Holiday movie pick: Christmas Vacation (1989)
In the third installment of National Lampoon's Vacation series, Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold is once again on a quest for the "perfect vacation" -- this time at home. Unfortunately, his relatives ruin any chance of achieving this goal.
The movie is at its best when Chase is quietly losing his mind. He has to contend with his insane relatives, including Randy Quaid who arrives in a motor home and informs Clark that he's staying a month. Eventually, this happens:
Ellen: What are you looking at?
Clark: Oh, the silent majesty of a winter's morn... the clean, cool chill of the holiday air... an asshole in his bathrobe, emptying a chemical toilet into my sewer...
[Eddie, in the driveway, is draining the RV's toilet]
Eddie: Shitter was full.
Clark: Ah, yeah. You checked our shitters, honey?
Ellen: Clark, please. He doesn't know any better.
Clark: He oughta know it's illegal. That's a storm sewer. If it fills with gas, I pity the person who lights a match within ten yards of it.
I can't say this is a great movie, but it does contain many great moments that seem to rise above the shortcomings. Even though this was written by John Hughes (based on his National Lampoon story "Christmas '59"), it probably needed a stronger director to elevate it to what it could have been. Still, it does seem to get better with each viewing.
My favorite scenes: Clark Griswold's failures with lighting up 250 strands of Christmas lights and eventual triumph which takes a nuclear reactor for backup power.