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National Lampoon's VACATION: An Outdoor Movie Review

It's time for another outdoor movie review here on THE ROCK FIGHT and today Justin and Colin are watching NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VACATION starring Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo.

They cover what makes this a classic outdoor movie, the best and worst outdoor moments, the best use of gear or apparel and answer the question:

Does this movie make you want to go outside?


COLIN (00:00):

This episode of The Rock Flight is brought to you by Gear Trade since 1999, gear has been your go-to home for anew outdoor gear and apparel. You know, you have that jacket pack or tent that has been left outta your past few adventures. Why not load it all in a box and let Gear trade sell it for you? Heck, they'll even send you a box in a free shipping label. It's that easy to get cash money for all the stuff you're not using. Head to gear and click on the sell your gear tab to learn more. Gear Welcome to the Rock Fight where we speak our truth, slay sacred cows sometimes agree to disagree. I'm Colin. True. And joining me today will be fine today as long as he doesn't time me to the bumper. It's Justin Houseman.

JUSTIN (00:48):

My, uh, my neighbor this morning at 5:00 AM left to go to the airport and, uh, yeah, he's, he's got his, they're taking his, he's taking his dog. I helped him yesterday put this like dog carrier on the back of his car. And after the, had you just watched the movie <laugh>? Exactly. The dog is not in the carrier, obviously, on the way to the airport, but he will, the dog will go in the carrier on the plane. But I could not help but think about <laugh> that poor little dog in vacation as we were doing it.

COLIN (01:12):

Well because of that anecdote, specifically as you knew Dow could tell by the title of this episode. And that, Ooh, nice background. Thanks. That's, we're back with another outdoor movie review. What makes an outdoor movie review different from any other movie review you may ask? Well, we'll tell you. Justin and I, we watched

JUSTIN (01:27):

It outside

COLIN (01:28):

<laugh> we watched, we projected it on a, on a

JUSTIN (01:31):

Tree. I watched it on my laptop in a, in my, on my front porch. We carved,

COLIN (01:36):

We carved our projector out of a piece of wood with a multi-tool <laugh>.

JUSTIN (01:40):

We used a, we used an apple as the projector <laugh>

COLIN (01:43):

And a bong <laugh>. Uh, Justin and I are not only top of the pyramid outdoor enthusiast, but we also have real lives. And some would say that we're cinephiles. And today we're going to Voltron together those two skill sets, watch a movie known for its outdoor elements, and determine if that movie makes us want to go outside the highest acclaim an outdoor themed movie can achieve. And even though we've already tipped our hand, Justin, what movie are we watching today?

JUSTIN (02:07):

We are watching National Lampoon's Vacation, not the 2015 version. I don't know if National Lampoon made that, but if you

COLIN (02:16):

Are, it didn't, it's just, that's just vacation.

JUSTIN (02:18):

And is that, uh, remake?

COLIN (02:20):

It's, it's, uh, it's rusty now as the father Ed Helms portrays Rusty has

JUSTIN (02:25):

Grown up. Oh, ed Helms. Yeah. Is it worth, is that worth watching?

COLIN (02:28):

Not according to some of their views. I read doing research for this episode about the original National Lampoons

JUSTIN (02:33):

Vacation. Well, I sure didn't remember that that was a thing. 'cause when you, you know, you Google vacation streaming, that's what pops up and I Right. It was all set. And I'm like, wait, what the fuck is this?

COLIN (02:40):

Yeah, it kind of, I've never referred to the, this movie as a national Lampoons vacation. It's just always been vacation. But now you need to make that differentiator if you're doing any research about it, because it definitely takes you to the 20 15 1. But

JUSTIN (02:52):

It's so weird how that was like a thing, right? Like the, I mean they obviously did those three vacation movies, but didn't they, national Lampoon that was, wasn't that, that was like the Harvard, that was like a Harvard Comedy magazine or something, right?

COLIN (03:02):

Yeah, yeah. It started at, at Harvard. They actually did a, um, a kind of a biopic about the guy who started starring Will Forte, um, uh, David Wayne or Michael Showalter directed it from the state. But yeah, it was a, it was a comedy troupe. They made a magazine, then they started making movies. Caddy Shack, I believe is National Lampoon.

JUSTIN (03:19):

Huh. It kinda makes sense actually that it's like, it's all things that like upper, upper Crust white people would, would have experience with,

COLIN (03:25):

You know? Right. Yeah. Yeah. Well this one National Lampoon's vacation, the synopsis was, is, uh, accompanied by their children, Clark Griswold and his wife Ellen, who Beverly DeAngelo still, you know, just throwing 110 miles per hour in this movie. <laugh> just love Beverly DeAngelo are driving from Illinois to a California amusement park as Clark increasingly fixates on a beautiful woman driving a sports car. The Griswolds deal with car problems and the death of a family member that's putting it lightly. They reach Los Angeles. But when Clark worries that the trip is being derailed again, he acts impulsively to get his, get his family to the park. And it was released on July 29th, 1983. Hey, we are celebrating the 40th anniversary the day after you were born. Not in 1983. The writer director on this, just John Hughes wrote it. Harold Rams directed it.

JUSTIN (04:13):

Yeah. I knew what a combo knew that. I knew that Egon directed it, but I didn't realize that John Hughes was involved. And it's hard to tell. I don't know, like what makes a John Hughes movie, A John Hughes movie, other than they're usually really good.

