Pop Culture Homework Assignment #6: Christmas Vacation

I may be Jewish, but I'm not immune to the impulse to watch entertaining Christmas movies when the holiday rolls around. I don't really bother with It's A Wonderful Life much anymore, but I'll always be in the mood for A Christmas Story. And I suppose Die Hard counts as a Christmas movie, right? I'll go ahead and decree that it is. For some reason, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation has always just slipped through the cracks. It's certainly hallowed by both Christmas movie fans and National Lampoon fans, so I'm not sure why it took me this long to watch it, but I finally plopped down and gave it a whirl.

One of the inherent dangers of the Pop Culture Homework Project is having to live up to the widespread stamp of approval that society has given a particular work. Since I'm arriving late to the experience, a beloved property can turn out to be disappointing. I'm afraid that's pretty much what happened here.

There's just too much history weighing down on this movie. We're pretty much past the era of comedies composed of nothing but pratfalls. We know what Chevy Chase and Randy Quaid have turned out to be like. It's fun to see kid versions of Johnny Galecki and Juliette Lewis, but their parts are pretty minor. I get the feeling that if I'd seen this movie in 1989 when it was released, I'd be a bigger fan of it. As it is, I feel like it's a so-so fluff movie that doesn't really deserve its place in the Christmas Canon.

Christmas Vacation: C


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