Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Anthony Michael Hall, and Dana Barron in National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)

If you ever wanted to see a comedy movie that features Chevy Chase in his prime, then look no further that the “National Lampoon’s Vacation” film series, starting with the still acclaimed first installment! Accompanied by their children, Clark Griswold and his wife, Ellen, 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. They reach Los Angeles, but, when Clark worries that the trip is being derailed again, he acts impulsively to get his family to the park. Starring Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Randy Quaid, Dana Barron and Anthony Michael Hall. John Candy, Imogene Coca, Christie Brinkley and a young Jane Krakowski appear in supporting roles. Rusty and Audrey appear to be in their early teens in Vacation; and I still consider them to be the most memorable iterations of the characters. Clark is usually very easy-going and optimistic, even in the face of adversity and his family’s seeming lack of appreciation for his efforts on their behalf. However in comedic fashion, when he is pushed beyond the limit of his patience, he tends to lose his temper and go on furious tirades, as seen in the first Vacation, where he scolds his family for not wanting to continue the trip. But the biggest breakout characters is Eddie and Catherine Johnson; Clark’s redneck cousins who get on his nerves, but make us laugh. Also in a amusing subplot, Clark sees a golden-haired beauty driving a red Ferrari played by model and actress Christie Brinkley. Despite being a movie about a family vacation, its still R-rated; but mainly for the occasional harsh language and a brief scene with a naked Beverly D’Angelo. Overall this is the best family road trip movie I’ve ever seen, showing off all the best quirks from its leading man and giving us the unforgettable song “Holiday Road”!

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