Hallelujah Shit Where's the Tylenol: How Lockdown Turned Me Into Clark Griswold - The Gutter Review (2023)

National Lampoon's Christmas HolidaysIt's been around for 32 years, and during that time there have been more burning opinions about how horrible the Griswold clan is than real-life complaints about Chevy Chase's real-life misconduct. As we enter our third year of the global pandemic, making this the second Christmas in lockdown for anyone staying sane, I will say something that might cause a bit of confusion, however: I think that, at this point and for better or worse, we all have a bit of Clark Griswold in us when it comes to how we treat the holiday season, and you know what? That's totally reasonable, considering.

Very similar to early 80's predecessorsNational Lampoon Family Vacationand (the least spoken luckily)National Lampoon's European Vacation,Christmas holidaysfollows the foibles and foibles of Clark Griswold (Chase) and his family of four, as written by none other than John Hughes ofsixteen candlesmiHome alonesuccess. The trilogy began as an extended riff on one of Hughes's early contributions tonational lanternmagazine, the 1979 short story “Summer of '58”;Christmas holidaysit is loosely based on the sequel to that story, "Christmas '59," which appeared a year later.Christmas holidaysHowever, there's a special magic behind it that makes it stand out among the series, and that seems more prevalent than ever in the midst of our second holiday season in lockdown. An energy best described as: “Shit, can't we just have something nice for once?PLEASE?”

Christmas holidaystells the story of family patriarch Clark Griswold, doing what Clark usually does: making big plans for the perfect family vacation, including a freshly cut tree, happy family members around the table, a good meal, a house well lit full of wonder and Christmas magic and happy children opening presents on Christmas morning. More than anything else, though, Clark is looking forward to his Christmas bonus, a one-time amount given annually by his boss to show gratitude and appreciation for all the hard work put in throughout the year for the company.

This ain't because I'm a crazy miser, this ain't another riffa christmas song— but since he can't wait to increase the payment he made to install a pool in his family's backyard, another way Clark (bless him) just wants to try to make things right for other people. But as anyone who has seen anynational lanternThe movie will know, things don't go according to Clark's plans, and there will be hell to pay for those who end up as the last straw that breaks Clark's metaphorical back.

If there is one thing that has stood out from the crowd of people trying to survive, both emotionally and physically, in this global pandemic, it is that we all wantsomething goodWe go to work, whether at home or in the world, laden with masks, and live each day one by one, knowing that, at least by the end of the year, for most people there will be a small ray of hope. in a sincere moment with your loved ones, loved gifts or the twinkle in the eyes of children. We collectively hopelittle pieces of christmas magicwho arrive with encounters already vaccinated and the warmth of feeling hope again, and the months between October and December seem, for most, full of opportunities for that hope to sprout eternally and bring us some joy again... even if it is just for a while.

With that joy and relief from the daily lull of a pandemic comes a certain urge, which I find myself inadvertently falling into, to savor that happiness and make it as perfect as humanly possible:My God, if we're only going to have one good part this year, then it's going to be the best kind of good there is!This is where I, and possibly we as a larger society, are quite possibly becoming Griswolds.

Throughout the film, part of Clark's appeal is that while he seems downright selfish (and, yes, uncomfortably turned on by complete strangers rather than his wife Ellen played by Beverley D'Angelo), I mean,it million), ultimately, his goals are to make his family happy. The opening of the film seesthe whole familywent out to the middle of nowhere in Illinois to pick out a Christmas tree, not because there aren't many trees available near them, but because Clark is obsessed with picking one out.Vivatree and chopping it down a family experience and a memory to treasure: “We are kicking off our fun old-fashioned family Christmas by heading out into the fields in the old front-wheel drive sleigh to embrace the icy majesty of the winter landscape and select the most important of Christmas symbols !” she declares, with festive zeal.

This means they walk a few miles in the snow, where their daughter Audrey nearly freezes to death; In the end, it turns out that Clark forgot a saw and has to pull the tree -roots and all- to get it home...but it's still a memory🇧🇷 And, in Clark's opinion, one that still involved him and his family finding the perfect (albeit too big, as we'll see later) "real" tree together.

