Posts Tagged ‘chevy chase’

12 Days of Highly Tolerable Holiday Movies: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

December 21, 2010

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (Jeremiah S. Chechik, 1989).

The Griswold family’s plans for a big family Christmas predictably turn into a big disaster.

Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters — Male Kalikimaka.

Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say on a bright Hawaiian Christmas Day
That’s the island greeting that we send to you from the land where palm trees sway
Here we know that Christmas will be green and bright
The sun to shine by day and all the stars at night
Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii’s way to say Merry Christmas to you!

Randy Quaid said that he based a lot of Cousin Eddie’s mannerisms and delivery on a guy he knew growing up in Texas. Also, wearing the extremely obvious black dickie under his white sweater was Randy Quaid’s wife Evi’s idea.

Even more exciting fact about Randy Quaid: He went to high school with Brent Spiner! (That’s Data, if you are not a dork and have one of those “lives,” or whatever you people call them. And if you are still lost, Data is a character on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and may I add that it is weird that you are even reading this blog because you are way too cool for this school. I assume you are here for soft-core porn and nothing more.)

John Hughes, departed King of the Eighties, wrote but did not direct this modern holiday classic, in which the star-crossed Griswold clan takes a stab at Christmas. He based the screenplay on a story he wrote for National Lampoon magazine in December, 1980.

That story, “Christmas ’59,” was his follow-up to “Christmas ’58,” his story from the previous year, on which National Lampoon’s Vacation was based. “Christmas ’59” is referenced in the movie when Clark goes up to the attic. As he goes through old tapes and reels, he passes a box that says “Xmas ’59.”



What are you looking at?

Oh, the silent majesty of a winter’s morn. The clean, cool chill of the holiday air. An asshole in his bathrobe, emptying a chemical toilet into my sewer.


You set standards that no family activity can live up to.

Wha– When have I ever done that?

Parties, weddings, anniversaries, funerals, holidays, vacations, graduations…


The scene where the cat bites on the Christmas lights cord and gets electrocuted was nearly cut from the movie. Prior to the first test screening. the studio execs wanted the scene taken out, fearing that it might offend some viewers, but producer Matty Simmons begged them to leave the scene in, and they eventually gave in to his request. After the first test screening, the test audience had scored the cat electrocution scene as the No. 1 favorite scene throughout the entire movie.

(the imdb)

I’m not the least surprised: test audiences are notoriously bloodthirsty.

I’m not sure from where they pull these twisted test audience members, but it’s a super-prevalent problem. As an example, it was a test audience who suggested that scene where the witch is drinking horse blood from a hollowed out hoof be left in My Little Pony: The Movie.

All the houses on the street in the Griswolds’ neighborhood are on the Warner Bros. backlot. The house in which the a-hole yuppies live is the Murtaugh house from the Lethal Weapon film series. The housefront in the home movie when Clark is upstairs in the attic was first used in Bewitched and then in the 1980’s in The New Gidget.


I am not a fan of defining gals by the dudes they’ve notched on their belts but I do bring it up if it’s as noteworthy as this case. Beverly D’Angelo has had a very, um, varied love life that includes marriage to a duke who is a descendant of Lorenzo de’Medici, Al Pacino, director Neil Jordan, and Anton Furst, who committed suicide after their separation. She’s got twins with Pacino and will be seen next year in Nailed, a David O. Russell picture also starring Jessica Biel, Kirstie Alley, Jon Stewart, Tracy Morgan, and Catherine Keener. Juts a bunch of super-cool funny guys. No big deal.

This was all brand-new news to me. I’m pretty surprised. I guess I did not know shit about Beverly D’Angelo.

The film is aired every Christmas night in Australia on the Nine Network. In America, it has a more tortured television history involving corporate games and censure. And let us not speak of the Cousin Eddie Island Adventure sequel.


Bethany is played by Mae Questel. The former mimic and vaudeville sensation is probably most famous for providing the squeaky voices of Olive Oyl and Betty Boop. This was her second to last role: she retired from show biz and died of complications related to Alzheimer’s in 1998.


As the unsinkable Clark Griswold of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” Chevy Chase survives a holiday season that would try Job’s patience. His dreams of “the most fun-filled old-fashioned family Christmas ever” soon give way to the realities of bulbs that won’t light and a pine that’s too big for the living room.

(Kempley, Rita. “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” December 1, 1989. The Washington Post.)


Never mind. Clark’s faith in family tradition is Rockwellian, his spirits up there with the mistletoe. When the yule log smolders and the turkey explodes, this avowed family man counts his blessings, such as they are.

(Ibid.)

