Tag: Chevy

Chevy Chase Thinks ‘It’s the Silliest Thing’ When People Compare ‘Christmas Vacation’ To ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

There’s no denying National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a popular holiday movie. It’s not uncommon for fans of the 1989 comedy to watch it multiple times during the month of December. 

Chevy Chase in a scene from 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation'
Chevy Chase in a scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation | Warner Brothers/Getty Images

For some, it’s a time-honored family tradition to watch the Griswolds endure Christmas with their relatives. In fact, the movie’s become so popular in the decades following its release there are now Christmas Vacation inspired ornaments and t-shirts.

The movie might be one of the most beloved holiday movies but its star, Chevy Chase, insists it’s not on the same level as It’s a Wonderful Life

‘Christmas Vacation’ has a connection to ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

Frank Capra III, the grandson of It’s a Wonderful Life director Frank Capra, served as the second assistant director on Christmas Vacation

RELATED: The Best Holiday Movies From Every Decade

Watch Christmas Vacation and see clips from It’s a Wonderful Life. Rusty Griswold, played by a 14-year-old Johnny Galecki in his pre-Big Bang Theory days, sits on the couch watching the 1946 film.

It’s a brief moment of calm just before the doorbell rings and Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo) and Clark’s (Chase) parents show up. 

Chevy Chase says ‘Christmas Vacation’ isn’t comparable to the Christmas classic

Chase reunited with some of his Christmas Vacation co-stars including D’Angelo, Juliette Lewis (Audrey Griswold), and Galecki as well as others, to provide an oral history of the film in 2014.

They talked about the legacy of Christmas Vacation and how it rivals other holiday movies. But Chase is adamant that it doesn’t stand a chance against It’s a Wonderful Life. He told Rolling Stone he doesn’t get it when people compare Christmas Vacation to Capra’s Oscar-nominated film. 

“Comparing Christmas Vacation to It’s A Wonderful Life is the silliest thing,” he said. “That film starred the greatest movie actor of all time and the idea that our movie could ever be connected in some fashion to something so brilliant and beautiful always made feel like, ‘That’s all they had to write about?’”

Donna Reed, James Stewart and Karolyn Grimes in 'It's a Wonderful Life'
Donna Reed, James Stewart and Karolyn Grimes in It’s a Wonderful Life | CBS via Getty Images

RELATED: What Is the Best Christmas Movie of All Time?

Chase continued, saying he appreciates the comparison but says there’s no competing with It’s a Wonderful Life

“It’s very flattering and I suppose Christmas Vacation is a modern look at Christmas. But James Stewart, my God! What a movie,” he said. “I could talk about that one all day.”

Watch ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ on Amazon Prime Video

Whether or not fans of Christmas Vacation agree with Chase’s assessment, they can stream It’s a Wonderful Life on Amazon Prime Video for free with a subscription. Unfortunately, Christmas Vacation isn’t streaming so fans will have to rent the film or rely on a DVD to witness the Griswold family during the holiday season.

RELATED: ‘Christmas Vacation’: Why Christie Brinkley Refused

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Broken finger to fake snow, Chevy Chase dishes on ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’

Spoiler alert — all that snow isn’t real.

From Clark Griswold to Cousin Eddie, babies recreate scenes from ‘Christmas Vacation’

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Chevy Chase says of all the questions he gets about the now-classic holiday comedy “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” surprisingly the white powdery surroundings top the list.

“The answer, of course, is no. I hate to say it, but the very first thing we shot was the tree, that was snow and we did get Randy (Quaid) and me on a hill that was in Colorado and I did have to go down this damn trail they built for me. It was scary, but it was fun,” he recalls.



a man wearing a hat: Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) goes all out for the holiday in "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation."


© WARNER BROS.
Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) goes all out for the holiday in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”

 “But that was the first couple of days. The rest of the time we just made it look like snow around the house and stuff.”

More: Duncan Sheik: New album spins tale from ‘Barely Breathing’ to Broadway

What was real about the movie?

The legendary actor’s reactions in the infamous Christmas lights scene, where Chase’s character Clark Griswold gets so frustrated he resorts to hitting the decorations around him. 

The problem is he whacked one character — “that wasn’t in the script, but I was so angry I did it” — so hard it broke his finger.

“Oh boy did that hurt,” he said. “I thought it might melt or something, but no, it was a good, hard plastic.”

“I just went on with the scene,” he said. 

Naturally.

“These things happen. You have to be strong.” 



Chevy Chase wearing a suit and tie: Chevy Chase attends the SNL 40th Anniversary Special at Rockefeller Plaza, in New York in Feb. 15, 2015.


© AP
Chevy Chase attends the SNL 40th Anniversary Special at Rockefeller Plaza, in New York in Feb. 15, 2015.

Chase and Beverly D’Angelo (Ellen Griswold) are hosting an online salute to “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” on Saturday, Nov. 28. Tickets, $25, are available through New Jersey Performing Arts Center. The pair will share behind-the-scenes stories and memories, as well as take part in a live audience question-and-answer session.

More: Virtual programming a lifeline, but NJ arts remain in dire straits

Chase says he’s looking forward to the trip down memory lane even though it will be held virtually this year, enjoying in-person events every holiday season.

“When I’m on stage there with the audience, it’s usually about 3,000 people or whatever, and I’m loving it because it’s very rare that a guy that makes movies or TV shows ever gets to see his audience,” he said.

He says he even enjoys the “wise guys” who shout remarks from the seats.

“I can take anything and I can give it back better,” he said. 

Chase says he never expected the 1989 film to attain the holiday tradition status that it has.

