#2 National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

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national lampoonMark Urban
For a man who prides himself on new age virtue, manufactured grace and mild-manneredness, and an appreciation for all things literarily “meta,” I must confess… I am often merely trying to outrun my inner-Clark Griswold.  Clark is naïve, bumbling, idealistic, hopeful, and utterly hopeless—a perfect combination of characteristics for approaching the always nostalgic holiday season.  Christmas Vacation is an idiotic romp with the Griswold family (and of course Cousin Eddie) as they vulgarize and bourbonize all things noble and good about the Christmas season.  The film’s charm, though, comes from its frank portrayals of the importance of getting the holidays “just right”—perfect gift-giving (“Can’t see the line, can you Russ?”), patient hosting (“Clark, that’s the gift that keeps on giving the WHOLE year”), and harnessing ever-elusive Christmas magic (“Uncle Clark, are you sure you ain’t Santa Claus?”).  The egg nog tastes just a bit better after a day of awkward family conversations and revelations, chemically-enhanced sledriding, untangling the ball of Christmas lights, and waiting for that much-needed annual bonus. ʼTis the season to be merry!