Goes without saying I guess, but like most folks, I dig the Chevy Chase classic National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. The story of the Griswold family hosting all the relatives for a few days over the holidays is always required viewing every December. Briskly paced with a lot of legit laugh out loud moments, and with just enough Christmas nuggets thrown in for good measure. It’s almost worth sitting through just for one scene.
Namely, this one:
Cousin Eddie on the diving board never fails to make me smile. Apparently others felt the same, so the decision was made to do a sequel to the original Christmas Vacation focusing solely on Eddie.
No Aunt Bethany.
No, we get nothing but the antics of Eddie for the duration of the film. Hmmm…thinking that would be a stretch. So what the heck, let’s just throw him on an island and see what happens.
Seriously though, show of hands: who thought this was a good idea?
So this train wreck stars, bu before we see what Eddie is up to, we are introduced to Clark Griswold III. Or Clark Griswold Johnson III. He’s not Clark’s son – he’s Eddie’s son.
To be honest, I feel like I’d need a Venn diagram just to try to sort out what the kid said. Turns out that Third (and I am not calling him that to be clever – that’s what they call him throughout the rest of the movie!) is super smart. You’d question why or how Eddie’s kid would have any synapses firing at all, but trust me, that’s the least of our worries here today.
Because we have bigger issues. Much bigger issues. Namely stuff like this:
See, this would be Eddie’s job – working at a research facility and being injected with nuclear waste to see what type of effect it has on the brain. Note I didn’t single out the human brain. That is because a monkey is also being shot up with neon green sludge. While their noggins are being scanned (check out the high tech computers in the background!), the real tell tale is the pair paying nonstop sessions of tic-tac-toe…all of which Eddie loses. His failure to beat a chimp at this rudimentary game causes him to lose his job as well.
Upon witnessing this scene, my wife looked me straight in the eye and said, “Turn it off. Now. I cannot take this. This is already the stupidest movie I’ve ever seen.”
For the uninitiated, I should note that horrible movies are a passion of hers as well. She’s seen pretty much every one of the Christmas films I’ve inducted, some of which came via her suggestion! She’s been right by my side watching such epics as Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny…Santa Buddies…Babes in Toyland (with the amazingly coked-up Drew Barrymore)…The Star Wars Holiday Special (with the amazingly coked up Carrie Fisher)…so many others.
She couldn’t make it four minutes into this.
Me? Do I get to run for the hills as well? No. And why?
I stick around because of YOU.
I feel like I should shill for my Patreon here, but honestly, a gift certificate to the local psychiatrist would be a better present if you’re looking to do something for me this holiday season.
Eddie’s family no longer shacks up in an RV – they are now living in Chicago, in a beautiful house. Before you utter (as I did) “that makes no sense!”, we learn he is house sitting for Clark’s daughter Audrey. So she somehow made the cut, even if poor Rusty didn’t.
Fun Fact! I have that exact same blow mold Santa on the side of my house.
Not so Fun Fact! I now have to get rid of it as it reminds me of this atrocious movie.
I may also have to sell my toilet, as next we get a scene where Eddie is taking a bath and all the water in the bathroom goes haywire. There’s no real setup for any of this – water just starts spraying all over the place, I guess so Randy Quaid can make stupid faces in an effort to make us laugh.
Same thing happens when Eddie goes to beg for his job back.
SPOILER ALERT: that doesn’t work.
I do not laugh.
Were you watching this, and trust me, I advise you never do, you would not either.
I guess I should note that the cinematic reason for Eddie looking like that in the picture above this text is due to the fact that the monkey he’d been working with decided to bite him in the anus.
I can only imagine Mrs. Deal’s reaction had she stuck around for THAT.
In hopes of avoiding a lawsuit, the research facility offers Eddie and his family an island vacation for Christmas. Now before I go any further I really should tell you this Eddie is far removed from the scumbag ne’er do good from the original film.
In this film, Eddie always tries to do the right thing…smiles and admits he’s just a big failure. Sure, he’s still wearing ridiculous leisure suits, but this ain’t Eddie. First movie Eddie would have punched this Eddie in the mouth.
Kinda like I want to right now.
Finally we are introduced to Audrey, who comes home wanting to kill herself. Really, that is verbatim what she said. See, she’s completely depressed as her boyfriend has dumped her. In lieu of staying home and crying, she decides she is now also coming along for the trip.
Oh, aside from Audrey there is one other holdover from the first film. Eh, kinda sorta. Anyone remember Snotz?
Yeah, the dog. He’s around too. But he doesn’t sneeze anymore – he just farts and smells bad. Likely because you don’t need to do anything special when you ‘film’ such things. And that’s par for the course for this movie, which appears to be made putting forth as little effort as humanly possible. Crappy sets, scenes obviously filmed in one take, terrible dialogue. Heck, just look at the title at the top of this page – that isn’t something I slopped together, that was the actual main graphic for the film! How much time was spent on that? Five seconds?
And then when Eddie throws a piece of meat and Snotz knocks the Christmas tree over? We don’t even see it; instead there’s just a blank screen and a crash sound effect.
How hard is it to film a tree falling over?
Prior to taking off, we get another family member, as Eddie’s Uncle Nick shows up. One would have to assume that Ed Asner must have lost a bet. Only explanation for the poor guy slumming in a film such as this. His backstory goes that Aunt Jessica ran off with the Christmas tree delivery man and now he’s all alone.
No, I didn’t know Christmas tree delivery men existed either.
And yeah, as you would guess he is going along on the trip too.
