Day 227: Vacation (2015)

home_mainI had been putting off today’s film for quite some time because I don’t believe in the idea of releasing a sequel or reboot of a franchise that was popular thirty years before. Nevertheless, for today I decided to check out 2015’s Vacation which follows in the footsteps of National Lampoon’s Vacation. This time around, Rusty (Ed Helms) is an adult with his own family which includes his wife Debbie (Christina Applegate) and his kids James (Skyler Gisondo) and Kevin (Steele Stebbins). Things are pretty bland for him as he works for a crap airline and things at home just look like they need some sprucing up. So, he decides to take his family across country to Wally World like his father did thirty years before. The film also stars Chris Hemsworth (Thor) as Stone Crandall, Leslie Mann (Knocked Up) as Audrey Crandall, Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia) as Chad, Catherine Missal (Natural Selection) as Adena, Ron Livingston (Office Space) as Ethan, Keegan-Michael Key (Keanu) as Jack Peterson, Regina Hall (Scary Movie) as Nancy Peterson, Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead) as Trucker, Chevy Chase (National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation) as Clark Griswold, Beverly D’Angelo (National Lampoon’s European Vacation) as Ellen Griswold, and the film was directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein who both made their feature length directing debut with this film.

maxresdefault (1)I am going to start off saying that I wasn’t completely let down by the film because it was a good film, but a little too late for it. The film just didn’t have anything that made me laugh my butt off like the original films did. It was like they tried a little too hard to be as goofy and oblivious as the original film, but just couldn’t hit the mark. I really like Ed Helms as an actor, but I thought it was Stu from The Hangover out there the whole time while he is supposed to be Rusty Griswold who I don’t remember being that clueless. The best part of the film in my opinion was the relationship between the two brothers because those gave some great moments in the film and I can’t speak highly enough of Chris Hemsworth. I think once he is done being Thor, he seriously needs to continue his career in comedy. They tried to be like the original without really being the original even teasing you with some scenes that were similar to the original. For example, there is the scene where beautiful supermodel and actress Hannah Davis is driving in a Ferrari which is similar to the scene in the original with Christie Brinkley driving in the Ferrari with different end results to make it new. That was a cool nod, but let’s move on. I loved the scene though with the four cops (Nick Kroll, Tim Heidecker, Kaitlin Olson, and Michael Peña) who were from four different states that couldn’t stop arguing with each other. That was fresh and different, but here is why this film fails in comparison to the original. John Hughes was the master at writing and he wrote the original film and Harold Ramis knew comedy and he directed it. It’s hard to live up to those names, but at least they tried. I am going to give Vacation a grade somewhere between a C+/B- and only because Holiday Road was in the film. 

Day 47: Johnny Dangerously (1984)

johnny dangerouslyFor today’s film, I wanted a little comedy in my life and so I chose a film featuring my favorite actor to ever play Batman in Michael Keaton (Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance)). The film is called Johnny Dangerously  and it stars Keaton as the title character in this spoof film of 1930’s gangster movies. Johnny was just your ordinary average kid in New York City until some unfortunate events plunged him into the gangster life. Johnny is able to keep his life of crime a secret from his family for a very long time, but how long could it last. His brother Tommy (Griffin Dunne) is the district attorney hellbent on bringing down all the gangsters of New York. After being set up by a rival gangster named Danny Vermin (Joe Piscopo) and sent to jail, Tommy will have to prove that Johnny is is innocent before he gets the chair. The film also stars Marilu Henner (Taxi) as Lil, Maureen Stapleton (The Money Pit) as Ma Kelly, Peter Boyle (Young Frankenstein) as Jocko Dundee, Richard Dimitri (When Things Were Rotten) as Moronie, Dom DeLuise (Blazing Saddles) as The Pope, Danny DeVito (It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia) as Burr, Ray Walston (Lost In Space) as Vendor, Dick Butkus (My Two Dads) as Arthur, and the film was directed by Amy Heckerling (Clueless).

Marilu HennerI want to start off saying that I am huge fan of anything that takes place in the 1930’s gangster prohibition era and even though it’s a spoof film, I loved it. Michael Keaton is just masterful as the slick, charismatic gangster Johnny Dangerously. He is everything you would expect from that era as his personality certainly fits the character. Marilu Henner is also fantastic and she looks absolutely beautiful in this film. For a spoof film, there are so many heavyweights of the comedy world for that time. You have the always colorful and great Dom DeLuise who graces us with his presence. There is the very underrated Joe Piscopo who never gets enough credit for his comic abilities and the great performances he has had over those years. Then there are guys like the late and great Peter Boyle, Danny DeVito, Ray Walston, and so many more. I was a huge fan of Richard Dimitiri in this film with his overly broken English with his words like Fraggin or Icehole which reminded me of most of my family members. The film was fun to watch as I laughed so much at all the small things and the obvious jokes. Spoof films used to be fun and they always had great writing unlike the spoof films we get today which are overly sexual in their joke writing. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, they don’t make them like they used to. Check the film out on Netflix if you are a fan of spoof films. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.