I moved National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation up to #2 this year because we all need to laugh and Chevy Chase' sincere Clark Griswold is the Jimmy Stewart ethos of an SNL generation. What the first LampoonVacation movie did for family road trips, this Christmas comedy does for holiday togetherness. Chevy Chase's Clark Griswold has a pedal to the metal vision of an old fashioned family Christmas. Even in the unrelenting glare of judgmental in-laws, rigid neighbors, discontented teenagers, elitest office politics and Cousin Eddie coasting into town, with his family, on fumes, in a dilapidated RV with no plumbing, even in the dark light of all that and more, Clark is determined to buck it up and enjoy his family Christmas vision no matter the cost.
Chevy Chase's Clark and his wife, Beverly D'Angelo's Ellen, struggle for 90 minutes to keep the family under one roof for the Christmas holiday and to keep cousin Eddie from dominating the experience. Randy Quaid's Cousin Eddie captured, for all of time, the intellectually challenged cousin who would likely be a strong voice and vote for Trump in today's political climate. Whether he's emptying "the shitter" into the neighborhood drainage system, explaining the abnormal size of his dog, "Snot's" testicles, or kidnapping Clark's elitest boss on Christmas Eve, Cousin Eddie's rural crassness is the perfect contrast to Clark's middle class, urban, working stiff.
John Hughes, director of "Home Alone" as of many more epic 80's hits, gives us a smorgasbord of classic sight gags...Cousin Eddie's black dickie glowing through his yellow, dacron, v-neck sweater... 25,000 Christmas lights collapsing the energy grid in the Griswold's suburban Chicago neighborhood and memorable bites of dialogue, "It's a bit nipply in here"....."membership in the jelly of the month club, it's the gift that just keeps on giving", that have become embedded in our collective consciousness.
Christmas Vacation is #2 this year because science is telling us that our health, wellness and happiness is based on our experience of sharing and belonging to one another. Experiencing our connectedness is the medicine for healing our separateness. Huddling in togetherness for 90 minutes focusing on laughter and fun allows us to take a Christmas Vacation from frustrations, anxieties and our collective lunacy. We are all Clark Grisowlds, Cousin Eddies, discontented teenagers and judgemental in-laws and we all live under one roof. Namasta.