In honour of my visiting Paris for the first time this spring break, I’ve decided that I’m going to write about good vacation movies, bad ones, and the differences that make all the, well, difference. There was a tie in with my choice of subject matter when Eurotrip was playing at the multiplex, but it isn’t anymore, so we’ll just ignore that and say that the break approaching is enough reason for this theme.
Audrey Hepburn makes any movie unforgettable. It’s only fitting that this classic, helmed by such a great actress, would be among one of the best vacation movies ever. Add in Gregory Peck, relax, and watch the fabulous movie unfold. While the plot isn’t exactly original or surprising (royalty runs away and enjoys the common life for a while), the ending certainly is, as Princess Ann (Hepburn) chooses to leave her lover behind, reporter Joe Bradley (Peck), and returns to her royal duties. Made at a time, like now, when fairy tale endings are what most movie-goers want and receive, Roman Holiday realizes that life doesn’t always work out the way you wish it would. Plus, there are so many beautiful shots of Rome, that it’s almost like an advertisement for the city.
Yeah, I know some Cornellians have a soft spot for this movie because the setting for the fictional Ithaca University is right here in our home away from home, Ithaca, NY. But don’t let that lull you into thinking this is a quality movie. This is a guy’s movie starring Breckin Meyer of Clueless fame during his 15 minutes before he fell into doing some awful shows on TV. The cast is a composite of various other successful teen movie stars: Seann William Scott of the American Pie franchise; Amy Smart from Felicity and Varsity Blues; Paulo Costanzo from Josie and the Pussycats … the list goes on and on. And then there’s the co-starring presence of Tom Green, who is just as loopy and creepy here as in any of his other movies. I take no joy in his status as a Canadian. In fact, the States can have him, he’s yours. Honestly, you don’t even need to have a description of the plot because it’s so poorly contrived that, really, it’s just an excuse to have young, good looking kids running around making as many bathroom humour jokes as possible while making out once in a while. Definitely a movie to avoid: you can easily have more fun than this bunch has on your own road trip. I know, I have.
Weekend at Bernie’s
Doesn’t it just suck when your boss dies while you’re hanging out at his house, and then you have to cart his dead body all over town in an effort to prove that he’s still alive and you haven’t accidentally killed him? No? Well, geez, what a surprise. I thought that happened to everyone! Despite its ludicrous premise, Weekend at Bernie’s is actually a hilarious movie that I thoroughly enjoy every time I see it. Though, I must admit, when I was younger I didn’t quite get the whole necrophilia scene. Man, now I just feel icky. Moving along, the cast was great throughout, especially Don Calfa as Paulie, the supremely frustrated hitman who has to keep killing Bernie, over and over again. Besides just being a great vacation movie, this is also an ’80s classic — one of those films where you can laugh at everything, including the fashions of the time.
Weekend at Bernie’s II
I don’t know what the hell Robert Klane (the writer for the original Weekend at Bernie’s) thought he was doing here with his new script that he directed into one of the worst movies ever made. Gone is the freshness of the original, that bumbling innocence that made you almost relate to the characters and their ridiculous plight. By the time this movie takes place, Bernie has been dead for a while, so the heroes use voodoo to resurrect him. Yeah, what a great idea for a movie.
The Great Outdoors
Just picturing John Candy flailing all over place in the water-skiing scene makes me smile. Or how great was Dan Aykroyd as the most irritating, snooty, vacation-crashing in-law ever? Or the last scene where the big, mean bear’s butt hair is blown away and the beast ends up mooning us all? Or when Buck (Chris Young) is playing pool and, well, that’s a little hard to describe without sounding pornographic, but take my word for it, great scene. I watched this movie so many times when I was young, that I think I might actually have the whole thing memorized. It’s just plain fun — a zany family vacation with side plots for everyone to enjoy.
Yeah, there are obviously a lot of great vacation movies that I didn’t list here, but I’m not exactly working with a lot of space. If you’re still on campus reading this, then have a great spring break, no matter if you’re staying here, or going to Paris. Au revoir, mes copains!
Archived article by Sue Karp