COLIN (04:25):

Um, the, uh, movie stars, of course. Chevy Chase, Beverly DeAngelo, we said Anthony Michael Hall, Dana Baron as Young Audrey, and then a host of other notable actors. $61 million box office on a $15 million budget was a pretty big hit as a common r-rated comedy in 1983. Yeah. Uh, some of the production facts, John Hughes, they, he wrote a story for National Lampoon Magazine called Vacation 58, which was about a family road trip told through the son's point of view. Then Chevy Chase and Harold Rambus rewrote it to be from the, from, from the father's point of view. They thought that would be funnier, which I think was probably smart.

JUSTIN (04:59):


COLIN (05:00):

Filming locations. They filmed on location in Colorado, monument Valley, Utah, Flagstaff, monument Valley, Utah, Flagstaff, Sedona, the Grand Canyon itself, Southern California and St. Louis. The Wally world scenes were shot in Santa Santa Mountain. Yeah. Six. No, no, no. Two, two places. The exteriors were shot at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California. And then Six Flags Magic Mountain. Uh, the two rollercoasters featured were in there in Valan in Valencia, California. Referring to Walmart as Wally World is often credited to Wally World in vacation. Huh? The family truck was created for the movie. They took a 1979 Ford l t d Country Squire Station wagon and modified it to Lampoon American cars of the late seventies <laugh>. Very effectively, I feel like. And vacation has been one of the longest running franchises of the last 40 years. Four direct sequels. You have European vacation, Christmas vacation. Vegas vacation, and then the 2015 sort of legacy sequel vacation. Forgot

JUSTIN (05:57):

Vegas vacation. I haven't seen that. Chevy case is in that one too, right?

COLIN (06:00):

Yeah, he is. Yeah. Yeah. And, and Eddie's back and everything. And then there was one spinoff Christmas vacation too, which is about Eddie getting lost. Yeah. I didn't know this either until I started looking this up. He gets lost at sea and at the Celebrate Christmas, um, like a deserted island or something like that. It's all Eddie focused. And then there was an ad campaign for HomeAway that ran during the Super Bowl in 2010 that brought back Ellen and Clark and their, uh, road trip or kind of another road trip for from El that kind of paid homage to the original film.

JUSTIN (06:28):

Has Beverly DeAngelo been in anything else besides the three vacation? She

COLIN (06:32):

Has nothing that I could tell you off the top of my head. Mean, she's Ellen. She's Ellen Griswold.

JUSTIN (06:37):

She's Ellen Griswold.

COLIN (06:38):

Uh, the movie's currently streaming on Max. And uh, so what qualifies this as an outdoor movie worthy of view? This was a bit of debate, I think for you and I, I I just come down to it. It's a road trip movie, and that's as outdoors you can get. I mean, the movie's in most mostly in a car, which is outside.

JUSTIN (06:54):

Well, it also, it's uh, it's funny to think about this, but like a road trip is an outside, that's an outdoor activity.

COLIN (07:01):

Heck yeah.

JUSTIN (07:02):

Which is weird 'cause you're in a car, but it counts. It totally counts. And this, you know, like I have a lot of issues with this move. I don't have issues with it. But, um, I, you know, I can't say that I necessarily like it anymore, unfortunately, after having watched it again. But I will say that it, it makes you wanna go on a bit of a road trip.

COLIN (07:21):

Oh, heck yeah. I think the, the locations that get featured are kind of iconic in the outdoor community. You see the Grand Canyon Monument Valley mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, going through Colorado at different places like that. I, I think they, it kind of got answered in the opening credits. There were 52 different postcards featuring in the, featured in the opening credits. And most of them are sort of, you know, very core outdoorsy in nature. Yeah. You know, places you would go to. I mean, I grew up in Pennsylvania, the kid Tinney tunnels on there, Pennsylvania Turnpike got Mount Rushmore, the Portland headlight up, up near Portland

JUSTIN (07:50):

Main. Well, it just feels like summer, you know, it's like those, those, those postcards, they just feel like, that feels like summer. The whole thing feels like summer, you know? Right. Like, I, I've done one cross country road trip probably 16 or 17 years ago. Yeah. And it's still like one of the highlights of my life. It was amazing. I I, one of the things that's fun about, uh, rewatching a movie like this as you age, is that the car never once stood out to me as anything to think about. You know, I, I probably saw this movie when I was a little kid. I spent most of my youth watching Chevy Chase movies. He was easily my favorite actor when I was, uh, up until I was like 30, to be honest. Um, but, uh, he or so he was always like the focus to me.

(08:33) Uh, I've never, I'd never once given any thought to the car other than it's a station wagon. And so now to watch it like as a 45 year old dad who's like, knows lots about cars and has bought many cars and stuff, like, I didn't even remember the first scene. I've seen this movie 37 times. I had no idea that Eugene Levy was in it. There's some weird bait and switch thing with the, with the wagon. Like, none of that I like, and then you see it roll out with like, the obvious, like extra set of headlights. It just looked, it was just big random shit bolted onto it. Absolutely. Amazingly funny. And I, that would've just completely escaped me when I was younger. I wouldn't, yeah. When you're a kid, you're like, I dunno, A car is a car, but I don't, I don't get it. Right. Who cares.

COLIN (09:08):

So the, his my history of kind with the franchise, I probably saw European vacation first. And I, but I, again, that's another one we may need to go back to. I don't really remember it, but I mean, I've seen Christmas vacation. I mean, before we, I mean there was, there was Christmas seasons at 20 times. So we just like, like, oh, put it on. I mean

JUSTIN (09:24):

Christmas, Christmas vacation holds up a lot better. And it's, I don't better, I don't know if it's just 'cause it's newer and it's, it's like closer two our like existence to where it doesn't seem so alien and odd, like the humor.

