In National Lampoon’s Vacation, Hughes along with uncredited screenwriters, director Harold Ramis and Chevy Chase, tell the story of a white, middle-class, suburban family and their journey cross-country during their annual two-week vacation. It was a relatable story to many North American’s, who during the 70s and 80s would travel across country for days to visit family or holiday destinations, without the distraction of iPads, cassette decks or even decent radio coverage. Vacation tapped into the collective memory of being stuck in long car rides alongside the family. In the off-colour comedic-style of the National Lampoon Magazine, the film tackled race, incest, infidelity and animal welfare, alongside its observations of family values, the fallout of Reaganomics, and urban crime. It also proved that Hughes’ work could be great when placed in the hands of a skilled director that shared his sense of humour, and was able to step somewhat outside the insular suburban-world that would become Hughes stock-in-trade.
National Lampoon’s Vacation is available on iTunes, Amazon Video, and probably a bunch of other places.
Read John Hughes’ Original National Lampoon Vacation Story That Started the Movie Franchise via The Hollywood reporter.
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