The image of the perfect Christmas is strong throughout the film, with Chevy Chase tossing the idea of ​​nostalgia as some kind of drug, as evidenced when Clark finds himself locked in the freezing attic, a problem he once again tries to transform. a positive family moment as he dug up old reels of Christmas movies from his own childhood. Wrapped in every opera stole and glove he could find, the desire for a perfect holiday with the people he loves practically becomes a tear-inducing need against the sweet tones of Ray Charles' "The Spirit of Christmas." Fittingly, Clark's foot goes through the ceiling and lands backwards on the attic stairs.

The theme of big effort for little reward also extends to the Christmas lights at the Griswold home. After welcoming the grandparents home and dealing with the joys of family apathy and shared horrors, particularly the mountain joys of everyone's favorite cousin Eddie, played by everyone's least favorite Randy Quaid, Clark steps out of his house. two-story house in Chicago with the intention of covering every inch of vinyl siding in bright, blazing white lights. After unsuccessful attempts to make them perfect (which involves falling off the ceiling twice, changing countless light bulbs, and finally trying to make sure all 25milthe lights are onna medira) and twice frantically inviting the whole family out into the cold to watch, the lights finally come on, searing the retinas of the neighbors and knocking out power in the Chicago metropolitan area for a few minutes.

The final act of the film takes the turn that audiences have been waiting for, and everything comes crashing down. When it's not Cousin Eddie in his bathrobe yelling “Merry Christmas! Shit was full! to the neighbors as she empties the septic tank from his trailer into a sewer, then it's a wrinkled and overcooked turkey, a burned tree, family members shitting and complaining, a squirrel invading the house, and a roast cat. Through it all, Clark somehow manages to remain calm, using passive aggressive comments and a desperation for a quiet night to guide him through the heartbreak, just like the rest of us on vacation.

However, when her bonus check arrives and it's not a check but a subscription to the Jelly of The Month Club, all hell breaks loose.

Uncle Eddie's kidnapping of Clark's boss is thought by some to be the final moment ofChristmas holidays, but for someone who just tried to survive and do something great this whole year, I feel like it's the bottom line.trulycomes as Clark is totally irritated by the lack of a real bonus check, with his loving wife Ellen trying to make life easier by walking everyone out the door to go home, saying that maybe it would be better if they all went home. home before things got worse.

“Where do you think you're going? Nobody's leaving,” Clark exclaims with the famous crazy look in his eyes. “We're in this together. This is a four-alarm holiday emergency here! Let's go ahead and have the happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced fucking Danny Kaye! And when Santa Claus sticks his fat ass up the chimney, he'll find the happiest bunch of idiots this side of the asylum!

It may seem like it's out of proportion, and it is. It's a movie, and it's a comedy movie. But when the end of the year comes during the years we've had recently, it'safterwrong to want the best for those around you? Who among us doesn't feel a little grumpy when, after a summer of heat waves, part of the string of lights you've hung so carefully just doesn't work? Or when you finally spend time with revaccinated family members after a lonely Christmas 2020 and the turkey turns out less than desired?

Of course, there are better ways to deal with these feelings than just exploding with frustration, and those are all things we've managed to make time for during the pandemic lockdown as well, but there's something to be said for understanding that we just want that big win. – That bonus check that felt guaranteed enough for us to count, or the assurance that we could provide something good for ourselves and our families.

Ultimately, there may not be anything really new to say aboutNational Lampoon's Christmas Holidays🇧🇷 The film celebrated its 30th anniversary a few years ago, almost everyone in the western world has seen it, and a quick Google search turns up countless articles on the ins and outs and little-known facts about the slapstick classic, so I won't. Don't be bothered by the idea that there are new critical comments about the festive weaknesses of the Griswold clan. I can tell you this though: if you find yourself surprised because, damn, you deserved something good to happen to you at the end of the year, no matter how small, then that's okay. Maybe feeling a bit like Clark Griswold really does come from a good and selfless place, deep down.

After all, at the end of the worst vacation we've ever had, we can at least gather together to listen to the Star Spangled Banner and watch Santa Claus shoot skyward in a shit-powered rocket.

Have a Merry Christmas!

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