National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacations is probably the funniest and most quotable movie ever to take on the traditional American Christmas. Christmas Vacation’s story centers on Clark Griswold’s attempt to give his family the best Christmas ever– with little success. Though filmed in 1989, Christmas Vacation quotes still abound around the holiday season. Here are some great quotes capturing moments from the film. There are so many great quotes from Christmas Vacation though, that this should in no way be considered a comprehensive list.
“Little full, lot of sap.”
This is the epitome of Clark’s early-movie Christmas optimism. He (Chevy Chase) has , according to his plan for the perfect Christmas, taken Ellen, Russ and Audrey to get chop their own “Griswold Family Christmas Tree.” It is waaay too big but Clark is undeterred. There’s nothing wrong with the tree that can’t be fixed. He does a good job holding onto this sunny outlook for most of the film. As he tells his son (Big Bang Theory’s Johnny Galecki, no less…) who says the tree wouldn’t fit in his backyard “It’s not going in our backyard, Russ, it’s going in our living room.” Size will prove to be only one problem with the tree as a later scene involving a squirrel proves you can take the tree out of the wilderness, but you can’t always take the wilderness out of the tree….
“I wasn’t talking to you.”
The Griswold neighbors are sort of the anti-Griswolds. Their apartment is sterile and unMerry. And their attitude towards Clark is condescending and rude. Todd and Margo aren’t necessarily snobby names, but in this case, they seem so appropriate for the snide next door neighbors. In this scene, Todd and Margo run into Clark with the giant tree. Todd asks Clark in a mocking way where he’s going to fit the enormous tree. Clark suggests “Bend over and I’ll show you.” Todd takes umbridge then Clark retorts “I wasn’t talking to you.” Ha. It’s just funny. (And even funnier when you recall Margo is played by Julia Louis Dreyfus. That’d be Elaine from Seinfeld.) The eventual payoff in this subplot is very satisfying, too.
“It’s an RV; that stands for recreational vehicle.”
Nothing throws a crimp in Clark’s classic Christmas plans more than the arrival of Cousin Eddie and his brood. Eddie (Randy Quaid) is – how to describe him – dumb – and, well, a bit, maybe. He’s a hick. He’s married to Ellen Griswold’s cousin Catherine. Having hit hard times, Catherine and Eddie bring their two kids – Ruby Sue and Rocky, and their disgusting, slobbering dog Snots, to stay with the Griswolds. They arrive in an RV, the toilet of which Eddie soon, while in his bathrobe, empties via hose into the curbside storm drain.
“SAY THE BLESSING!”
Another great scene in Christmas Vacation comes at Christmas Eve dinner when Aunt Bethany, who’s about a hundred and mentally out of it, is asked to say grace. “Grace? She died thirty years ago.” At this, the other oldster at the table, Uncle Lewis (William Hickey) a stogey-chomping kind of guy, can’t take it anymore and just yells “Say the blessing!”. Bethany promptly begins reciting the Pledge Of Allegience. Another great Lewis line to Bethany: “You couldn’t hear a dump truck in a nitroglycerin plant.”
“….the hap-hap-happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby danced with Danny (bleeping) Kaye. Merry Christmas. Holy (bleep). Where’s the Tylenol?”
At this point in the movie, Clark has had it. Everything has gone wrong and he explodes. His desire to please his family with the perfect Christmas turns into a kind of holiday rage. Blame it on the Jelly of the Month Club – the gift his boss gave him instead of his cash bonus. This is Clark’s breaking point, which isn’t to say things arent going to get worse….
“I had a little help from Jack Daniels.”
Another great component of this film is the two sets of grandparents played by two great pairs of actors – who arrive for the festivities. Finally, when Clark is at the end of his rope, he asks his dad, played by the late great John Randolph, how he managed to pull off great holidays. Clark, Sr. Admits
“I appreciate that, Clark.”
Eddie, trying to be a good guy, has kidnapped Clark’s boss – as Clark sarcastically requested – and in doing so, has brought the local police SWAT team crashing through the Griswold house. Clark tries to explain by saying “My cousin Eddie, who’s heart is bigger than his brain…” – which Eddie quickly answers with “I appreciate that Clark,” proving Clark’s point.
“That’s not the friggin’ Christmas star, Gris, it’s the light from the sewage treatment plant.”
At the end of the movie when all is sort of well, a bright light calls to Clark’s mind the symbol of Christmas night. Uncle Lewis, about to light his stogey, offers this alternative theory. At this point, but a split second to late, Clark realizes what the lit cigar will do too the sewage in the drain. Let’s just say, the scene ends with a bang.