“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” is overrated


Elyse Perry, editor

Christmas is probably my favorite holiday. Having said that, I have a lot of opinions about the movies that represent it. I love the classics like It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street, but some of the more popular, comedy-type movies are just not good. One such movie is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Christmas Vacation is a family movie, which means that the intended audience is all ages. With this being said, I can understand the use of adult humor to keep parents entertained; however, I draw the line at Clark Griswold fantasizing about a young store clerk skinny dipping in his family pool. I mean, while nothing else quite says Christmas like daydreaming about cheating on your wife, there are still children watching. For anyone who couldn’t tell, that is a joke. In my opinion, they shouldn’t have added the store clerk to the movie in the first place. Really, the whole store scene is unnecessary and derogatory to his wife. 

With that brought to light, I’m just going to come right out and say it: Clark Griswold is not a great person. Besides what I just mentioned, he is purposefully mean to so many people throughout the movie. If you don’t believe me, think about the people at his work that follow the boss. As they walk past him, he makes a point to make unique rude remarks to all of them. Besides that, he obviously looks down on Cousin Eddie because of his different lifestyle. Also, the way he treats his neighbors is particularly awful. I don’t blame Margot and Todd for not liking the Griswolds. 

One of the funniest parts of the movie is its attempt to relate so completely to America. Between the random reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance, the singing of the national anthem, and Clark’s company eliminating Christmas bonuses to save money, there is no doubt as to which country this trainwreck takes place in. It’s interesting to me that the climax of a Christmas movie was a SWAT team breaking in because of a kidnapping resulting from Clark not getting a bonus check. I get that Clark needs the money to pay for the pool, but a kidnapping? Eddie might not be all there, but he is an adult, and he should know that kidnapping is illegal. 

Christmas Vacation is one of my brother’s favorite movies, so I imagine I’ve seen it 100 times in my 18 years. I found it funny when I was little, but now I just find it hard to watch. While the movie does have some good, heartfelt scenes, they lose their touch by trying to make them funny. Much like the main character with literally every event (as the Griswolds so kindly pointed out multiple times), the public has built up this movie to standards that it simply can’t reach. 

I will agree that this movie is far from the worst, especially since copies of Elf are still on store shelves; however, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is probably the most overrated Christmas movie. This year, let’s put it away and watch something worthwhile that can bring out real Christmas spirit.