Flashback Friday — Music Moment: Gilda Radner, “Let’s Talk Dirty to the Animals”

June 11, 2010

This entry was originally posted on November 3, 2009 at 3:57 pm. It’s been slightly altered, but not much.

Gilda Radner. Love. Patron saint. Heroine. Gar. I can’t talk about it.

Gilda as Roseanne Rosannadanna, the colorful news anchor with aggressive speech patterns.

If the name only faintly rings a bell for you, Gilda is the late great funny lady who was the queen of comedy in the early years of SNL. She was the first Not Quite Ready For Primetime player officially cast on the show. Noteworthy character creations that have had lasting cultural impact were Roseanne Rosannadanna and Emily Litella.


With Chevy Chase in her Emily “Nevermind” Litella character, who had comic malapropisms and bad hearing.

This Music Moment comes from her 1979 special “Gilda Live!,” a one-woman Broadway musical and comedy revue. Song starts around :35, because it was the opening number and she gets such a huge standing o that she can’t even calm people down enough to be heard until then.

A rooster says, “Good morning”
With a, “Cock-a-doodle-doo” – “Good morning!”
A horse’s neigh is just his way
Of saying, “How are you?”
A lion growls, “Hello!”
And owls ask “Why?” and “Where?” and “Who?”

May I suggest you get undressed
And show them your wazoo? – Ohhhh,

The animals, the animals,
Let’s talk dirty to the animals.
Fuck you, Mister Bunny.
Eat shit, Mister Bear.
If they don’t love it, they can shove it.
Frankly, I don’t care! – Ohhhhh,

The animals, the animals,
Let’s talk dirty to the animals.
Up yours, Mister Hippo!
Piss off, Mister Fox.
Go tell a chicken, “Suck my dick,” and
Give him chicken pox. – Ohhhhhh,

The animals, the animals,
Let’s talk dirty to the animals
From birds in the treetops
To snakes in the grass – But,
Never tell an alligator, “Bite my…” (No!)
Never tell an alligator, “Bite my…” (Yes!)

Never tell an alligator, “Bite my snatch!”


“I’m not so funny. Gilda was funny. I’m funny on camera sometimes. In life, once in a while. Once in a while. But she was funny.” — Gene Wilder

Official site of Gilda’s Club, a “community meeting place for people living with cancer, their families and friends. There are 22 open clubhouses and nine in development in North America. Gilda’s Club was founded by Joanna Bull, Gilda Radner’s cancer psychotherapist during the time she had cancer; Radner’s husband, Gene Wilder; and broadcaster Joel Siegel. … The organization takes its name from Radner’s comment that cancer gave her ‘membership to an elite club I’d rather not belong to’ ” (the wiki).

You can make financial donations into an earmarked fund so people have a place to stay while their loved ones are getting treated, or you could send blankets and books and toys for kids to play with in the waiting room. Maybe old ipods and stuff, even, actually. Or think about donating time and creativity. Draw a comic book, cross-stitch “I’m sorry your wife is going to be bald for a while” on a tea towel with a sad face; you know, do something Gilda would approve of. Think outside the box!


“It is so hard for us little human beings to accept this deal that we get. It’s really crazy, isn’t it? We get to live, then we have to die. What we put into every moment is all we have.” — Gilda.

There is hella dust in here right now.

Movie Moment and Hot Men Bein’ Hot of the Day: ¡Three Amigos! (1986)

November 23, 2009

Jon Lovitz reminds me too much of my father, but I would totally tumble for every single one of the other cast members of the movie ¡Three Amigos! (1986), directed by John Landis.

A great sense of humor is super key for me in a man. It suggests a spirit of fun and spontaneity. If a man can make me laugh, I am ten thousand percent more attracted to him than if he was some societally-standard, good-looking but overly serious twat. Someone who really throws back their head and laughs, who can forget themself in the heat of a conversation and really be lost in enjoyment — that is a great quality in a human being. It puts me at ease and fosters a sense of camarederie.

I used to date this guy when I lived in Southern California that I think thought it was his mission in life to correct me. He would listen to me tell a joke or deliberately exaggerate as part of a humorous bit, then patiently explain to me at length how what I said could never be true, or how I was overstating it. Well, of course it (it being whatever my premise had been) could not really be so, or could never be so to that great of a degree. That’s why it was funny to say it. I will never understand what he saw in me, if he so obviously took issue with what I consider to be my most overriding feature, my general inability to take life seriously for more than ten minutes in a row, but eventually I broke up with him and managed to make it stick (the first couple times were false starts — I have a will made more of feathers than of iron). We just were not compatible. Shock ending, right?

