ABC Film Challenge – 80’s Movie – N – National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

Director: Jeremiah Chechik

Writer: John Hughes (Screenplay)

Starring: Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Juliette Lewis, Johnny Galecki, John Randolph, Diane Ladd


Plot: The Griswold family’s plans for a big family Christmas predictably turn into a big disaster.

Tagline – Yule crack up!

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: True American Christmas Film


Story: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation starts when Clark Griswold (Chase) has decided his family, Ellen (D’Angelo), Audrey (Lewis) and Rusty (Galecki) are going to host Christmas for the whole family this year, as per normal for Clark he goes through a series of mishaps as the family reacts to his action.

Clark will soon learn that hosting Christmas isn’t going to be as easy as he once thought as the series of unfortunate events seem to be piling up.


Thoughts on National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation


Characters – Clark is the ever-enthusiastic father, husband and son that wants to impress his family with his first Christmas as a complete family, this soon leads him to make a series of clumsy errors which only he could find himself in. Ellen is the ever-supportive wife of Clark that isn’t sure this will be a good idea, though she supports this decision through. Audrey and Rusty are the children that are seeing their father and his series of events, while we do get to see many of the family members through the year.

PerformancesChevy Chase was always the heart of the vacation movies, his performance shows a comic timing are perfect through the film, while the rest of the cast know how to let him get the most out of his moments.

StoryThe story follows the events of the Griswold’s as they look to celebrate their first Christmas in Clark’s household. This continues the idea of seeing the holidays that the family go on and how they go wrong, while teaching the lesson about supporting your family no matter how different they are, because family is what is important at the holiday time. This doesn’t do anything to that we don’t already know and we have seen many movies try to do this since and failed. This is the one that the Christmas time will call for seeing once a year, at Christmas.

ComedyThe comedy here shows us just how brilliant at timing Chevy Chase is, because nearly every laugh comes from him, we do also get the set-up laugh moments which pay off well through the film too.

SettingsThe film is set in the Gridwold household which shows us how everyone can come together for Christmas.

Scene of the Movie –
Squirrel chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The neighbours is almost pointless.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliant America Christmas movie that can be enjoyed by the whole family for years to come.


Overall: True Christmas classic.




Rings (2017)

ringsDirector: F Javier Gutierrez

Writer: David Loucka, Jacob Estes, Akiva Goldsman (Screenplay) Koji Suzuki (Novel)

Starring: Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki, Vincent D’Onofrio, Aimee Teegarden, Bonnie Morgan


Plot: A young woman finds herself on the receiving end of a terrifying curse that threatens to take her life in seven days.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: 30 Second Sigh


Story: Rings starts with the latest victim of the tape on a plane when his 7 days are due to be up and the plane crashes. 2 years later Gabriel (Galecki) buys the old video player only to find the tape inside and of course he decides to watch the tape and receives the phone call 7 days.

We go onto meet couple Julia (Lutz) and Holt (Roe) who must go their separate direction with Holt going off to college. When Holt goes missing and Julia receives her own strange phone call she heads to the college to figure out what is going on. What Julia discover is that Gabriel a professor as the university, has been working on unlocking the Samara mystery with the students which is forcing people to watch the tape and spreading the Samara curse through tapes.

When the network starts building Holt finds himself needing to find a solution within the next 12 hours or he will become the latest victim, all for a bigger picture of Gabriel trying to uncover proof of a sole. When Julia takes the curse for Holt it gives them a week to unlock the secrets but Julia’s tape plays something new and can’t be copied, which means the two must investigate the case once more.


Thoughts on Rings


Characters/PerformanceJulia and Holt are clearly two of the most pointless characters in the leading roles of this film, I feel this way because when it was Naomi Watts’ character she was a reporting and could understand how to investigate a case, these two are just random students. Gabriel on the other hand while coming off like a desperate scientist at least looks at the idea of this curse being a way to prove the existence of a sole after death which I do think adds something to this film, but I do think he should have been more of a asshole professor rather than a studying one.

Performance wise well Lutz and Roe do struggle to make an impact in their roles and Johnny Galecki really can’t shake the Leonard role from Big Bang Theory with this performance.stars

Story*Rant Warning* This story is getting ridiculous, we do have a ghost investigation style story but it is looking at a deeper idea to what was solved in the first films and now nothing makes any sense to what they left us. We have weak characters to follow on the story too. The only good thing in this story is the idea that a professor is trying to figure out how to capture a human sole after death and that gets forgotten quickly too.

HorrorWe get the disturbing video with extra images, yay. We also have endless amounts of bad jumps scares going on making this feel have no scare factor.

SettingsOnce we get to the island/town we look to investigate the mystery once more which doesn’t make sense in the way it should do.

