You might know that National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation was written by John Hughes, the guy behind ’80s classics like The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. But did you know that before Hughes became a filmmaker he was a contributor to the National Lampoon magazine? In fact, he based his Christmas Vacation screenplay on one of his old Lampoon pieces, “Christmas ’59.” That’s just one of the cheerful facts featured in the newest episode of You Think You Know Movies!
It was a great year for movies. One of the best in recent memory, in fact, with enough outstanding films to fill three or four top ten lists. But the good in any artistic medium will always be outweighed by the bad, and even as it seems like the number of potential classics grows every year, the number of certified stinkers grows as well. Exponentially; there’s enough cinematic turd burgers from the last twelve months to fill seven or eight top ten lists.
When it’s all said and done, the summer of 2015 will be remembered for a few things. The way Jurassic World dominated the humanoid world; the ocean of tears that flooded theaters showing Inside Out; Straight Outta Compton topping superheroes and reboots at the August box office. What’s likely to get overlooked amidst those stories is the summer’s biggest theme, one that ran through many of the season’s biggest hits and flops: Terrible parents.
A few weeks ago, tracking for Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation was supposedly in the toilet. Early reports suggested that Tom Cruise’s fifth outing as super-spy Ethan Hunt was not getting people excited. This would be the end, the experts said, of a franchise that has kept Cruise’s career surging forward for the past two decades. Well, that was apparently a big load of crap because Rogue Nation opened well and opened in the same ballpark as the rest of the franchise. Even with inflation differences, this series keeps on hitting the same box office sweet spot.
Full disclosure: I missed the last 10 minutes of Vacation. Last night’s press screening started 20 minutes late, then began without any sound, which lead to a 10 minute delay to correct the technical difficulties. With an unbreakable engagement elsewhere, I had to sneak out right before the very last scene. So take this review with as many grains of salt as you’d like. If you think those final minutes might recontextualize everything that came before to transform a generally miserable comedy into a beacon of transcendent hilarity, so be it. Having sat through the previous 90 minutes, I’m of the opinion that nothing short of the long-lost missing footage from Orson Welles’ Magnificent Ambersons could have redeemed this dreadful film.
They are sequels and there are remakes and there is the new Vacation, which manages to somehow be both of those things at the same time. It’s a sequel in that it follows the grown-up Rusty (Ed Helms) and his new family, but it’s a remake because it, once again, tracks the Griswold clan as they embark on a cross-country road trip to visit Walley World. And while the original film had its fair share of off-color jokes, the mere existence of this new red band trailer is all the evidence you need that this remaquel will push the boundaries of the R-rating.
What at first seemed like a silly idea for a reboot/sequel has already proven itself as incredibly promising with just a couple of trailers — a new trailer for Vacation has arrived, and it’s just as funny as the previous ones (although it features less of Chris Hemsworth’s, um, area). A new generation of Griswolds hit the road for Walley World, and the results appear to be even more disastrous than the original gang’s vacation attempts.
The new Vacation may bear the same name as the old Vacation, but it’s actually a sequel, taking place a few decades after the first ill-fated Griswold family trip to Walley World. The first trailer for this new version has arrived and while it has the same title and premise as its predecessor, it bends over backwards to let you know that Ed Helms is the same Rusty Griswold from 32 years ago, all grown up. Can we call this a rebootquel?
Temperatures are getting warmer, days are getting longer and the movies are getting bigger. Yep, summer is here and it’s brought with it one of the most jam-packed movie schedules in years. From superhero movies and post-apocalypitc adventures to rom-coms and animated family flicks, the summer of 2015 has something for everyone. In fact, it may have too much of everything for everyone. You are going to be spending a lot of time in movie theaters over the next three months. And with that, these are the 25 movies you have to have on your radar this summer. Read this list. Study it. Watch the trailers. Create a game plan. Oh, and stay hydrated. Living on popcorn is thirsty business.
Warner Bros. did some light scheduling today, rearranging the upcoming Vacation sequel/reboot, while Screen Gems officially gave Pride and Prejudice and Zombies an appropriately romantic release date. The former has been moved up from October to July, while the latter has been given a slot in February 2016.