Anyway, if you have lived a full life up until today but somehow missed this movie, don’t panic: you can still buy it on DVD (not Blu-Ray yet), rent it, or even watch clips from it over on the hulu! It features Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and Martin Short as silent film stars who end up being mistaken for real gunslingers and get involved in a real dispute south of the border between the Mexican village of Santa Poco and a dangerous crime boss named El Guapo. Phil Hartman and Jon Lovitz play the greedy studio bosses back in Hollywood.


Lucky Day: In a way, each of us has an El Guapo to face. For some, shyness might be their El Guapo. For others, a lack of education might be their El Guapo. For us, El Guapo is a big, dangerous man who wants to kill us. But as sure as my name is Lucky Day, the people of Santa Poco can conquer their own personal El Guapo, who also happens to be *the actual* El Guapo!


Dusty Bottoms: Do you have anything here besides Mexican food?

Rosita: I was thinking later, you could kiss me on the veranda.
Dusty Bottoms: Lips would be fine.


Bartender: We don’t have beer. Just tequila.
Ned Nederlander: What’s tequila?
Bartender: Uh, it’s like beer.

Ned Nederlander: Oooh, tell us we will die like dogs!
El Guapo: You .. you will die like dogs.


Mr. Flugelman: Do you know what “nada” means?
Dusty Bottoms: Isn’t that a light chicken gravy?

Dusty Bottoms: Well I’d like to continue to work for free, Mr. Flugleman!


Lucky Day, Ned Nederlander: [singing] My little Buttercup has the sweetest smile/ Dear little Buttercup, won’t you stay a while?/ We’ll settle down together in a cottage built for two/ Oh, Dear little Buttercup, I love you!
Lucky Day: [motioning for people to join in singing] C’mon, everybody!
Lucky Day, Ned Nederlander: My little Buttercup has the sweetest…
[points to man]
Patron: Es-smile!

Music Moment: Gilda Radner, “Let’s Talk Dirty to the Animals”

November 3, 2009

Gilda. Love. Patron saint. Heroine. Gar. I can’t talk about it. If the name only faintly rings a bell for you, she is the late great funny lady who was the queen of comedy in the early years of SNL. She was the first Not Quite Ready For Primetime player officially cast on the show. Noteworthy character creations that have had lasting cultural impact were Roseanne Rosannadanna and Emily Litella.

Roseanne Rosannadanna

Emily “Nevermind” Litella

This Music Moment comes from her 1979 special “Gilda Live!”. a one-woman Broadway musical and comedy revue. Song starts around :35, because it was the opening number and she gets such a huge standing o that she can’t even calm people down enough to be heard until then.

A rooster says, “Good morning”
With a, “Cock-a-doodle-doo” – “Good morning!”
A horse’s neigh is just his way
Of saying, “How are you?”
A lion growls, “Hello!”
And owls ask “Why?” and “Where?” and “Who?”

May I suggest you get undressed
And show them your wazoo? – Ohhhh,

The animals, the animals,
Let’s talk dirty to the animals.
Fuck you, Mister Bunny.
Eat shit, Mister Bear.
If they don’t love it, they can shove it.
Frankly, I don’t care! – Ohhhhh,

The animals, the animals,
Let’s talk dirty to the animals.
Up yours, Mister Hippo!
Piss off, Mister Fox.
Go tell a chicken, “Suck my dick,” and
Give him chicken pox. – Ohhhhhh,

The animals, the animals,
Let’s talk dirty to the animals
From birds in the treetops
To snakes in the grass – But,
Never tell an alligator, “Bite my…” (No!)
Never tell an alligator, “Bite my…” (Yes!)

Never tell an alligator, “Bite my snatch!”


“I’m not so funny. Gilda was funny. I’m funny on camera sometimes. In life, once in a while. Once in a while. But she was funny.” — Gene Wilder

Official site of Gilda’s Club, a “community meeting place for people living with cancer, their families and friends. There are 22 open clubhouses and nine in development in North America. Gilda’s Club was founded by Joanna Bull, Gilda Radner’s cancer psychotherapist during the time she had cancer; Radner’s husband, Gene Wilder; and broadcaster Joel Siegel. … The organization takes its name from Radner’s comment that cancer gave her ‘membership to an elite club I’d rather not belong to’ ” (the wiki).

You can make financial donations into an earmarked fund so people have a place to stay while their loved ones are getting treated, or you could send blankets and books and toys for kids to play with in the waiting room. Maybe old ipods and stuff, even, actually. Or think about donating time and creativity. Draw a comic book, cross-stitch “I’m sorry your wife is going to be bald for a while” on a tea towel with a sad face; you know, do something Gilda would approve of. Think outside the box!

“It is so hard for us little human beings to accept this deal that we get. It’s really crazy, isn’t it? We get to live, then we have to die. What we put into every moment is all we have.” — Gilda.