COLIN (09:37):

But no, I, well I actually wrote down that it kind of shocked me watching this one is a had that how much Christmas vacation is a little bit of a beat by beat remake of this only. Yeah.

JUSTIN (09:46):

Exact. So, I don't know. I I mean I was thinking that too. 'cause I'm watching it and like the end where, uh, the Roy or whatever, the guy Roy Wally, I don't dunno where his name was Roy, or they call him Roy. I don't, I don't remember where Mr. Wally where the little guy who, who's obviously supposed to be like Walt Disney like shows up.

COLIN (10:01):

He looks just like Walt Disney.

JUSTIN (10:03):

Well that's all, I mean, that's clearly the point. And, and kind of was like, oh, it's all, and it's like the nice family, oh, we get it. They were, you know, they were acting in their, you know, alright fine. You know what, screw it. I was like, wait, what is this for? I'm watching it. I'm like, what? This totally reminds me of another movie. What movie? Oh, right. Christmas

COLIN (10:18):

S Christmas vacation. Yeah. The whole, the whole setup. Right. You know, Ellen being like, Clark, are you sure? He is like, oh, you can trust me. Why can't you, of course you can trust me. And then him finally losing his shit at some point in the movie and have going off on a tirade on the whole family. Like, it just kind of, there's a lot of beats that just get rid, which I mean to why wouldn't you? It makes sense. And they, and it does feel like that, uh, you know, this movie, you know, walks So Christmas vacation could run. I mean, they figured out, they figured figure out Eddie too, right? I mean, Eddie and Christmas vacation is iconic here he is. Like, it's kind of a funny part, but it's not the same.

JUSTIN (10:47):

I, uh, I, I enjoyed, I enjoyed like a little window into the idea of there being like adventure mobiles back then. Like when, when you go to pick up his car, and I forget which one he wanted, but it had like an adventurey name. It was like the, the, you know, adventure something sport. Oh,

COLIN (11:05):

The sport wagon or something like

JUSTIN (11:06):

That. It was Antarctic blue. But like, just the way he was talking about it, like, well that's probably how I would talk about like an outback, right? Yeah. Like that's, you know, and,

COLIN (11:15):

Uh, this thing, I I in my mind picturing it, which I'm kind of bummed we didn't get to see it. 'cause I've got a bit funny to see that against the Truckster. But I had like a, like, like an old truck, like somewhere between a, uh, like, like an A M C Pacer and a Crosstrek is probably what the

JUSTIN (11:26):

Thing looked like. Well, would've been, it would've back then. It would've been, I mean, that existed and it was the a m C Eagle. Like that's what would've been. In fact, there is an a m C eagle in it. When he gets gas, it's the car next to him. Ah, yes. I'm pretty sure they only show up for a second when he can't figure out where the gas, where the gas tank is.

COLIN (11:40):

Speaking of which we should, that's a good segue into talking about Chevy Chase. 'cause you mentioned he's probably your favorite actor growing up. I think like, he's kind of still undefeated. Like even though this, this was a little dated, it moved well enough, but when he threw the license plate,

JUSTIN (11:53):

He's, he's great in it.

COLIN (11:54):

He throw the license plate. I laughed out loud. I just, I mean, I literally laughed out loud and I knew it was coming. Like, just like everything he does is still so funny.

JUSTIN (12:01):

There's, he's just the king of that. Like, I don't fi it's really hard to describe, but it basically, it created the foundation of what I think of as like a funny dude should be like, even now, like, like most of the things that I've intrinsically adopted is like things I'm gonna do that I think are funny all come from like, Fletch. I mean, to me Fle, Fletch is is, is probably my favorite movie of all time.

COLIN (12:21):

Anyway. Yeah. I mean, other things in this movie I wrote down like, you know, I think the falling asleep while driving scene, which is iconic, uh, that, you know, you know what happens. As soon as he says he can go another a hundred miles, you know what's going to happen. But the joke still lands. I love that whole sequence. Just even when they're panning around the car and, you know, when they get to him, he's gonna be asleep. But I still laughed when I saw it. Of course, the Aunt Edna stuff just killed me. I

JUSTIN (12:40):

I, I couldn't do, I could not handle Aunt Edna. I like, I I, she put, she comes on the screen into my head. I'm like, oh yeah, here comes the 95 year old lady. Like, well, this actress is like 50. Like she's not old <laugh>. And she's, she's been

COLIN (12:51):

Spoken her whole life.

JUSTIN (12:52):

She's performing as like, she's probably a huge star in something. Like, she's probably like a Vegas actress or she's obviously like a fa she the who I, I am guessing Anyway, the woman that played Ed, uh, seemed like she expected you to know who she was. And she's been in like a, a shitload of other movies and has like this show Showtime show tune sort of like quality to her. But like, I hated all the Ednas <laugh>

COLIN (13:15):

Watching this movie before. My memory was like, aunt Edna was the worst. And like, so watching it this time, I'm like, she wasn't that bad. <laugh>.

JUSTIN (13:21):

No. And, and like you would do that so differently. Like you could ease, you could still have that character now, but she'd be older. There would be, it's just the, the humor's different. Like, that's hard for a character like that. 'cause like the, what she was saying just seems, she just seemed so old fashioned. It seemed like a really old, stereotypical sort of old person ageist kind of humor. And I just, it just didn't, I didn't work, didn't land for you in 2023. Didn't work. I'm sure I thought it was hilarious in 1980. I think

COLIN (13:45):

I just like Clark's reactions to her. Like, I think I was kinda

JUSTIN (13:48):

Like, well, that, well, for for sure, for sure. Yeah. I mean, who, who doesn't have like a family member that they absolutely

COLIN (13:52):

Just loads.