Finally we get to the island, and we meet Muka Laka Miki, who works for the research facility on the island. Honestly, she’s basically just eye candy for a film in dire need of something…anything…to make it more enjoyable.
Yep, she’ll do.
We are also introduced to an Australian who flies a plan and owns a hotel on a private island. His name is Jack.
Wait a minute…this horrible movie has now introduced a character named OUTBACK JACK.
That’s gotta be a rib on me.
So the group goes out into a boat, and as you’d guess, chaos ensues. Chaos, not hilarity. Unless your idea of hilarity is Randy Quaid splitting his gonads with a fishing rod. Then hilarity is all yours. Hee haw and merry Christmas.
The boat trip naturally doesn’t go well, and the cast is tossed upon the shores of a remote tropical island. If they run into Mary Ann or the Harlem Globetrotters, I’ll forgive this movie.
So Eddie jumps out of the boat and…
…well, suddenly I feel dumber than ever for watching this movie.
Which I didn’t even think was possible.
And now we go full Gilligan, with the group attempting to survive on the island sans phones lights and motor cars. If you are asking what on earth any of this has to do with Christmas, well, we do get random Christmas songs here and there just to try to keep the incredibly vague premise that this is a yuletide celebration of some sort.
Honestly, though, the one line in the entire film that captures what this movie is all about is Uncle Nick who, after a bowel movement, explains that “when you get to be my age, a good dump is one of the great pleasures in life.”
I can’t believe after all these years, you kids still doubt me when I quote idiocy like that. Whatever, here’s your proof.
And hey, if you want some perv action, you’re covered as well. Here we catch Third going through puberty as he spies on Muka emerging nekked from a pond. As he has his peep show, we get following dialogue: “Oh my. Oh my. Oh my!”
But then we see that he is not alone:
What is it with holiday specials showing us elderly men getting aroused? What does that have to do with Christmas?
Up yours, Uncle Nick!
And up yours, Grandpa Itchy!
So Christmas arrives on the island (Catherine: “I’d almost forgotten about it, what with all that’s happened!”) and the crew celebrates by building a house and roasting a pig that Eddie happened to fall on with a stick. I’d further mock the absurdity of the movie in that…
- No one’s clothes ever get dirty
- Nick has somehow created a Santa suit complete with beard
- The pig looks perfectly succulent, to a level you’d see on like HGTV or something
- The house is perfect. Well, except when it falls down. But even then, it would take what, 15 minutes to put it back up?
I could rant for hours, but you know what? I’m not going to…because at this point they burst into song, with everyone smiling and singing about the joy of Christmas. When that happens in one of these films, it means but one thing – the movie is OVER.
And that is truly cause for celebration!
So once again, I thank you fellow Crappers for a great year. I know that 2020 will be even…wait a sec, what is THAT?
Why does the timer say there’s TWENTY SIX MINUTES LEFT???!!
THEY ARE SINGING AND SMILING AND EVERYTHING!!!!
THAT MEANS IT IS OVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
At this point, no joke, Mrs. Deal comes back in the room and tries to calm me down. “Well, it won’t be a full twenty-six minutes. I mean, there will be end credits.”
God bless my wife, but I literally screamed…
“CREDITS???? WHO WOULD TAKE ANY CREDIT FOR THIS?????!!!!”
No, no…we don’t get an ending, instead we get Eddie falling asleep and, oh no, heaven help me…
A DREAM SEQUENCE????!!!!!
Infinitely worse than the Star Wars Holiday Special that is. I’m not sure that this movie is actually better than either of those!
Just as I was about to give up all hope, Outback Jack arrives in his seaplane to rescue them. He explains that he was in the area going to the hotel he owns, which just so happened to be less than ten miles away on the same island.
For whatever reason, this makes everyone very sad; you’d think that being rescued from certain, almost imminent death, would make for happy times. Let’s face it – Eddie isn’t going to randomly impale a pig every day for y’all to feast upon.
As the crew prepares to get on the plane, Eddie accidentally shoves Jack off a cliff. Thankfully, we don’t get a mini-episode of Audrey nursing him back to health, but he does pass out as he is flying the family back to safety.
This means but one thing: it’s up to Eddie to land the plane.
Remember when I mentioned there were twenty-six minutes left? This sequence with Eddie flying takes up, no joke, half that time, going way over ten hideously unfunny minutes. So the gag is that Eddie keeps nearly running into the tower and with the air traffic controller continually saying “Merry Christmas” while alternating that with “Please don’t hit us.” Just like the rest of the movie, it seems it will never end and has no comedic value whatsoever. But eventually he gets the plane down and everyone safe. Eddie’s celebration? Giving a thumbs up, looking at the camera, and saying “Bingo.”
Yes, just like that weird sledding sequence in the first film. That wasn’t just me right? Watch Christmas Vacation and you will notice it seems completely random with bizarre canned music and a close up of Randy Quaid on a completely black background that almost assuredly was done weeks after production had ceased.
I can’t be the only one who thought that was totally bizarre.
But hey, any offbeat segment of that film is a trillion times better than this. For you completists, the final shot of this movie is Eddie and the monkey flying upside down in a plane while “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” plays in the background for no adequately explained reason.
Who cares. This time, the movie truly IS over.
And if that’s not a reason to celebrate, I don’t know what is!
And to all my fellow Crappers, I wish you the merriest of Christmas…and a most blessed 2020!
This is where I usually put in the Patreon request…but at this time of the rolling year, I ask instead that you make a donation to your local food pantry. Help out those who truly need it this holiday season!!!