REVIEW: Vacation [2015]

“I’m as hard as a faucet right now” I smelled trouble as soon as Ed Helms was cast in Vacation as the now father-of-two Rusty Griswold. While the perfect surrogate for Chevy Chase‘s bumbling Clark in a remake of the original National Lampoon’s Vacation, he’s a far cry from the character he’s meant to play in this half reboot/half sequel. I made the mistake of rewatching that first entry into the Griswold’s saga to realize it coupled with the equally fantastic Christmas Vacation prove Rusty was always the one family…

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REVIEW: National Lampoon’s Vacation [1983]

“Nothing worthwhile is easy. You know that.” You can’t blame the magazine for thinking movie-making was going to be easy after the success of National Lampoon’s Animal House. But does anyone really remember its two follow-ups National Lampoon’s Movie Madness and National Lampoon’s Class Reunion? I didn’t think so. Something about the latter must have hit someone’s funny bone, though, because screenwriter John Hughes—a writer for the periodical—would get another shot. This time it was in the form of a somewhat established property the producers knew could be successful as…

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REVIEW: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation [1989]

“Look around you, Ellen. We’re at the threshold of hell.” While I enjoy A Christmas Story‘s 1940s holiday aesthetic like the rest—when it’s not on 24-hour TBS repeat—I prefer my dysfunctional yuletide spirit to hit a little closer to home. This is where Christmas Vacation comes in, National Lampoon’s 1989 classic continuation of the Griswold clan’s shenanigans that takes place the same decade as the one when I was still young enough to awaken every December 25th extra early to see what Santa brought. While the details aren’t exactly the…

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REVIEW: Fletch [1985]

“Jesus H. Christ on a popsicle stick” Being someone who never quite understood the appeal of Chevy Chase until his wonderful return to show business with television’s “Community”, it’s no surprise I never caught up with his more famous role in Fletch. Always finding an off-putting smugness where I was supposed to enjoy deadpan sarcasm, the urge to punch him in the face rather than laugh has lingered over the years. Sure, I enjoyed him in smaller roles like Caddyshack and have fond childhood memories of Funny Farm despite not…

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REVIEW: Hot Tub Time Machine [2010]

“Look at the douchebag from Karate Kid 3” Hooray for the reunion of Steve Pink and John Cusack, screenwriter and star respectively of contemporary classics Grosse Pointe Blank and High Fidelity. They are back and it’s with … Hot Tub Time Machine? Well, it isn’t quite the highbrow humor I was expecting from the duo, but then Pink didn’t write this one. Instead he helms the shenanigans as three old, yet currently distant, friends decide to journey back to the place that brought them their happiest memories. With Adam, (Cusack),…

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