National Lampoon’s European Vacation (1985)

Amy Heckerling followed Fast Times at Ridgemont High with Johnny Dangerously, a movie no one seemed to get at the time and one I still can’t get my wife to watch. Working with writer Robert Klane (Weekend at Bernie’s) she had a tough task. Follow National Lampoon’s Vacation.

This time, the Griswolds — Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo return but Audrey and Rusty are played by Dana Hill and Jason Lively — have won the game show Pig in a Poke and won a trip throughout Europe. The game show scene is great because John Astin is host Kent Winkdale and the father of the Froeger is Paul Bartel pretty much being Paul Bartel.

Throughout the movie, Clark keeps nearly killing Eric Idle on a bike, as well as knocking down Stonehenge, turning a Oktoberfest into a brawl and finding a video that Clark shot of his wife in the shower has become the biggest movie in the old country.

I remember laughing at this movie but feeling like something was missing. That was John Hughes and how his story may have gone big for the laughs but was based in vacations that every family has had. That’s why that movie and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation are multiple watch movies for so many and this and Vegas Vacation are just there.

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