|Directed by:||Jeremiah S. Chechik|
|Written by:||John Hughes|
|Release date:||December 1, 1989|
|Running time:||1 hour, 36 minutes|
|Available on:|| VHS|
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (titled National Lampoon's Winter Holiday in the United Kingdom) is a 1989 Christmas comedy film directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik. It is the third installment in the National Lampoon's Vacation film series, and was written by John Hughes, based on his short story in National Lampoon Magazine, Christmas ‘59.
SPOILER: Plot details or story follow.
The movie begins with Clark taking his family on the search for a perfect Christmas tree. After aggravating nearby motorists, getting stuck under a big rig, and walking in the woods for a long time, he finally finds the said tree. (He digs it out himself because he forgot the saw.) He breaks several windows and gets covered in tree sap setting it up, as it barely fits in the yard, let alone the living room.
While shopping for gifts at a downtown Chicago department store, Clark meets a saleswoman named Mary (Nicolette Scorsese). He makes a series of Freudian slips to her on their first encounter, and later fantasizes about her skinny-dipping in his future pool (interrupted by his cousin-in-law's daughter).
Clark has been working on a project at his firm which he expects will bring in a good Christmas bonus. He plans to use the bonus to put in a swimming pool, which he has already laid down a $7,500 deposit on.
As Christmas approaches, the many members of Clark's extended family begin arriving to stay with him. His and Ellen's parents are the first to arrive. This drives him to go set up the lighting on the house with his son Rusty. He covers nearly every inch of the home's exterior and yard with lights (according to himself, a grand total of 25,000 Christmas lights). He becomes very frustrated after many attempts to get them working. Unknown to him, the electricity wasn't on to begin with. When Ellen heads to the back store room to get something, she flips a light switch, lighting the house (and causing the power plant to switch to nuclear generators for backup power), and blinding their unfriendly yuppie neighbors. After the lights are up and running, Ellen's cousin and cousin-in-law, Eddie and Catherine, along with their children, show up to stay with him for a month, with their dilapidated, rusty RV parked in the driveway the whole time. Stifling his disappointment at their surprise arrival proves difficult for Clark. However, he and Ellen are concerned about Eddie's children, as they won't have many, if any, gifts for Christmas, due to Eddie's seven year unemployment. Later on, Clark treats Rusty, Eddie, Catherine, and others to a sledding trip. He then adds a sheeting of a "Non-Choloric, Silicon-Based Kitchen Lubricent that his company had made, but results in the chemical compound shooting him at 800 mph for about 1 mile, leading to him becoming severly injured.
On Christmas Eve, the family's eldest members, Uncle Lewis and Aunt Bethany, arrive for dinner. Numerous disasters occur that evening: the turkey is cooked for far too long and it dries out, Aunt Bethany's cat is electrocuted when it chews on a strand of Christmas lights, Uncle Lewis burns the tree down while lighting a cigar, forcing Clark to quickly search for a replacement. He takes one from his yard and sets it up, and a maniac squirrel leaps out and "terrorizes" the family. A delivery from the company arrives at the house that evening, everyone expecting it to be the long-awaited bonus. Unfortunately, Clark's boss cut out bonuses without informing his employees. As a substitute, Clark is enrolled in the "Jelly of the Month" club.
Clark has now reached his boiling point, going through several outbursts out of severe frustration. The family attempts to leave due to the events of the evening. Eddie then kidnaps Clark's boss, and he finally sees reason about the Christmas bonuses. A SWAT team, called by his wife, raids the home, but he explains that it is all a misunderstanding and admits he was wrong to withhold bonuses from his employees. He then decides to give Clark his bonus, along with an added 20%.
Uncle Lewis' cigar ignites the gas from the sewage Eddie had earlier dumped down the storm drain while emptying the holding tank on his RV, blasting a Santa ornament into the sky. Everyone watches the strange but touching sight, as Clark realizes his dream of the perfect, albeit, weird, family Christmas.
Spoilers end here.
- This was the last movie Mae Questel made before her death. She was best known as the original voice of both Betty Boop and Olive Oyl from the Popeye cartoons.
Home video releases
|Chevy Chase||Clark Wilhelm "Sparky" Griswold, Jr.|
|Beverly D'Angelo||Ellen Smith Griswold|
|Juliette Lewis||Audrey Griswold|
|Johnny Galecki||Rusty "Russ" Griswold|
|John Randolph||Clark Wilhelm Griswold, Sr.|
|Diane Ladd||Nora Griswold|
|E.G. Marshall||Arthur "Art" Smith|
|Doris Roberts||Frances Smith|
|Randy Quaid||Cousin Edward "Eddie" Johnson|
|Miriam Flynn||Cousin Catherine Johnson|
|Cody Burger||Cousin Rocky Johnson|
|Ellen Hamilton Latzen||Cousin Ruby Sue Johnson|
|William Hickey||Uncle Lewis|
|Mae Questel||Aunt Bethany|
|Nicholas Guest||Todd Chester|
|Julia Louis-Dreyfus||Margo Chester|
|Brian Doyle-Murray||Frank Shirley|
- National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation at the Internet Movie Database
content from Wikipedia (view authors).