna (Imogene Coca) and her mean dog Dinky on the Griswolds, asking them to drop her off at her son's home in Phoenix. After stopping at a decrepit and dirty campground in Colorado for the night, Clark forgets to untie Dinky from the bumper before leaving, killing the dog.

While Ellen and Clark argue, they become stranded in the desert, and Clark eventually finds a mechanic that scams him out of the rest of his cash to fix the car. Frustrated, they stop at the Grand Canyon; when Clark cannot convince a hotel clerk to take a check, he takes cash from the cash register and leaves the check. Leaving the Canyon, they find that Aunt Edna died in her sleep. They tie Edna's corpse to the roof of the car, wrapped in a tarp. When they reach Normy's home, they discover he is out of town, and leave Edna's body in the backyard. Clark eventually hooks up with the Christie Brinkley character at a motel swimming pool, skinny dipping with her. But they are discovered by the family before anything can happen. Clark is eventually forgiven.

Despite all the events and the begging of Ellen and the kids, Clark is more determined to get to Walley World. They finally arrive the next day to find the park closed for repairs. Clark, slipping into madness realizing that all his efforts have been for nothing, buys a realistic-looking BB gun pistol and demands a park security guard named Russ Lasky (John Candy) to take them through the park at gunpoint; Ellen and kids follow him, attempting to placate their husband and father. Eventually a SWAT team arrives along with park owner Roy Walley (Eddie Bracken). Roy understands Clark's impassioned epitome of the American Vacation, bringing back memories of his own childhood years ago. Roy does not file charges against the Griswolds and lets the family and the SWAT team enjoy the park as his guests.

The ending credits show various pictures of the Griswold's vacation, including how they got home, on a plane.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Walley World[edit]

In John Hughes' original short story, the theme park was Disneyland. Because of this, all of the names were altered to soundalikes.[2] Walt Disney's Disneyland became Walley World, itself a good-natured parody of the Anaheim location. The name of the mascot, Marty Moose, is reminiscent of Disney's Mickey Mouse.

Wagon Queen Family Truckster[edit]

The Wagon Queen Family Truckster station wagon was created specifically for the film. The Truckster is based on a 1979 Ford LTD Country Squire station wagon and heavily modified. The car was designed by George Barris, and lampooned American cars of the late 1970s. The Truckster features a pea green paint scheme; fake wood paneling; eight headlights, four on each side in a rectangular cluster (taken from another Crown Victoria/Country Squire, but inverted); a grille area largely covered by bodywork having only two small openings close to the bumper.[3]

Music[edit]

The film's music was composed by Ralph Burns, featuring original songs by Lindsey Buckingham. A soundtrack album was released in 1983. While it did not chart, Buckingham's single "Holiday Road" reached number 82 on the Billboard Hot 100.

  1. "Holiday Road" – Lindsey Buckingham
  2. "Mister Blue" – The Fleetwoods
  3. "Blitzkrieg Bop" – Ramones
  4. "Deep River Blues" – Ralph Burns
  5. "Summer Hearts" – Nicolette Larson
  6. "Little Boy Sweet" – June Pointer
  7. "The Trip (Theme from Vacation)" – Ralph Burns
  8. "He's So Dull" – Vanity 6
  9. "Christie's Song" – Ralph Burns
  10. "Dancin' Across the USA" – Lindsey Buckingham

Sequels[edit]

National Lampoon's Vacation spawned a number of sequels:

With the exception of Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure, each sequel saw Chase and D'Angelo reprise their roles as Clark and Ellen Griswold, enduring their unique and unenviable brand of vacation misadventure in various locales. However, the children Rusty and Audrey are played by a different set of actors in each film (except for Audrey in the last sequel). In July 2013, Barron explained that because Hall was committed to shooting Weird Science, European Vacation Director Amy Heckerling requested both Griswold children be recast.[4] This fact is joked about early in Vegas Vacation: when we first see the kids again, Clark tells them that he "hardly recognizes" them anymore. The various actors were Anthony Michael Hall and Dana Barron in Vacation, Jason Lively and Dana Hill in European Vacation, Johnny Galecki and Juliette Lewis in Christmas Vacation, and Ethan Embry and Marisol Nichols in Vegas Vacation. Barron again plays Audrey in Christmas Vacation 2, but Rusty, like his parents, could not make it for Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure, an NBC TV movie. However, Flynn and Quaid reprise their roles as cousins Catherine and Eddie, as they did in each film aside from European Vacation. Christie Brinkley reprised her role as The girl in the red Ferrari in Vegas Vacation[5] and later spoofed it in a 2008 DirecTV commercial inter-spliced with footage from Vacation, recreating the famous swimming pool scene.[6]

Each sequel also manages to reference Walley World in some way.

In July 2012, it was announced that Ed Helms would star as Rusty Griswold in the upcoming film, New Vacation. The new version of the vacation adventures will follow Rusty, who now has his own family misadventures on the road. John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein will write and direct the film. It is currently unknown if Chevy Chase or Beverly D'Angelo will reprise their roles in the new film or if any of the other cast members from past films will appear.[7] The remake was postponed indefinitely due to creative differences.[8]

Legacy[edit]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ National Lampoon's Vacation at Rotten Tomatoes
  2. ^ Hughes, John. "Vacation '58 / Foreword '08". American Zoetrope. Retrieved December 18, 2012. 
  3. ^ "'Family Truckster' road tripping to Mecum auction in Houston". Foxnews.com. April 3, 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  4. ^ "Why They Got A New Audrey For National Lampoon's "Vacation"". Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  5. ^ "Christie Brinkley filmography in The New York Times". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-09-16. 
  6. ^ "Christie Brinkley Takes It Off For DirecTV". ET Online. 19 May 2008. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  7. ^ "Ed Helms to Play Rusty Griswold in New Vacation". ComingSoon.net. 11 July 2012. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  8. ^ Trumbore, Dave (23 April 2013). "VACATION Remake Delayed Indefinitely Citing Creative Differences over Movie Rating". Collider. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  9. ^ McCarthy, Caroline (26 January 2010). "HomeAway Super Bowl ad resurrects the Griswolds". CNET. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 

External links[edit]