The ultimate 80s "Vacation" movie is...
Ah yes, the Friday before Christmas is upon us. Time for offices around many parts of the world to start emptying and people to scatter out of town for a much-needed vacation. (I figure anyone above the rank of bird colonel will have mentally vacated by noon Thursday.)
But not at Stuck in the 80s. We signed up for a full tour of duty -- even Christmas Day, when I'll be the only human sitting in a downtown building that morning. But don't cry for me: As always, I'll take refuge in some of my favorite "National Lampoon's Vacation" movies. But which one is truly superior? That's what we'll decide today.
THE ORIGINAL "NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VACATION" (1983)
THE CAST: Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo and Randy Quaid -- the holy trio. But also Anthony Michael Hall as "Rusty," Christie Brinkley nearly naked and John Candy as as the security guard.
TRIVIA: Written by John Hughes, who based the story on his own family's trip to Disneyland as a child.
MEMORABLE LINE: "You'll be whistling 'Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah' out of you're a--holes! I gotta be crazy! I'm on a pilgrimage to see a moose."
VERDICT: Chevy Chase's best work? Or was it "Fletch"?
EUROPEAN VACATION (1985):
THE CAST: No "Farmer Ted" in this one. But appearances by Monty Python's Eric Idle and Moon Unit Zappa help.
TRIVIA: The only installment not to feature Randy Quaid. Directed by Amy Heckerling ("Fast Times at Ridgemont High").
MEMORABLE LINE: "Oink oink, my good man!"
VERDICT: I had just returned from a trip to Europe so I thought it was funnier than probably 95 percent of everyone else in the theater.
CHRISTMAS VACATION (1989):
THE CAST: Another new set of Griswold children (Johnny Galecki and Juliette Lewis). Brian Doyle-Murray returns (he appeared in the original as the campground owner). And Julia Louis-Dreyfus co-stars as the yuppie neighbor to the Griswolds.
TRIVIA: Spawned a little-known sequel -- "Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure" (direct to video in 2003).
MEMORABLE LINE: "Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?"
VERDICT: Watching it is a holiday tradition, but is it the best of the bunch?
THE WINNER: All hail, Marty Moose! The original "Vacation" still reigns supreme.