“Nobody’s walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We’re all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We’re gonna press on, and we’re gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he’s gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse.”
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a holiday classic. The National Lampoon Vacation movies are some of my favourite movies. This movie being released in December 1989 makes it 1 of the 2 greatest things to have happened in December that year…
Back to work… Christmas Vacation is a story about a typical American family during the Christmas holidays. Clark Griswold is a hard working middle-class man who is looking forward to spending Christmas with his whole family, and not to mention he’s waiting for his Christmas bonus from work because he needs to replace the money he used for a swimming pool….
but we’ll get back to that.
Throughout the entire movie, Clark is trying so hard to make sure his family has an amazing christmas, and to prove to them that he can do everything that needs to be done to make this Christmas a success. But….of course, things keep going wrong for him. He tries, and he just keeps failing. So this brings me to how the film uses Clark’s failure to humour us and entertain us. In the reading from A Companion to Film Comedy written by Andrew Horton and Joanna Rapf, they say that “Comedy and tragedy are cousins whose paths often cross”. We can see this right in the beginning of the film when the family is driving to get a tree and Clark gets into a little road rage fight with some guys in a truck. He some how managed to change lanes and end up under a transport truck, and then the car jumps a snow bank and just so happens to land in the parking lot of the tree lot. Tragedy = Comedy. Another example would be when Clark is trying to put up the christmas lights….the excessive amounts of christmas lights that NO HOUSE EVER NEEDS! and he some how manages to just cause complete chaos. He manages to not only almost kill himself by almost falling off the roof, but his poor neighbours just lost a sweet 1989 entertainment system. Again…Tragedy = Comedy. And more happens throughout the film, but lets jump ahead to when the quote above actually happens. Clark finally gets his christmas bonus and decides to finally tell his family about the swimming pool…..only it wasn’t what he thought it would be. CONGRATULATIONS! YOU JUST WON A ONE YEAR MEMBERSHIP TO SOME JELLY CLUB THING! Anddddd good guy Clark is gone.
but wait…”I CAN FIX THIS” he says to himself. And again, he tries. And everything that could possibly go wrong, goes wrong at this very moment. Everyone thinks it’s best to call it a night and just go home before things get anyworse… *ADD QUOTE HERE*
The mans gone crazy….
People just want to have fun filled family gatherings for christmas, no matter the outcome, no matter the situation. Clark is well aware that his christmas dinner is a complete failure but he. keeps. trying. As would many of us in society today.
It doesn’t end though. Failure keeps coming, even if it has nothing to do with Clark. Kind of reminds me of Stef and all her failures.
(if you haven’t read her blogs on stuff she’s bad at, I suggest you do so now. Here, I’ll help you out: http://stefcarachesser.wordpress.com/ ) Stef, you my girl. But bruh…lmao
When it comes to comedic performance traditions, I would say that Clark falls under both Farce and Mock-Bravado. There were many moments throughout the movie that show both of these performance traditions, I have already listed a couple above but I feel that these two moments specifically highlight these performances very well:
Each of these clips show examples of Clark having lots of confidence which ended in humiliation, and also moments that were extreme and ended completely out of control. There are many more moments, but these three were the first ones to come to mind.
All that confidence just for all that humiliation..but at the end of the day….