Kenneth Borycz ‘18: Christmas: the most wonderful time of the year. With endless holiday festivities to partake in, the Christmas season is arguably the happiest time of year. Festivities include Christmas caroling, decorating an evergreen, baking cookies, and exchanging gifts.
When it’s time to kick back and throw in a Christmas movie, what one comes to mind, a timeless classic like A Christmas Story or Miracle on 34th Street, or a newer Christmas movie such as Elf or Deck the Halls? The movie that first pops up in my head is definitely National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – arguably the best Christmas movie out there.
This film follows the Griswold family, centered around Clark Griswold, the father of the family, who wants nothing more than a nice, old-fashioned family Christmas. Clark is a business man, living in a suburb right outside of Chicago, Illinois with his wife Ellen and two kids – Russell and Audrey.
The movie starts with the family packed in their station wagon going to cut down a tree, but Clark forgets a tool to cut down the tree. Part of Clark’s old-fashioned family Christmas is to bring parents and in-laws along as well.
Clark plans to decorate the house which doesn’t go totally as planned, but in the end, it finally goes on after several attempts. With both sets of grandparents in the house, it’s already packed, but after the lighting of the house, cousin Eddie, his wife, and two kids come along as well.
With cousin Eddie in the house, even more shenanigans happen. The final surprise for the Griswold family is a pool, but Clark’s company didn’t send a yearly bonus, so Eddie kidnaps Clark’s boss. After the cops come, the check is finally given and the family puts on a real old-fashioned Christmas.
The movie’s great for the whole family, the risky comedy keeps the mood light and funny. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is arguably the best Christmas movie of all time.
Kayla Yax ‘18: A Christmas Story remains a must-see holiday classic. It’s the perfect portrayal of how not so perfect Christmas can turn out, especially through the eyes of a child; begging your parents, Santa, and the universe for that one gift, dealing with your sometimes annoying younger sibling, and standing up to childhood bullies, Christmas is not exactly picture perfect for Ralphie Parker.
“You’ll shoot your eye out!” The classic and recurring theme of the Christmas of 1940 for 9-year-old Ralphie Parker, who only wants one thing for Christmas – an official Red Ryder carbine – action 200-shot range model BB rifle. Between dealing with the school bully, Scut Farkus, and his clumsy younger brother Randy, he’s not sure how he’ll survive long enough to get the BB gun for Christmas. When Ralphie lets it slip that he wants the Red Ryder, his mother’s response is what’s expected, “You’ll shoot your eye out!”
So when Mrs. Shields, Ralphie’s teacher at Harding Elementary School, asks her class to write about what they want for Christmas, Ralphie sees it as a golden opportunity to write about why he wants the Red Ryder BB gun. When he gets his paper back with an unexpected C+ he sees that Mrs. Shields wrote “You’ll shoot your eye out!” across his paper. His next plan of action is to go to the man himself – mall Santa. Still hopeful, Ralphie politely asks Santa for his Red Ryder BB gun, and how does Santa respond? By saying “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!” and sending him on his merry way.
By this time Ralph’s had enough of being told no. When Scut Farkus and Dill Grover try to bother him and his friends that day on the way home from school, Ralphie releases all his anger onto Scut Farkus’ face, knocking him to the ground and beating him in a fit of rage as his friends cheer him on, until his mother comes running down the street to stop him. At this point, Ralphie thinks there’s no way he’ll unwrap a BB gun on Christmas morning, but someone has a surprise planned for him.
A Christmas Story features a lot of unforgettable moments like these that include swearing in front of your parents for the first time, a heart dropping moment we’ve all experienced, his father’s odd obsession with his contest prize, a huge lamp shaped like a women leg which he proudly puts on display in front of the window for the whole neighborhood to see (the bane of his mother’s existence). And a ruined Christmas dinner that results in the whole family spending Christmas in a Chinese restaurant. A Christmas Story remains a classic movie everyone needs to see before the holiday seasons over.