JUSTIN (13:53):

Just not even, like, it's not even personal. You're just like, oh, this person's gonna make my life hard.

COLIN (13:58):

Do you have any other, uh, just general thoughts on the movie?

JUSTIN (14:02):

Oh boy, I can tell you that it captures the feeling of being an exasperated parent. Like, so, well,

COLIN (14:08):

Oh, I have this, yeah, I have this later. But

JUSTIN (14:10):

Yeah, your kids are older than mine. You, you can talk to them. You know, like, I can't. So, but it doesn't matter. It's still the same. Like, like why am I in charge when we go on a road trip, I'm in charge. 'cause of the

COLIN (14:21):

Patriarchy. <laugh>.

JUSTIN (14:22):

Is that why? Is it because of I know,

COLIN (14:24):

That's a good question.

JUSTIN (14:24):

Like, I don't, is it, 'cause like I don't trust my wife's packing ability. Like at some point, as soon as it's like time for the road trip, it's like, well, I'm clearly gonna be organizing the shit in the back. Like, there's no question I'm gonna be, I'm gonna be dictating when we leave. I'm gonna be dictating our route. I'm gonna be dictating how the car gets packed. I'm gonna be dictating who sits where, all of it. And I dunno, why <laugh>, I dunno if it's 'cause of these movies. If, if my wife just doesn't wanna do that. I think part of it is I enjoy that sort of thing and my wife. So I just sort of do it even though I don't have teenage kids. Like the still the vibe of like, getting all these people in the car, getting everything kind of ready, kind of deciding where we're gonna go and like, being enthusiastic about things other people aren't enthusiastic about.

(15:02) Like <laugh>, all of that is perfect. That is completely perfect. And you, I do feel like there are times where I've, if I had a gun, I would've pulled it on somebody for not getting what I want. 'cause my family has made me insane. Like, there are, there are times like that. So at the, it's funny, when you're younger and you watch this movie, you're like, well, nobody's really gonna like get to Wallet World and get that mad and like take a, you know, pretend to <laugh> get a gun and like take the security guard order. But you know what, I could, I, I've been that up. I've been that tired and that disappointed and that, uh, upset before to where <laugh>, if I had, you know, the wherewithal, I probably would've like pulled some a gun on somebody and said, no, actually we're gonna do this now. Because I,

COLIN (15:45):

So getting into the outdoorsy part of the movie and kind of the best and, and worst moments, we'll actually start with the worst. 'cause you brought it up. I mean, I wrote down like, it, and it maybe it's, it's, it's kind of the best in terms of how it's portrayed in the movie. But in terms of how it made me feel, I'm right there with you. The, I wrote the stress of being on a family road trip. You know, stuff that I thought was funny when I watched this movie as a kid was like, stressing me the fuck out now. Yeah. Like, I mean like, you know, like, I probably thought it was hilarious all the stuff that was happening. And now I'm like, oh my God. Like I'd have to like fix this. Yeah. Like especially the car breaking down in the desert and actually knowing they didn't have a cell phone. Right. And the car ra, I'm like, oh my God, this is bad. And I'm like, watching vacation, like, settle down. But like, I, like I had this little pinging in my belly of like, oh no

JUSTIN (16:24): <laugh>. That's also the only true adventure part. Or really, like, that's the part of the movie where you, where Clark kind of is the most alive. You know, like, he's so excited. He has a wonderful bonding moment with Rusty, you know, kind of talks him about being, you could tell he feels guilty for not being around that much. And like Anthony Michael Hall, by the way, really good in this movie. Really good. Really good. And uh, you can see why he, you know, you kind of assumed he was gonna be a big deal, you know? Yeah. He was great in this. But, um, you know, and he's just like, well, I'm gonna walk off into this Red Rock desert. And, you know, honestly, probably he probably thought he was gonna die, you know, and he was ready. Oh, he would've

COLIN (17:01): Like,

JUSTIN (17:01): This is the way I'm, this is, this is fine. You know, like, this is how I wanna go out. Like I've lived a, a sheltered life in Chicago. I clearly have grander ambitions for being like a, a adventury dude, and I'm just gonna head off into the desert and like, if I die, I die. Like, that was great. <laugh>. Yeah,

COLIN (17:15): No, I, i best outdoor moment. I wrote down Clark in the desert in Monument Valley. I know Monument Valley's stepping in for the Grand Canyon right there. But it's like, that was, that was great. And the look at, of course then they go to the Native Americans on horseback be like, fucking guy. Yeah.

JUSTIN (17:26): Fucking, yeah. That was great. That, that, that was all, that was fantastic. I I really enjoyed that. The scene with the, with the mechanics like, you know, kind of take Of course it would. That's what yeah dude. Give 'em everything they saved your life.

COLIN (17:38): My second, um, my other, my alternative for best outdoor mo moment. I think that's the far and away the winner. Clearly it is. 'cause you said the same thing, but it's the Colorado tent camping because it was sort of totally like, you know, like lodge and uh, yeah. Weekend, uh, when I, when I wrap up my trip in, uh, the Sierra, I'm gonna stay in Bishop for a night at the say east side guest guest house or something. It's another one of these lodge like, you know, field station style places where it's like, it's with Aven adventurous people in mind. And like, this was the 1980s version of that. I don't know if that was a real place, but it was,

JUSTIN (18:06): I'm sure was would've stayed. I mean there's millions of things like that. Like we, every, every winter we stayed, we go to Yosemite every winter we stayed in the heated tent cabins. And it's the same thing. These canvas like canvas tents with heaters in 'em and they're all lined up in a row and it's fucking miserable. Like, people right next door to you and all in your shit and like loud and, but there's something kind of ni there is something kind of appealing about that. And, you know, that that's, it's funny 'cause I, I don't, I don't really enjoy that kind of thing that no, I do enjoy it. I was gonna say that I don't enjoy being around other people in that sort of situation. 'cause I don't really go outside to be in a crowd. But there is something kind of neat about that we're all there together and like, they're all from different walks of life and we're all, clearly, we all share the sort of love of like rivers and mountains and Yeah.

