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Heartwarming / National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

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  • The scene where Clark gets locked in the attic. It might not sound that heartwarming, but while he's up there, he finds old recordings of his Christmases as a child from the 1950's. It's not that hard to notice a few Manly Tears running down the side of his face.
    • Clark watching the home movies is the first insight into why Clark is doing what he does. He doesn't just want to have a fun old fashioned family Christmas, he wants his fun old fashioned family Christmas. The magic of those old Christmases is why Clark insisted on having the entire family over for Christmas and it gives Clark's fanaticism real emotional depth.
  • Also, his final line. Despite the hellish disasters all December long, despite the near loss of life and sanity, in the end, he gets what he really wanted: A loving family experience at Christmas.
    • A small one at the end when the credits begin to roll, Clark, with a sense of accomplishment from the above entry still lingering, pets Cousin Eddie's dog Snots, the one who everyone is afraid to touch due to his sinus issues (and who had begged Clark for a belly rub earlier).
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    • The entire family, plus the Shirleys and the SWAT team, having a dance party at the end (including Mrs. Shirley dancing with elderly Uncle Louis).
  • The scene where Clark is reading "The Night Before Christmas" to the family. It's one of the quieter moments in the film yet it warms your heart at seeing everyone together and enjoying themselves.
    • Right before that is Clark's talk with his father and asking him if he'll read the poem. The response and his big smile summarize the entire situation.
      Clark Sr.: Nah, it's your house, your Christmas. I'm retiring.
    • * When Clark is reading The Night Before Christmas, we see Frances, Clark's mother in law (whose husband, Art, is relentlessly critical of Clark), watch him with a warm look, enjoying the moment.
  • Clark talking to his niece about Santa Claus, very sweet since he can't stand her father and she finds life at the Griswold household stable.
  • Doubles as a CMOA. Clark's father in law, Art, has been nothing but a Jerkass to Clark the entire film. However, when Clark is giving Frank Shirley the "Reason You Suck" Speech, Art stands up and gives Frank a Death Glare, almost daring him to not reinstate the bonuses.
    • The only reason Mr. Shirley is there is because Clark vocally wished he could berate him about cutting the bonuses, and Eddie took it literally, kidnapping Shirley. Obviously, it's a serious crime, but the not-so-bright Eddie thought it would calm Clark down and make him happy. Then on top of that, Clark, who's been nothing but vexed and contemptuous of Eddie since he showed up, fully admits (albeit in a snarky sort of way) that he's aware Eddie is a good person trying his best.
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  • When Clark and Ellen discover that Eddie can't afford presents for his kids, they decide to pitch in and buy them some.
  • The DVD Commentary featuring the director and about half the main cast going back and forth between laughing at the comedy and talking about how the heartwarming moments are making them cry all while praising everyone's performances.
    Beverly D'Angelo: (During the scene where Clark is watching old home movies) This is a good movie!
  • Just before the squirrel sequence, everyone is gathered around in the living room, and Clark Sr. has Ruby Sue in his lap, reading her a story.
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