The Great Outdoors (film)
|The Great Outdoors|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Howard Deutch|
|Produced by||John Hughes
|Written by||John Hughes|
|Music by||Thomas Newman|
|Editing by||Seth Flaum
William D. Gordean
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Release date(s)||June 17, 1988|
|Running time||91 minutes|
The Great Outdoors is a 1988 American comedy film starring Dan Aykroyd and John Candy. Annette Bening and Stephanie Faracy co-star. Robert Prosky, Lucy Deakins and Lewis Arquette have supporting roles. The film was directed by Howard Deutch and written and produced by John Hughes.
Chicagoan Chester "Chet" Ripley (Candy), his wife, Connie (Faracy), and their two sons, Buck (Young) and Ben (Giatti), are on vacation at a lake resort in Pechoggin, Wisconsin during the summer. All is going as planned until Connie's sister, Kate (Bening), Kate's investment broker husband, Roman Craig (Aykroyd), and their twin daughters, Mara and Cara (Rebecca and Hilary Gordon), crash the vacation.
Ghost stories at the family BBQ include one of a man-eating grizzly bear that Chet met face-to-face when he was younger. Chet says that while he and Connie were honeymooning at the same lake, he was attacked by a giant grizzly bear. When Chet fired at it with a shotgun, the buckshot shaved the hair off the top of the bear's head and from that day on, it was known as the 'Bald-Headed Bear' of Claire County.
After Roman pulls Chet around the lake on an impromptu water ski ride with his rented speedboat, tensions between families erupt. Chet is ready to pack up and go home, even as teenager Buck tries to romance local girl, Cammie (Deakins). The budding romance goes well until Chet is challenged to eat the Old 96'er (a 96-ounce steak) at a family dinner which causes Buck to break the date. Buck tries to apologize to Cammie for being late, but Cammie refuses to speak to him.
Connie and Kate bond at a local bar when the conversation drifts to Kate's challenges of being wealthy. Later, just at the peak of tension between families, it emerges that Roman has made a bad investment and is broke. He has not told Kate and was planning to hit up Chet for the cash.
Later, during a thunderstorm, the twins wander off and fall into a mine shaft. Chet and Roman eventually find them, but the claustrophobic Roman is reluctant to descend into the tiny mine shaft. After some encouragement from Chet, Roman summons up all his courage, while Chet goes in search of a rope to pull them out. Upon realizing that the mine is stocked with old dynamite, Roman takes his daughters and climbs out of the shaft on his own.
When Chet returns with the rope, he is horrified to discover the 'Bald-Headed Bear', lurking in the mine. It chases him back to the house, smashes through the door, and rampages through the house. Wally (Prosky), the cabin owner, bursts into the house with a loaded shotgun. Chet takes the gun and shoots the bear's rear end.
The next morning, the two families part on good terms. Unbeknownst to Chet, Connie has invited Roman's family to stay with them until they can get back on his feet. Cammie and Buck make up and end their summer romance, as Buck and his family head back to Chicago.
- Dan Aykroyd as Roman Craig
- John Candy as Chester Chet Ripley
- Stephanie Faracy as Connie Ripley
- Annette Bening as Kate Craig
- Robert Prosky as Wally
- Chris Young as Buck Ripley
- Ian Giatti as Ben Ripley
- Hillary and Rebecca Gordon as Cara and Mara Craig
- Lucy Deakins as Cammie
Ducey's Bass Lake Lodge, a rustic 1940s resort in Bass Lake, was featured as Wally and Juanita’s Perk’s Pine Lodge. The Loon’s Nest vacation cabin, built as a set, was designed to match the style of Ducey’s existing cabins.
Janet Maslin of The New York Times describes the film as not having enough collective energy to light a campfire. She says the film is not "actively unfunny" but that it does little more tread water. Kevin Thomas of The Los Angeles Times describes the film as "a crass, blah comedy about summer vacation perils" and says he is surprised the film got made at all. He describes the credits sequence where Aykroyd dances to Wilson Pickett's "Land of a 1,000 Dances" as the only genuine fun and energy in the entire film.
- JOHN McKINNEY (November 12, 1995). "Wandering Around Bass Lake. Hiking: Southern Sierra Nevada".
- "Great Outdoors". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster.
- Maslin, Janet (1988-06-17). "Movie Review - The Great Outdoors - Review/Film; Country Life For Aykroyd And Candy". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-29.
- "MOVIE REVIEW : Candy, Aykroyd Wasted in 'Great Outdoors'". Los Angeles Times. 1988-06-17. Retrieved 2012-06-29.
- "WEEKEND BOX OFFICE : 'Heat,' 'Outdoors' Strong; 'Big' Still Huge". Los Angeles Times. 1988-06-21. Retrieved 2012-06-29.
- "The Great Outdoors". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
- The Great Outdoors at the Internet Movie Database
- The Great Outdoors at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Great Outdoors at AllRovi