(18:50) We're all gonna sleep next to each other and get on each other's toes. But so, so fucking what I do like that and that part, that part makes you wanna do that. Like, when they go, him and him and Ellen kind of walk up on the little ridge and kinda look down over the tents and like, they have like a nice little mom that, that's the other thing too, as a parent, this movie is somewhat different. 'cause you just, there's like those, when there's try to snatch little moments of like, just, just the two of them being adults, you know? That's great. Or them trying to have sex on the, the like, right, right. Vibrating bed, which I could see you trying like, oh, we've gotta try this. And then like, your kid's coming in, like that's almost Chevy Chase's best scene when he is just like, under the blankets trying to pretend like the wife isn't there.

COLIN (19:26): I agree. I related to that. Like, it was just sort of like, you know, these things that, that are funny, but it's also very relatable, you know, like it wasn't, it wasn't just completely off the rails

JUSTIN (19:35): Except, and this is so, so the problems with this movie, at least in 2023 come from like El that's her name, right? Ellen.

COLIN (19:41): Ellen, yeah.

JUSTIN (19:42): Not at all his equal. And that's a huge bummer. Like, like at no point in this movie is she his equal. And I don't mean that from Oh yeah. Like in sense of like a, uh, like I can't relate to that. You know, like my, I can't relate to being where everybody's like subordinate to me. You know? And that's clearly what you, what the time period was. I mean, that's like, that would be the expect, it'd be weird, I guess back then if, if it wasn't that way. But

COLIN (20:05): It's amazing how it changed in six years from this in Christmas vacation where the dynamic was in play. But it felt more about him being a bumbling idiot in Christmas vacation and misplace expectations and her just kind of having to like endure it. Right. Versus here. You're right. It felt fix it sometimes. Yeah. And in this, in this, in the original, it feels a much more like, well, Clark's the man of the family, so they're gonna do it that way.

JUSTIN (20:27): You know? Exactly. And and that's a, you know, even the scenes where, you know, they're, they're like sharing moments together. It's like it's, it, it, it doesn't hit as well as it would with in a modern world because it's not clear to, in the movie, it's not clear that she's also like working really hard to make this work. You know? Like she doesn't have her own struggles. Like there, you made this movie. Now you'd have, you'd have lots of scenes where she's like dealing with her own shit, trying to get the kids to do certain things or, right. Or, or, or like nagging him about having not done this before or, or something. You know, there, there would've been more, but there's nothing from her. She's anut. She's just there, you know? Right.

COLIN (21:00): Yeah. Other worst sort of outdoor moments for me. Like, I, I think they could've shown a few more that iconic outdoor spots or going through Flagstaff or going through some of these places. They could've, like, that would've been nice to get a little more of the outdoorsy vibe there. You're going done 'em anyway. Would've done that. You could've done

JUSTIN (21:12): Easily would've done that. Like, but I've also like that's what you would have done. Like Yeah. You, I mean there Grand Canyon, some mountains of Colorado. That makes sense. But yeah, there, you would've done that on this road trip. I would've, that would've been cooler.

COLIN (21:24): And the other thing I had is, is amusement parks has a vacation destination. I am anti amusement park. I, it's like, I, I'm a weird, I'm anti amusement parks in general. I will go for like a day if you buy like the super accelerated expensive fast pass and I don't have to wait in line and I'll have fun, but then that's it. Like, I'm not gonna go. People get like seasoned passes to amusement parks. Like, I don't understand

JUSTIN (21:45): Magic Mountain. I used to go there, you know, once a year or something. Right? Yeah. Which is how like Colossus is that big white rollercoaster. That's the first rollercoaster ever went on. Um, good to see it. Good to see the old lady on the, uh, on the screen <laugh>. But, um, I absolutely love amusement parks. I don't know what it is. <laugh>. Like, I'm so ant I'm like very anti, like, packaged bullshit, American garbage things. Like all stuff, this

COLIN (22:07): Is the most packaged

JUSTIN (22:08): Bullshit you can get. I know. But like, there's a weird part of me that finds that like, deeply comforting, you know? And, and like, I love the idea of going to Disneyland and getting swept away at like, Paris of the Caribbean and this like, fully manicured little world where nothing, you don't have to think about anything else. You're just there for the day. Like, that sounds really appealing. Also, I, I, I love rollercoasters. I think they're incredibly fun.

COLIN (22:27): I guess it's more the vacation idea. So when, uh, oh,

JUSTIN (22:29): I would never vacation there. I would suck.

COLIN (22:31): Well, that's it. We, so I, I grew up near Hershey Park in Hershey, Pennsylvania, which is kind of a, that's a, that was a thing we'd go every summer as kids. And also in fact, you know, when we were growing up too, amusement parks were a big deal. Yeah. You gotta go ride the rollercoaster. Definitely not big deal anymore. No, not as much. I never understand when we started having kids and people would like have their six month old to like three year old and be like, we're gonna fly to Disney World. Like, why the kids don't even gonna remember it. I don't understand this now that I live within like an hour's drive of Disneyland. We haven't been yet since we moved down here, but it's like, oh, it's there. We'll get there. Yeah. You know, like, I know we're gonna go. But also when, and we've been to Universal, but the idea of waiting in a three hour line to go on a two minute ride, like, I'm just not down with that. Like No,

JUSTIN (23:08): I I agree though. Like, I like it's so deflating knowing that's their destination. Like you pass up all these epic outdoor things and you're like to go there.

