Saturday, December 10, 2011

"Christmas Vacation" 1989

"Christmas Vacation"

After the original Vacation movie, this is my favorite.  My husband and I went to see this on a Saturday when it came out.  Our son was about six months old and since it was his nap time, we figured that it would be alright to bring him along and save the babysitter.  It is this incident that convinced me that babies don't belong in the theater.

Don't let the innocent face fool you.

It was fine to start off with.  I held him on my lap and he dozed off.  Being a young mom, I thought smugly how easy it was. 

The movie starts with the Griswolds off to buy the family Christmas tree.  Clark has definite ideas about how to celebrate Christmas.  He wants the perfect family Christmas. 

Rusty Griswold: Dad, this tree won't fit in our back yard.
Clark: It's not going in the yard, Russ. It's going in the living room.

Clark invites all the grandparents to their Christmas.  Soon there is a houseful of relatives. 

Clark begins hi project of having the best lights on the block, heck in the city of Chicago.  But he has a few obstacles along the way.

He almost falls of a ladder, has to untangle a huge ball of lights and check every bulb.  Finally it is all set up.  But when he turns them on, nothing happens. 

Finally Ellen figures out the problem and they have a moment to bask in the joy.

Then Cousin Eddie shows up with his family and starts shaking things up.

Ellen: What are you looking at?
Clark: Oh, the silent majesty of a winter's morn... the clean, cool chill of the holiday air... an a$$hole in his bathrobe, emptying a chemical toilet into my sewer...
[Eddie, in the driveway, is draining the RV's toilet]
Eddie: $hitter was full.
Clark: Ah, yeah. You checked our $hitters, honey?
Ellen: Clark, please. He doesn't know any better.
Clark: He oughta know it's illegal. That's a storm sewer. If it fills with gas, I pity the person who lights a match within ten yards of it.

It was about this point in the movie that my son started fussing.  He wasn't crying, but he couldn't decide who he wanted to sit with.  He'd lean toward his daddy than a minute later stretch to return to me.

So for the rest of this viewing he was yo-yoing between us.   It got extremely distracting.  He never started crying, I would have left the theater.  But he was bouncing around. Finally he started to settle on my husband's lap. 

That is where the trouble really started.  We had changed his diaper before we'd left the house, but it was now a couple of hours later and was reaching maximum capacity.

On my husband's knee, he tipped over the limit and soaked my husband's jeans. 

I had a complete extra outfit for the baby.  That is something you do for a six month old.  Not something you do for your 28 year old husband.  The big issue is that we didn't have time to go home and change.  And he had to work right after the movie.

Not only would he be working.  He would be working with  the public. 

Now baby pee doesn't smell as potent as grown ups, but I imagine standing there knowing why your jeans are damp is disconcerting to say the least.  It made for a long day.

We never brought a baby to a movie again.   In fact my son's next movie in a theater was "The Lion King" in 1994.   

Since then we have watched this movie many times.  It doesn't really feel like Christmas till we've seen Clark imagine his family pool. 

I know this is from the first movie.  I couldn't find a picture.

Or Cousin Eddie kidnapping Clark's boss and tying him up in a bow. 

I am a bit of a Clark sometimes.  I obsess over the experience and want everyone to be happy and get a little crazy about it.  I've never had the breakdown that comes in all the Vacation movies.

Clark: Where do you think you're going? Nobody's leaving. Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We're all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny f**king Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white a$$ down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of a$$holes this side of the nuthouse.

In the end, Clark loves his family and they realize even if a SWAT team crashes the party, everything is about that love.  He just wants them to be happy.  His intentions are pure. 

So enjoy this movie.  But don't take a baby to the movies.  Even if they don't cry, no one will have a good time. 

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