National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989) is the third installment in the National Lampoon's Vacation film series.
Clark Griswold has decided to host nearly his entire extended family at his house for the holiday season, including his parents, his in-laws, his senile old Aunt Bethany and, eventually, possibly-inbred cousin-in-law Eddie. As can be expected, everything goes horribly wrong in the most hilarious way possible.
A perennial Christmas classic, and notably the only one of the Vacation series to take place at the Griswold home.
Had a Made for TV Movie sequel made in 2003.
- Absurdly Bright Light: The house's Christmas lights (when they work).
- Alcohol Hic: Ellen's mother has one while laughing at Clark's failed lights.
- Animated Credits Opening
- Ass Shove: "Bend over and I'll show ya!"
- Berserk Button: When Clark finds out that instead of a check his Christmas bonus is a year-long membership to the Jelly of the Month club, he does not take it well.
- Leads to Be Careful What You Wish For. During the ensuing rant, Clark says how much he'd love to have his boss right there in front of him to tell him what for. His well-meaning but moronic relative interprets that as a directive to go and kidnap Clark's boss.
- Big Blackout: Clark causes one when he turns his Christmas lights on.
- Big Damn Heroes: The SWAT team does this in the last act for Mr. Shirley. However, once they learn why he was kidnapped, however, they change tune:
SWAT Commander: That's pretty low, mister! If I had a rubber hose, I would beat you into a...
- Big Eater: Snots the dog and cousin Eddie
- Brick Joke: The flammable sewer gas.
- Butt Monkey: The Griswold's next door neighbors.
- Chekhov's Gun: Cousin Eddie's act of emptying out his RV's toilet into the Griswold's sewer is foreshadowed to have disastrous results... and thats exactly what happens in the last act of the film.
- Cigarette of Anxiety: Ellen begins smoking while having a minor anxiety attack in the kitchen due to the stress of her parents and Clarke's parents staying in their house. Lampshaded when her mother somehow instantly knows that she's smoking, from the other room, the instant she lights up.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Cousin Eddie
- Could be said of Aunt Bethany too... though she does moreso qualify as The Ditz as stated below.
- Cluster F-Bomb: "If any of you are looking for any last minute gift ideas for me... I have one."
- Continuity Nod: At one point, Clark and Eddie are seen drinking eggnog from Wally World-themed moose-headed cups.
- Crappy Holidays
- Cringe Comedy
- Death Glare: Clark gives them to practically everyone in the last act, even his own son.
- The Ditz: Aunt Bethany.
" Is this the airport, Clark? Is your house on fire, Clark? Is Rusty still in the navy? I just love riding in cars."
- Although she's more of a Cloudcuckoolander due to the fact that her comments seem to be a result of old age (and probable senility) than genuine stupidity.
- Double Take: "Can't see the line can you, Russ?"
- Earn Your Happy Ending
- Everything's Nuttier With Squirrels: Clark brings a Christmas tree into the house, which turns out to house a live squirrel. Hilariously, the entire scene is played out almost like something out of a horror movie.
- Finagle's Law
- Floorboard Failure: A justified variant when Clark is trapped in the attic. He deliberately steps between the rafters rather than on them, so his weight is supported only by sheetrock which, unsurprisingly, eventually gives in.
- Freudian Slip: "We needed a coffin--I mean a tree."
- Freudian Slippery Slope: The mall scene where Clark is talking to the buxom sales clerk:
- "I was just smelling--smiling! I was just blous--browsing..."
- "Yeah, it is a bit nipply out."
- From the Mouths of Babes: "Sorry. Shittin' rocks."
- The Grinch/The Scrooge: Clark's boss, who suspends his Christmas bonus in lieu of a membership to a Jelly-of-the-Month club. Notably, however, this one has a wife, who vocally expresses disgust at his miserliness once she learns what he's done.
- Grumpy Old Man: Uncle Lewis and Grandpa Art.
- Hockey Mask and Chainsaw: Clark when cutting the Christmas tree down to size.
- It Got Worse/Gone Horribly Wrong: The whole movie is the family's holiday doing this.
- Made of Explodium: The tree, the sewer gas.
- That crazy lubricant stuff Clark greased up his sled with.
- Marching Mooks in Suits
- The Mountains of Illinois: Seen in the opening scene at the Christmas tree farm.
- Ms. Fanservice: Mary, the buxom brunette sales clerk at the clothing store (who shows up again in Clark's daydream).
- Mundane Utility: Clark uses an extremely advanced experimental lubricant to grease up his sled. It doesn't work out so well.
- Noodle Implements: When even one of the SWAT team members calls Mr. Shirley out for not giving Clark a bonus.
SWAT Member: That's pretty low, mister! If I had a rubber hose, I would beat you into a...
- Obnoxious In-Laws: Ellen's parents to Clark. They will never miss an opportunity to put Clark down.
- The Other Darrin: Russ and Audrey, as usual.
- Though in the sequel, Audrey is once again played by Dana Barron who played her in the original 1983 film.
- Pretty in Mink: Clark's boss's wife wears a fox coat.
- Product Placement: Ol' Roy.
- Rant-Inducing Slight:
Clark: Ahh... hey! If any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I'd like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the other rich people. And I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head, and I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is! HALLELUJAH... HOLY SHIT! Where's the Tylenol?
- Rhetorical Request Blunder: Clark reacts to the news that he received a subscription to a Jelly-of-the-Month Club in lieu of a Christmas Bonus from his boss by ranting that he wished the boss was right there so he could chew him out. His cousin-in-law promptly jumps into his RV and kidnaps said boss.
- Rule of Funny
- Stuff Blowing Up
- Stepford Smiler: Clark, at the start of the last act.
- Slasher Smile: Clark, in the last act.
- That Poor Cat: Aunt Bethany's kitty electrocutes itself chewing on a Christmas light cord.
- The Unfavorite: Oddly enough, Ellen's father is shown to be much more approving of Cousin Eddie (the unemployed idiot who has his family living in an RV) than of Clark (who has provided Ellen with an upper-middle class lifestyle).
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Margo's last scene has her being surrounded by SWAT officers who have her at gunpoint, leaving us to wonder what happened to her after that.
- Maybe she just got arrested... or shot to death.
- Women Are Wiser: Ellen. Although everyone is wiser than Clark.
- X-Ray Sparks: Happens when Santa Claus gets electrocuted by the lights in the animated opening credits.
- Yandere: Clark gets like this in the last act. Subverted, however in that he is a mostly nice person -- he gets better pretty quickly when he finally gets a break.
- Yuppie Couple: Clark's neighbors Todd and Margo.