COLIN (23:15): Yeah, he's, they're looking at the Grand Canyon and he goes, oh yeah, there it is. And gets in the car like, dude, this, well

JUSTIN (23:20): He did just rob a hotel.

COLIN (23:22): That's a good point. Yeah, that's true. He did, he did. So best use of outdoor gear, footwear and apparel. I had just, you know,

JUSTIN (23:29): At a glance ty his pants around his head to keep the sun off and Oh, I

COLIN (23:32): Didn didn't think of that. That's really good. I wrote the roof rack I thought was great on the car, you know. Yeah. You had the sleeping bag and just the family truckster instead. But I think you're the, the, the, the use of his own apparel to protect him from the sun was pretty good.

JUSTIN (23:43): It's, as a car guy, it's hilarious to watch this movie and, and think about the raw size and all the shit going on in that car and how little cargo space it had. I mean, like if you, if you, so what were the equivalent, like a Highlander, you wouldn't have had anything on the roof.

COLIN (23:57): Yeah. What did they have in the back of the cargo or inside the car? I don't,

JUSTIN (24:00): Nothing. Nothing. I mean, they had to make it look like, I mean that was obviously part of the props, right. But like, even then though, but that car, the like relatively roomy, but I doubt it had more space than my Rav four us, you know, like

COLIN (24:14): It's just No, it is less guarantee is less

JUSTIN (24:16): Plus just that giant, giant vehicle. My God.

COLIN (24:19): Um, well, and they missed the opportunity to put the jumper seat down in the back and have the kids looking at the back because that was, that was the key of those station wagons.

JUSTIN (24:25): So that they, that car was so ugly. It was actually difficult for me to enjoy any of the scenes it was in. But,

COLIN (24:31): You know, uh, the other thing I had for, for gear and just sort of, uh, out use of the outdoors in general is I wrote American tourist attractions, which I just kind of love how they're highlighted mostly in the, the, the postcards in the beginning. But it really kind of highlights like how we're too young. And maybe I'm thinking of this 'cause I was in Italy like a month ago, but like too young of a country to really have anything to draw people. Like, we need to get people gators and plaster dinosaurs to go look at if you don't wanna go see the Grand Canyon,

JUSTIN (24:56): Right. There is, there's there. That's exactly right. I mean there's, there's a long history of that in the west, um, which is pretty interesting to, to read about <laugh> at a certain point maybe that stuff becomes old enough to where it does seem like intrinsically interesting on its own. But no, he had to make giant, giant donuts and giant dinosaurs and shit like that.

COLIN (25:13): And the other cool thing I broke down was, uh, members only jacket with the sleeves pushed up. Is that underrated? Because it was actually looked pretty good.

JUSTIN (25:18): He looked really good. Okay. So I spent a lot of time thinking about his wardrobe in this movie <laugh> and I, there's, he, he's a big Gish dude, I think maybe. Yeah, hes tall, like fairly tall and like broad shoulders. I I couldn't pull that off. God, I wish I could. I wish was, he looked good

COLIN (25:33): With his, he the pleated khaki shorts ple. And they were short shorts with pleats. Great. And still looked good on him. No socks.

JUSTIN (25:40): And his pennys, I'm, I'm a short shorts guy, so I like That's great. He looked great. He's a handsome, he's a handsome dude. All tan and like fit back then like young full of life. God, it was good to see Chevy Chase like that. Right. It was good to see him like that. Um, and those white shoes come

COLIN (25:54): On. Oh my God. Those are amazing. That's a

JUSTIN (25:56): Good scene when he goes, when he goes into the bar. All like, I

COLIN (25:59): Love that.

JUSTIN (25:59): I don't even remember why they got mad. It was like the silliest little argument and like goes into the bar is like, well screw, I'm a search. I'm just gonna start trying to hit on ladies. Right in the hotel bar.

COLIN (26:07): Right. Yeah. So for outdoor lessons learned though, I have uh, Google Maps make the internet worth it. I know you're anti internet, but I think like did

JUSTIN (26:14): They even have maps?

COLIN (26:16): They had a map I think in the car <laugh>. Yeah. I completely forgot. I drove for at least 10 years, probably no more than 10 years without the internet. More than 10 in, in the car. Like 15 plus years without the internet in my car. I can't remember doing it. Yeah. I did another other outdoor lessons. You know, where your gas cap is located before leaving for your road trip. That's probably a good one. You know, so

JUSTIN (26:40): That I was thinking about it. The gas, the gas cap would have been, it would 100% have been behind that license plate.

COLIN (26:47): Yes. We, I had cars growing up where that was the gas where the gas

JUSTIN (26:50): Cap was. Yeah. It deffinitely it would not have been near the engine ever, but it <laugh> would, that is still a funny scene. But also it's like, it's like, is that supposed to make Ellen look good or like, 'cause she, she's like, I think, is this the gas? Like she the one that finds it, but even then she's like, is this the gas cap? But

COLIN (27:04): That's, that's there's another setting the stage for her figuring out the lights in Chris's vacation. Oh. Because she's the one who flips it. But there, she she puts it together in her head. Shes it. Yeah. And flips the light on and then is cool. And doesn't tell Clark right here. You're right. It was a little more like, oh, is this where the gas goes? So Yeah. Yeah. Uh, another one. Keep away from your extended family on any road trip. That's for sure. That was the downfall. You went to like the cousin's house and then you got stuck with Aunt Edna. He didn't

JUSTIN (27:28): Want to, is that his cousin or her or Ellen's cousin.