“One always hopes,” he said. “I never come away from something like, ‘we’ve got a hit,’ but I always give it my best shot and I can think of moments that are in the movie that people are going to think

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Broken finger to fake snow, Chevy Chases dishes on ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’

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Photographer Amy Haehl made Christmas movie magic when she recreated scenes from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” with adorable babies.

USA TODAY

Spoiler alert — all that snow isn’t real.

Chevy Chase says of all the questions he gets about the now-classic holiday comedy “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” surprisingly the white powdery surroundings top the list.

“The answer, of course, is no. I hate to say it, but the very first thing we shot was the tree, that was snow and we did get Randy (Quaid) and me on a hill that was in Colorado and I did have to go down this damn trail they built for me. It was scary, but it was fun,” he recalls.

Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) goes all out for the holiday in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” (Photo: WARNER BROS.)

 “But that was the first couple of days. The rest of the time we just made it look like snow around the house and stuff.”

More: Duncan Sheik: New album spins tale from ‘Barely Breathing’ to Broadway

What was real about the movie?

The legendary actor’s reactions in the infamous Christmas lights scene, where Chase’s character Clark Griswold gets so frustrated he resorts to hitting the decorations around him. 

The problem is he whacked one character — “that wasn’t in the script, but I was so angry I did it” — so hard it broke his finger.

“Oh boy did that hurt,” he said. “I thought it might melt or something, but no, it was a good, hard plastic.”

“I just went on with the scene,” he said. 

Naturally.

“These things happen. You have to be strong.” 

Chevy Chase attends the SNL 40th Anniversary Special at Rockefeller Plaza, in New York in Feb. 15, 2015. (Photo: AP)

Chase and Beverly D’Angelo (Ellen Griswold) are hosting an online salute to “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” on Saturday, Nov. 28. Tickets, $25, are available through New Jersey Performing Arts Center. The pair will share behind-the-scenes stories and memories, as well as take part in a live audience question-and-answer session.

More: Virtual programming a lifeline, but NJ arts remain in dire straits

Chase says he’s looking forward to the trip down memory lane even though it will be held virtually this year, enjoying in-person events every holiday season.

“When I’m on stage there with the audience, it’s usually about 3,000 people or whatever, and I’m loving it because it’s very rare that a guy that makes movies or TV shows ever gets to see his audience,” he said.

He says he even enjoys the “wise guys” who shout remarks from the seats.

“I can take anything and I can give it back better,” he said. 

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Chase says he never expected the 1989 film to attain the holiday tradition status that it has.

“One always hopes,” he said. “I never come away from something like ‘we’ve got a hit’ but I always give it my best shot and I can think

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The director of ‘Home Alone’ says he walked off ‘Christmas Vacation’ because he ‘couldn’t make the movie with Chevy Chase’



Chevy Chase et al. sitting at a table: "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation/Warner Bros.


© National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation/Warner Bros.
“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation/Warner Bros.

  • Chris Columbus told Insider what led him to him directing “Home Alone.”
  • The director was hired to helm “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” but didn’t get along with its star Chevy Chase.
  • That opened the door for him to make another Christmas classic, “Home Alone.”
  • “The rest is history,” Columbus said.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

By the 1990s, Chris Columbus had already made a name for himself in Hollywood thanks to penning scripts for classics such as “Gremlins” and “The Goonies.” But switching to directing films was a challenge.

After his debut, the impressive “Adventures in Babysitting” in 1987, Columbus directed the flop “Heartbreak Hotel” a year later. His next movie — “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” — would be a make-or-break moment for Columbus. 

Still, that turned out to be a mistake.

The comedy franchise, led by its star Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold, the family man driven to give his kids amazing vacations only to fail hilariously, was set up to do a holiday movie in which the Griswolds host Christmas.

Producer John Hughes, best known for classics “The Breakfast Club,” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” brought on Columbus to direct. But even before cameras could roll Columbus came to the realization that he could not work with Chase.

“It was fraught with pain and tension with Chevy Chase, but I needed the job desperately,” Columbus told Insider.

Chase had a reputation for being difficult to work with. In fact, it had gone all the way back to when he was one of the original cast members of “Saturday Night Live.” 



Chris Columbus wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: Chris Columbus. Slaven Vlasic/Getty


© Slaven Vlasic/Getty
Chris Columbus. Slaven Vlasic/Getty

Despite needing the work, the director decided to exit the project and eventually Jeremiah S. Chechik took the coveted gig.

“At the time I was living with my wife’s parents,” Columbus admitted. “It took everything in my power to convince myself to resign from ‘Christmas Vacation’ because I couldn’t make the movie with Chevy Chase.” 

But two weeks after leaving “Christmas Vacation,” Columbus got a call from Hughes.

“He sends me two scripts and I thankfully chose ‘Home Alone,'” Columbus recalled. “The rest is history.”

Columbus still doesn’t know why Hughes came back to him after he bailed on the producer’s other movie. Looking back, Columbus thinks maybe Hughes was impressed by his bold decision to leave a movie with a built in audience as “Christmas Vacation” would go on to be one of the most popular titles in the franchise. 



a close up of a child wearing a hat: "Home Alone." Fox


© Fox
“Home Alone.” Fox


Still, Columbus was grateful for the second chance.

“A producer can lose faith in their director if he says, ‘I can’t handle this guy,'” Columbus said. “That can show fear, but John didn’t waver.”

And the result was huge for both men, but especially for Columbus.

“[Late actor] Paul Newman once told me making a living in this business is a combination of luck and talent and I really

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