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National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is a 1989 Christmas comedy film directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik. It is the third installment in National Lampoon's Vacation film series, and is considered a holiday classic. The title song of the same name was written for the movie by the husband-wife song writing team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, performed by Mavis Staples.

Plot

The movie begins with Clark taking his family on the search for a perfect Christmas tree. After aggravating nearby motorists, getting stuck under a big rig, and walking in the woods for a long time, Clark finally finds said tree. (He digs the tree out himself because he forgot the saw.) Clark breaks several windows and gets covered in tree sap setting it up, as it barely fits in the yard, let alone the living room.

While shopping for gifts at a downtown Chicago department store, Clark meets a saleswoman named Mary. He makes a series of Freudian slips to her on their first encounter, and later fantasizes about her skinny-dipping in his future pool (interrupted by his cousin's daughter)

Clark has been working on a project at his firm which he expects will bring in a good Christmas bonus. Clark plans to use the bonus to put in a swimming pool, which he has already laid down a $7,500 deposit on.

As Christmas approaches, the many members of Clark's extended family begin arriving to stay with him. Clark's and Ellen's parents are the first to arrive. This drives him to go set up the lighting on the house with his son Rusty. He covers nearly every inch of the home's exterior and yard with lights (according to Clark himself, a grand total of 25,000 Christmas lights). Clark becomes very frustrated after many attempts to get the lights working. Unknown to him, the electricity wasn't on to begin with. When Clark's mother heads to the back store room to get something, she clicks a light switch, lighting the house (and causing the power plant to switch to nuclear generators for backup power), and blinding their unfriendly yuppie neighbors. After the lights are up and running, Ellen's cousin-in-law and cousin, Eddie and Catherine, along with their children show up to stay with him for a month, with their dilapidated, rusty RV parked in the driveway the whole time. Stifling his disappointment at their surprise arrival proves difficult for Clark. However, Clark and Ellen are concerned about Eddie's children, as they won't have many, if any gifts, for Christmas, due to Eddie's seven year unemployment.

On Christmas Eve, the family's eldest members, Uncle Lewis and Aunt Bethany, arrive for dinner. Numerous disasters occur that evening: The turkey is cooked for far too long and dries out, the aunt's cat is electrocuted when it chews on a strand of Christmas lights, Lewis burns the tree down, forcing Clark to quickly search for a replacement. He takes one from his yard and sets it up, and a manic squirrel leaps out and "terrorizes" the family. A delivery from the company arrives at the house that evening, everyone expecting it to be the long-awaited bonus. Unfortunately, Clark's boss cut out bonuses without informing his employees. As a substitute, Clark is enrolled in the "Jelly of the Month" club.

Clark has now reached his boiling point, going through several outbursts out of severe frustration. The family attempts to leave due to the events of the evening. Eddie then kidnaps Clark's boss, and the boss finally sees reason about the Christmas bonuses. A SWAT team, called by the boss' wife, raids the home, but the boss explains that it is all a misunderstanding and admits he was wrong to withhold bonuses from his employees. He then decides to give Clark his bonus, along with an added 20%.

Uncle Lewis' cigar ignites the gas from the sewage Eddie had earlier dumped down the street drain while emptying the holding tank on his RV, blasting a Santa ornament into the sky. Everyone watches the strange but touching sight, as Clark realizes his dream of the perfect, albeit weird, family Christmas.

Cast



Box office performance

The movie debuted at #1 at the box-office while grossing $11,750,203 during the opening weekend. It went on to gross a total of $71,319,546 in the United States while showing in movie theaters. In addition to its box-office performance, the movie has made $34,800,000 in video rental profits.

Soundtrack

There was no official soundtrack at the time of the film's release, however, 20,000 soundtrack CDs were issued in 1999 as a 10th anniversary of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. These CDs were manufactured and distributed by RedDotNet and were sold exclusively at Six Flags Magic Mountainmarker theme park (where portions of the original National Lampoon's Vacation were filmed) as a kiosk promotion only.

Sequels

This is the only sequel in the Vacation series to have spawned its own direct sequel: a direct to video 2003 release entitled National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure. Randy Quaid and Miriam Flynn returned as Eddie and Catherine, along with Dana Barron again appearing as Audrey, which she played in Vacation, and Eric Idle, who played "The Bike Rider" in European Vacation reprises the role, only this time being credited as "British Man on Plane". (In both films, Idle is accidentally beaten to a bloody pulp by the main characters.). This straight to video release, however has not been very successful.Christmas Vacation is preceded in the Vacation series by:

Christmas Vacation is followed in the series by:

Television broadcast and Censorship

The broadcast television rights to Christmas Vacation are held by NBC, which currently airs a censored version of the movie every December, usually on a Sunday night. In 2006, NBC did not air the movie, which instead appeared on TBS, which listed it six times on its schedule between Sunday, Dec. 17 and Sunday. Dec. 24, 2006. The TBS broadcast included some of the risque language of the theatrical release, including the series of double entendre remarks a flustered Clark utters when he encounters sexy department store saleswoman Mary (Nicolette Scorsese) at the negligee counter. The film is often criticized for "pushing too hard at the PG-13 limit".

The CBC however, has no problem broadcasting the movie with some scenes that its American counterpart censors. For example, in the beginning of the film, Clark is antagonized by a couple of men in a truck and then flips them off. This is shown in Canada, but not in the USA.

The French version of the film is also broadcasted every year by TVA, usually in mid-December.

TNT broke with tradition starting in September 2007 by airing Christmas Vacation six times during the weekend of the 15th and 16th mixed between the original Vacation and Vegas Vacation. It is not known if NBC has made an agreement with TNT's regular programming and rights for the film, but the networks share coverage for sporting events such as the PGA and NASCAR races.

On December 19, 2007, the film made its debut on Turner Classic Movies.

In Australia, The Nine Network has a tradition where it is aired every Christmas night.

In the UK, Christmas Vacation has aired numerous years, usually around the festive season; Five currently holds the UK rights to the Vacation movie series.

On October 14, 2009, the film made its debut on CMT.

References

  1. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=weekend&id=christmasvacation.htm Box Office Mojo box office information
  2. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097958/business IMDb box office and rental information


External links




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