Sunday, July 12, 2020

what i’m doing here with you

I don't know why The Great Outdoors starts with "Yakety Yak", but it does. And it reminds me of my recent watching of Stand By Me. A far better film, but they are so different that it's hardly worth comparing. But, comparisons are inevitable when movies come and movies go time and time again. Like, John Candy was was in--what?--two of these childhood fixture movies of mine: Vacation and Splash. He was also in Planes, Trains & Automobiles, which I spent a week on in this blog back in November 2014, except that movies was not a fixture with my family. I'm not even sure we saw it on the big screen. If any Thanksgiving movie made the list, it would be Dutch, which came out in '91 so might be early enough to qualify, or Home for the Holidays, but that didn't come out until '95, far too late for the list, thought we did watch it probably every year for a while there.
(Dutch and Home for the Holidays also each got a week in that November of Thanksgiving films, 2014, by the way.)

Then, there's Dan Aykroyd. Seen here recently in Dragnet. Briefly in Temple of Doom. And, in Trading Places. That's just the fixture movies. I also watched Ghostbusters during year one. Also watched Chaplin for this blog. And, I did some thirteen episodes of a podcast that was all about Into the Night (in which Dan Aykroyd has a small part).
(I don't think I'll be doing another official "recap" episode (click the recap keyword at the bottom of this post if you want to see the previous ones). So, if you want to find any of these entries, my advice is this: Google (and include the quotation marks) "groundhog day project" plus the title of the movie you're looking for (in quotes, as well, if you want to make things easy). Or find me online and I'll get you a direct link because I'm used to navigating this thing. 
I've had a fun time whenever someone or other announces some new movies by minutes podcast; I offer up in a reply on Facebook the link(s) to my entries about that movie. And most of the time, there are plenty of links.)
Stephanie Faracy--Heaven Can Wait.

Annette Bening--20th Century Women. And I just did an episode on my podcast Cock & Bull about Ruby Sparks.

Even Ian Michael Giatti, who plays the younger brother was in The Rescue, which I didn't watch for this blog, but I definitely mentioned in connection to Iron Eagle.

Get out of the family members in the film and the connections still continue.

Robert Prosky--The Natural, Outrageous Fortune (which I haven't actually gotten to yet but it's one of my out-of-chronological-order ones coming soon), Mrs. Doubtfire.

Nancy Lenehan--Adaptation, Also. she's in so much television that you'd probably recognize her as well. And, my mother was in a quilting group with her back in the late 80s, early 90s. Never met her myself, though.

Lewis Arquette--Big Business and Scream 2.

Britt Leach--The Last Starfighter, Silent Night, Deadly Night, and Baby Boom (another one that is still coming).

Director Howard Deutch--Pretty in Pink and Some Kind of Wonderful.

Writer John Hughes is an easy one with a lot of connections in this blog--Mr. Mom, Vacation, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, European Vacation, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Some Kind of Wonderful, Planes, Trains & Automobiles, Christmas Vacation, Home Alone, Dutch.

This is how it goes with all these old movies, and by 1988, I was already paying attention to stuff like this, noticing names in the credits. Even some not so obvious ones. They didn't work on The Great Outdoors, but the casting team of Jane Jenkins and Janet Hirshenson were familiar names in the opening titles.

Meanwhile, I'm saying nothing about The Great Outdoors, like complaining about the fucking raccoons and their useless scenes. Or complaining that the young love storyline never links into the main story. (Also, there is nothing to the older son character that links to him not wanting the bat killed; it's just a passing uselessness.)

Still, this movie is far better than the similarly themed Funny Farm, maybe because it doesn't build its plot around its gag and its antics. Rather, it builds its plot--which could use more meat on that backbone--through the antics. Roman keeps injuring or insulting Chet, rarely on purpose. From the lobster tails to the waterskiing to the bat to the ongoing investment thing Roman has going on; it's a building feud that needs a fight but then a dramatic, but peaceful, resolution. As I said yesterday, the stormy night and the bear attack...

I almost forgot:

Bart the Bear--only 12 Monkeys as far as this blog is concerned, but Bart was an animal that we recognized, and that's unique.

But back to complaints, because that seems to be my thing. Negativity is just easier to put into words sometimes, I think. Also, these films became familiar to me when I was a kid; of course I will see them differently watching them now.

My final complaint: like Funny Farm with the sheep balls things, Chet eating the 96er is just a passing gag, and the cut from the revelation that Chet has to eat the gristle and fat to the lot of them walking out of the restaurant is a cheap out.

But let us end on a positive. Roman's admission at the climax of the film is set up by one phone call much earlier, in the same scene where he wonders why his kids don't think better of him. That's good screenwriting.

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