National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983) [review]

This is a classic which never seems to lose its brilliance and is as entertaining as it was back when it was released back in 1983. Which I think is due to the fact that we all know people like this, and probably feel this way about our own families, having to be stuck with them on holiday. Especially when it comes to being stuck in the confined space such as a car and when it comes to somebody who insists on having fun (their version of fun) while staying on what have planned.

The misfortunes of the Griswold family, and at moments extended family is one of being in situations which they have put themselves in, with the added bonus of none of it going the way it should… or maybe if certain people were smarter and did not insist on having the holiday the way they envisioned it. The pressure which is put upon the family heightens this to the point where it is ridicules and entertains. We connect with the characters while relieved that it’s not ourselves in the situation, but somebody we can watch and enjoy.

There are many great scenes in this film which lend themselves to absolute joy, fun and many a laugh. In a way, this is the journey, rather than the destination which matters, tearing a family apart and seeing what makes each of them tick and why they tolerate each other.

This film has a great ending which brings the film to a grand conclusion, without setting itself up for a sequel… although we do get one… in fact more than one. But it is very much has a standalone feel to it. It is a film which deserves our attention and gives us an hour and a half of enjoyment without needing to offend or shock.

There is a down to earth feeling about this film which leaves us to consider that we don’t need all the modern day technology. If this were made today, I’m sure there would be multiple versions of technology would find a way to get around some of the situations of the film in a way that would lessen what makes this as fantastic as it is.

The soundtrack to this film is a pleasure to hear, one which suits the film perfectly and gives a summer, joyous feel on repeat viewing. Which I have done many times over the years.


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