More Casting on the Ed Helms ‘Vacation’ Reboot and Supernerd Looks Back at the Original

Victorious star Elizabeth Gillies has joined the cast of New Line’s Vacation, Gillies will next be seen alongside Denis Leary in the upcoming FX series Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll, which has been picked up to series. She is best known for her role in Nickelodeon’s Victorious.

Helms is set to star as Rusty Griswold, the adult son of Clark and Ellen Griswold, who takes his own family on a road trip. Christina Apllegate will play Helms’ wife while Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo are also attached to reprise their roles in cameos. Skyler Gisondo and Steele Stebbins will play Rusty’s two sparring sons. Thor, himself, Chris Hemsworth and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Charlie Day have also signed on to the production that begins shooting next week.

This is a great opportunity to take a look back in a piece looking back on the original National Lampoon’s Vacation written by our own, S. Scott Stanikmas that I’ve been sitting on for far too long. Take a read, it’s a great look back.



National Lampoon’s Vacation

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

I am a child of the 80’s. I was born in the early part of the decade and grew up on a steady stream of what I consider now-classic cartoons. ThunderCats, The Real GhostBusters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, M.A.S.K., G.I. Joe amongst so many others were the backbone of my TV watching days. I wasn’t really that big into movies. Sure, I’d seen E.T. and GhostBusters and Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, but I’d rather watch Pee Wee’s Playhouse. I didn’t start to get into movies until my dad took me to see Tim Burton’s Batman and my Uncle Joel took me to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. By then, my child’s mind wasn’t thinking about what came before, but what would come next.


Flash forward many years later- I’m a much more rounded cinephile than the young man that I was. With the advent of Blu-ray, I find myself buying more and more “classics” at bargain prices. Movies that somehow evaded me during my adolescence because I wanted to see things with more explosions and special effects (I was Michael Bay’s target audience for a good portion of my formative years). Looking at my collection, I’ve got a pretty good collection of films that made the 80’s great. It’s like I’m making up for lost time. And that’s where life gets kind of humorous.


I get an email from Indierevolver’s EIC saying that he wants to start a rotating column where we look back at what made the 80’s great. I looked at my stack of Blu-rays, wondering where to start. After tossing some movies on the bed and closing my eyes, I came up with National Lampoon’s Vacation.


I’m gonna get this out of the way right off the bat- Beverly D’Angelo is hot in way most leading ladies today only wish they could be. In a generation that had yet to hear the term “MILF”, D’Angelo was the mom most kids probably fantasized about. And the fact that she had two topless scenes…Wow. Just wow. Today’s starlets wouldn’t dream of doing scenes like she did, especially in what would be considered a B comedy. I don’t know how in the minority I am but I think Beverly D’Angelo was even more stunning that Christie Brinkley in NLV.


One of the things that truly made this movie work for me was the family dynamic. Every part was played well but not too far over the top, so as to upstage anyone else. Chevy Chase may catch a lot of flack nowadays, but as Clark Griswold he was excellent. His F-bomb laden outburst near the end of the movie, as his family is so close to their destination of Wally World and all they want to do is give up and go home, was hilarious. I can imagine a lot of fathers in the audience giving Chevy a mental thumbs-up for that scene, as well for tying Aunt Edna to the roof after she passes on because really, who wants a dead body in the car ruining everyone’s good time?


There’s something about the music in 80’s movies that just puts a smile on my face. It seemed as though every movie from that decade had at least one song created just for that movie by some quote/unquote no-name artist looking to make name for themselves. National Lampoon’s Vacation is no exception. The opening montage with the various postcards from across the United States was a nice touch, to let you know what you’re in for without giving away any of the movie, but the song Holiday Road was the perfect choice to accompany those images. It just had one of those infectious beats that had me bopping my head a little bit from side to side. I still find myself humming it days later.


I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the true highlight of the film for me- John Candy. Even though he was only onscreen a brief amount of time I, was captivated by him. With just the tiniest whimper, or the changing of his facial expression from scared to happy-go-lucky back to terrified, he had me chuckling. I don’t normally gush over an actors in bit parts, but nothing John Candy did had wasted motion. That man was a true genius, and as I do more of these write-ups, I’m sure I’ll have more opportunities to praise his work.


This was a film that, if made today, would probably have veered a little too far into the toilet humor and sex gags many of today’s comedies are known for. They would have focused on Audrey and the joints gifted to her by her cousin, or Rusty flipping through the skin mags. We would have had Audrey getting high and doing something stupid. We would have had Aunt Edna walking in on Rusty pleasuring himself and comedic hijinks would ensue. While we are now in a new age, where the R-rated comedy is once again dominating the box office, it’s nice to harken back to a simpler time, when a family could go on a road trip to an amusement park and kidnap a security guard with a BB gun.


Ah, the good old days.

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