COLIN (27:31): But I don't know if you, you, we would definitely plan trips around like going to see family and staying with family on certain trips. You

JUSTIN (27:36): Know how hard it's to get me on the phone. I don't do that shit. Like if I don't want, like if I'm doing No, no, I'm not, I'm not going outta my way to do anything that I wasn't already set out to do. I would not have done that.

COLIN (27:45): We also,

JUSTIN (27:46): I be the first to tell you,

COLIN (27:47): We learned most outdoorsy families have dogs. So we learned that if you do forget to load your dog, it can probably keep up with you for a mile or so. According to the cop.

JUSTIN (27:55): That's a good scene. <laugh> cops so mad. Right? They both cry. That's a good scene.

COLIN (27:59): So lingering rock fights and questions. You know, I definitely take an issue with the route they chose. I mean, I mapped it out the most. I

JUSTIN (28:04): Was thinking about that. Yeah. Yeah.

COLIN (28:06): Those direct, uh, to Chicago to LA is 80. You pick up 70 in Denver, pick up the 15 in Utah and

JUSTIN (28:12): But they wouldn't have been doing the most direct route.

COLIN (28:14): No. But there was plenty of opportunities for shenanigans on the direct route. I mean, you're gonna go through Colorado, Utah Yeah. Into Southern California. I mean, there's a lot you could do there.

JUSTIN (28:21): Well, at one point she says something about Highway 50, which is the route that we took, which is Oh, where I would go if I were to do it again. Okay. Because it's smaller and it's, it's called, it's all, it's like I know that Route 66 is sometimes called this too, but 50, if you look at like, a lot of like road trip books is called like America's main street. 'cause it Okay. Ends up going through a lot of, you'll be driving on like a highway and then all of a sudden it things slowed down. Now you're, now you're going through the main street of some like Podunk Kansas town, you know? Yeah. So like, but at one point she says that I'm like, oh yeah. Like I was on 50. That was great. Like I, it brought back some nice memories. I

COLIN (28:53): I thought of it and I guess look, they had to, they got it. They probably used the, uh, seeing the family in Kansas as the plot device to get 'em to do this. But the idea of leaving Chicago to go to California and then just driving due south to St. Louis, like that, that drove me nuts. And then maybe that's just like on the logistical dad side of me, like, I'm like, I wouldn't do that.

JUSTIN (29:09): You do get to see the, um, and I'm, as someone who's never lived outside of the West, it always like blows my mind when you realize how, how like big and expansive it is once you just hit like basically anything like west of Chicago. Really? Yeah. Um, you know, and it's, it's, it's kind of neat to see that, you know, where that would've been exciting to people that have never, I also might like fuck Chicago's that far away. Like it's Yeah. <laugh> like New York's only three. Like Chicago's only 500 miles from New York. Is that possible? It's

COLIN (29:34): Not that far. Yeah. It's pretty easy to drive from. Yeah. Uh, neighbors seeing you off as you leave for a trip. I wrote that was a thing that would, a thing

JUSTIN (29:41): That would happen. So I thought about that. That would happen. That happens here. Like in on my street. Oh,

COLIN (29:45): Like still?

JUSTIN (29:46): Yeah.

COLIN (29:47): Really

JUSTIN (29:48): Just 'cause we're always outside. We're always out front. Like my, I live on, I live on a little slice of 1980s, like small town America where like <laugh> like, you know, we're, we're like borrow sugar and shit from each other all the time. And like, um,

COLIN (29:59): I see that more than this one. This feels like because, and I actually texted my mom to see if this was a thing growing up and she's like, oh yeah, that was definitely a thing. And I, I think, I feel like that's more of a, going on a trip was a much bigger deal then.

JUSTIN (30:10): Much bigger deal. That's true. Yeah. I mean, but we, like if my neighbors wouldn't necessarily come over if they like, knew that we were gonna leave at 8:00 AM to, to see us off, but like if they saw us packing all of our shit up or whatever, they'd be like, come over and like talk about they, they would know where we were going and we would wave. That happens if that happens.

COLIN (30:26): Alright, I thought about that. But that's still happening somewhere. That's, I thought about

JUSTIN (30:28): That when it, like, my first thought was, oh, is that weird? I'm like, no, we, we kind of do that. But I I I don't think that's normal now.

COLIN (30:34): The, and so the only two things that I really wanna call out, call out the filmmakers on, which you could have maybe thought of at the time was the, definitely the, the guy when they're the, the neighbors seen them off in the beginning is like, watch out for Indians. Like that was a little rough. And then, uh, and then obviously the scene in St. Louis, which while funny, definitely not what you want in 2023 and you know, let's play into a stereotype that was a little

JUSTIN (30:55): Tough. Yeah. Yeah. That was that that that's, it's funny how those things can actually be make you so uncomfortable to watch now.

COLIN (31:02): Yeah. I mean that line, I remember my friends and I loving that line when he's giving, when the guys giving him directions and he's like, oh no, fuck that. You don't wanna go that way. Like, you know, like that, like that whole, that what he says is hilarious, but it's like, this is, I

JUSTIN (31:13): Fast forwarded through it did.

COLIN (31:15): You didn't even

JUSTIN (31:15): Watch it. I just like, I'm gonna cringe too much <laugh>.

