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YMMV / National Lampoon's Vacation

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Clark Griswold bullies and cajoles his family and others around him (he held a theme park guard at gunpoint and had his boss held hostage) to get the holiday vacations of his dreams - his ideals, which are based on nostalgia and are not necessarily what everyone else believes or wants/needs. With that said, he is apologetic enough for his outbursts, and he goes through enough crap over the films that his breakdowns are forgiven.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: Jeffrey Katzenberg was working at Paramount when Matty Simmons brought him the script. He rejected it on the grounds that it was too episodic, which Simmons countered by saying, that it was a road movie, so it was, by definition, episodic. Simmons then took the property to Warner Bros., where it was snapped up.
  • Awesome Music: The incredibly upbeat "Holiday Road" by Lindsey Buckingham.
  • Director Displacement: John Hughes wrote the script based on his short story, yet it was directed by Harold Ramis.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • The girl in the Ferrari has, no doubt, been iconic. Both for being sexy and having a small role. Hell, she makes a return in the third sequel.
    • Cousin Eddie.
  • First Installment Wins: Helped by intense sequelitis, from which only National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is found to get a pass.
    • The 2015 sequel is getting this reaction too with people who dislike the larger amounts of crude humor in comparison to the original, and how the film is essentially just a kinda-sorta remake of the original (with one of the film's own trailers lampshading this fact) with much more heavy-handed attempts at comedy; highlighted further by the fact the 2015 movie recreates almost shot for shot the famous "flirting with a hot woman on the highway" scene, only this one has her brutally killed in a head-on collision, which many viewers found to be a Comedic Sociopathy bit that leaned too heavily on the "sociopathy" part.
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  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: In the post-meltdown scene, Ellen reprimands Clark and tells him that she's afraid that he might kill the kids and/or hold up a McDonald's, the scene's become hard to laugh at over the years due to a real-life shooting at a San Ysidro McDonald's less than a year later.
  • Heartwarming Moments: After being typically antagonistic as brothers and sisters are, when Audrey freaks out about Aunt Edna's death, Rusty comforts her without a second thought.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Clark's line about how he'll wake up one day to find the kids are grown up is quite prophetic. Over three more films and fifteen years, the kids kept getting recast to stay roughly the same age, but then suddenly we get an adult Rusty going on his own vacation in the 2015 film.
    • All those complaints against the idea of going to Walley World by car instead of by plane became funnier after the 2015 film revealed that Rusty became an airplane pilot.
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    • Walley World being closed when the family arrives is much funnier since Six Flags Magic Mountain, the park used as Walley World, is now open 365 days a year (even on national holidays).
    • When the Griswolds arrive at Walley World, Colossus looks pretty large. Thanks to Six Flags Magic Mountain's commitment to larger, taller and faster steel coasters, the ride began to look a lot less intimidating after Goliath opened in 2000.
    • When Groverfirst appears near the end of the film, he asks "What's going on here?" before being held at gun point and being forced by Clark Griswold to "lie down, roll over, and stay." Frank McRae played a teacher in Red Dawn (1984), where he would ask the same question before getting shot for real.
  • Hollywood Homely: The pointless subplot about Clark, played by Chevy Chase, lusting after Christie Brinkley's character seems even more puerile given that Ellen is played by the stunning Beverly D'Angelo.
  • Incest Yay Shipping: Dana Barron and Anthony Michael Hall as Audrey and Russ seem closer than a normal set of siblings would be, which led to speculation they had an off-screen relationship.
  • Nausea Fuel: The family at one point stop off at a picnic area to have some lunch. As they're eating the sandwiches, they notice they're soggy. And then it hit them that Aunt Edna's dog urinated on the food. The family is understandably disgusted but Edna just shrugs and continues eating. Ugh.
  • Values Dissonance: The whole sequence in the black neighborhood was pushing things even at the time, and comes off as horrendously racist now (though it's actually toned down from the equivalent scene in the original short story). Even Harold Ramis regretted the scene.
  • What an Idiot!: The whole mess of a vacation would have been avoided had Clark (or even the far more rational Ellen) made a simple phone call to Walley World to confirm it was open for the season; they would have learned it was "closed for repairs." (Then again, phone call equals no movie and no fun for us, the viewers.)
    • Unless whatever happened to make Walley World need the repairs took place after the Griswolds departed or Clark decided to drive them somewhere else.
      • It's also been stated the horrific vacation would have been averted if they'd just taken a plane flight.


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