COLIN (31:18): That was, but again, I, I was expecting more of that. I really thought there was like a probably a handful more than those couple of scenes. Um, and I, those are the only ones I really noticed. Uh, and I do wanna mention the Coppertone sign and the gift shop. I wanna mention gift shops. Remember how big a deal gift shops were growing up? Yeah. Because it was a gift shop. Like, I gotta spend money in the gift. There's a hotel gift shop, I gotta buy something. Totally. And the Rocky Balboa trading card that the cousin had in Kansas, like stuck in the mirror was spectacular. I loved that.

JUSTIN (31:44): I I I forgot about that. Yeah. And that was cool. I, I wonder if, I guess it must have made those, I mean that was a real thing. I suppose

COLIN (31:51): Stallone insisted on it,

JUSTIN (31:52): But <laugh>, that scene where Anthony Michael Hall, like kind of just in awe that kid have having nothing to do was pretty amazing <laugh>, right. Because that we flipped Now don't you think like if they went to, if you did that now and like they showed up this like farmhouse mm-hmm. <affirmative> thing in Kansas. Like they, the city kids would all think the country kids were the cool as hell

COLIN (32:09): Probably. Yeah.

JUSTIN (32:10): How about when Audrey tells her friend that being a farmer isn't cool <laugh> like

COLIN (32:13): She that was weak.

JUSTIN (32:14): She just straight up was like, Hey, I hate to tell you this, but being a farmer is not very cool. That was

COLIN (32:19): Rude as shit, man. That was rude then. That is something to do. Like, you know, that was Jane Kakowski by the way. I totally forgot that. That was Jane Krakowski. Really? Yeah. From uh, 30 Rock and like, uh, that's what,

JUSTIN (32:31): That's, that's why she looked familiar. Okay. Yeah.

COLIN (32:33): Shame on me for not mentioning that in the production notes. Well, anyway, that kind of brings, unless you have anything else in the then the knits, you know, we can kind of get into, you know, does this movie make you wanna go outside?

JUSTIN (32:44): It makes me, I don't have any other niches to pick it. It definitely makes, even though it's a disaster from start to finish, it still makes you wanna go on a road. It does kind of make you wanna go on a road trip.

COLIN (32:52): Yeah, I agree with that. And it did. I mean, even the stuff that was stressing me out, like it made me like, God, you know, we should get the family. We, we should go somewhere. We, we just get in the car and go somewhere.

JUSTIN (33:01): Well it, I mean like at the end of the day it's kind of, it's kind of winking at you, right? Like, like totally. It's like this is a good, this is a, this is the great American tradition. I think that that used to be a much bigger deal. I don't think it would even occur to you to make a movie about a family road trip anymore. I mean, I guess they do still kind of do, but, but those are, there's like something else going on with those. It's not just like a, a a, a movie, you know, where a family's gonna go west just for the sake of going west. So that, that's kind of the, I don't know if people do that anymore. You'd, you'd fly I guess. I don't know.

COLIN (33:27): We definitely would fly. Although it was funny how many jokes they were making about flying. It's just like, you know, yeah, you should definitely have flown <laugh>. That makes a lot more sense.

JUSTIN (33:35): But it does, it, it it's like even even knowing that like if I were to pack my family up and like drive to Chicago for example, like, you know, I would probably regret it pretty quick. But you'd still have a like, I dunno, you'd have a nice time and you'd, you'd see some stuff and it, and it and it makes you wanna go on a vacation.

COLIN (33:48): Yeah. And I mean, so yeah, for me too, the definitely makes me wanna go on a road trip. Uh, and then, I don't know, I just kinda also look at the, just the legacy of the film and like yeah, it definitely is one of those, it's a weird film in that. Yeah, I agree with you. It's probably about a five outta 10 you a two star film kind of thing. However, the impact it left is pretty huge. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I mean like, think about the kinds of movies we get. You know, it kind of expanded the, the National Lampoon legacy, which then led to other things. And all the people look at all the people who came out of this, like who are in it. You know, we've seen, you know, Anthony, Michael Hall, Eugene Levy Levy, John Candy, these guys who went on to some, you know, pretty good careers. You know, they were all sort of like bit players. And I think that's the whole Second City National Lampoon thing. Right. But pretty, uh, pretty healthy legacy there for National Lampoon's vacation. I mean, it's spawned, you know, four sequels. Yeah. All right, well that's vacation. Any, any last thoughts?

JUSTIN (34:35): I think it, my last thought would be if you're listening to this and you're like, you know what, I'm gonna give that a watch, wait till the winter. 'cause I think, I think if you watch this movie in the wintertime, you'd be so pumped to get the hell out and like go on a trip that you might enjoy it more. Yeah. But, uh, you know, I don't know. Or, or, or also don't watch your favorite eighties movies if you haven't seen it in 15 years. Like, just, just live with the memories

COLIN (34:57): That you have. Live with the memories, you know, live with the memories. Unless

JUSTIN (34:59): It's fledged. 'cause that movie is brilliant, but, uh, you know, you, you, you remember all the good parts. You don't remember the bad parts. It's probably for the best.

COLIN (35:08): Alright, that'll do it. That's, uh, no, no, uh, no tails from the trail this week. We're gonna get back to it next week. 'cause uh, I gotta run. But, uh,

JUSTIN (35:15): Well, I didn't do anything this week anyway, so

COLIN (35:17): That's perfect. Yeah, it was kind of a lazy week over here too. Although I did, I did finally put on a, a thin wetsuit. I finally put my four three away and got out my two millimeter suit.

JUSTIN (35:24): I touched some wetsuit, <laugh>. I moved him around from one place to another in my

COLIN (35:28): Garage and I surf for like 45 minutes. It wasn't really even that worth it, but. All right. We'll see you next week.

JUSTIN (35:33): Okay. Take it easy.


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