Special EffectsWe have very basic special effects here with most just being well placed horrific attempted images.genre

Final ThoughtsWe have yet another sequel we didn’t need again, we have poor script, average at best acting and just a bad rehash of what was once great.


Overall: Something we didn’t need at all.




I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

logoDirector: Jim Gillespie

Writer: Kevin Williamson (Screenplay) Lois Duncan (Novel)

Starring: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Freddie Prinze Jr, Bridgette Wilson, Anne Heche, Johnny Galecki, Muse Watson


Plot: When four friends Julie (Hewitt), Helen (Gellar), Barry (Phillippe) and Ray (Prinze Jr) accidently run a stranger over they dump the body in the ocean. One year later upon Julie’s return to town she receives a letter say ‘I know what you did last summer’. Someone knows what they did but who?


After The Accident

After The Accident

Verdict: Slasher that has a good mystery about it

Story: This is one film that doesn’t follow the novel very well at all replacing suspense with hack and slash. The story turns into who done it? and for some unknown reason kills off people who had nothing to do with the accident. The way the main four are haunted comes off well, where the killer sends them messages in person, letter or symbols. In the boom of slasher films this stands well with them but in today’s cinema it comes off like a bit of a let-down. (7/10)


Actor Review: Jennifer Love Hewitt – Julie the good moral based character who wants to do the right thing but gets pressured into keeping quiet. Is the one who gets most haunted by the killer and has to survive and scream in the final battle. Jennifer does scream queen very well but doesn’t add enough to the smart solving the mystery side to her character. Babe Watch Award (7/10)


Actor Review: Sarah Michelle Gellar – The typical dumb blonde who dreams are unrealistic and after high school and ends up in a 9-5 job. Strong supporting role and but hide to see her as damsel in distress after Buffy The Vampire Slayer had started. (7/10)


Actor Review: Ryan Phillippe – Tough sports guy who is destining to become a bid name footballer only doesn’t after the incident. Is very good as the tough guy who is actually is very vulnerable plays the character very well. (8/10)


Actor Review: Freddie Prinze Jr – The poor guy of the group, has had to work for everything he has ever achieved and won’t be able to get out of the small town. Freddie is good in the role which would be considered his breakout role leading him to bigger and better role. Breakout Performance Award, Lesley Stud Muffin Award (8/10)


Director Review: Jim Gillespie – Puts together some suspense but not enough. This is the high point of the guy’s career which is saying he could have done a lot better with the material he had been given. (5/10)

Horror: Some good suspense and has to get some credit with the idea of trying to create an iconic weapon used in all the kills. (7/10)

The Killer

The Killer

Chemistry: The chemistry between the characters creates real friends of past and present. (8/10)

Believability: Urban Legend stuff (1/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Oscar Chances: No

Chances of Sequel: Has two sequels

Suggestion: Slasher fans will enjoy this and if you asked me for a horror film in the late 90s I would suggest this one, nowadays it has dated and with the new era of horror this can’t stand next to them for horror. (Late Night TV)


Best Part: The creation of the icon weapon.

Worst Part: Tries to offer different people to be the killer only to kill them off very quickly.

Trivia: Jennifer and Sarah actually audition for each other’s roles.

Similar Too: Scream


Overall: A simple slash lacking blood and gore.


Lesley’s Rating 85%

Rating 70

In Time (2011)

Director: Andrew Niccol

Writer: Andrew Niccol

Starring: Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy, Shyloh Oostwald, Johnny Galecki, Colin Mcgurk, Olivia Wilde, Matt Bomer,


Story In the not too distant future aging stops at 25 years. Once you hit 25 years old you are given one more year all the rest you have to earn. Our hero Will (Timberlake) works daily too earns enough money for himself and his mother Rachel (Wilde) to get by. One day after work Will goes for a casual drink with his friend Borel (Galecki), Will ends up saving Henry Hamilton (Bomer) who has a century of time clocked up.


The morning after Will wakes up to find Henry gone and that he know has all his time. Looking out the window he see Henry, as his time is about to run out. That evening Will is due to meet his mother only to miss that chance and his mothers time runs out. Unhappy with what happens Will goes to the rich part of town where he meets Sylvia (Seyfried) daughter of one of the wealthily men alive, even after Raymond (Murphy) comes to arrest Will for stealing time Sylvia is still interested in helping Will. Will and Sylvia escape from the police and go on a Bonnie and Clyde like journey of stealing time from the rich and giving it too the poor.


Verdict This sci-fi action thriller is filled with everything from car chases to a forbidden love. The way the rich have life easy compared to the people that make the basic things tick is a good comparison to real life. The whole stop aging at 25 is a good way to get a younger cast of good-looking stars, Timberlake, Seyfried, Wilde. Have Olivia Wilde playing Justin Timberlake mum is clever way of using this. Most fans of the sci-fi genre will enjoy this movie.


Story Mark 8/10 Good story with comparisons to real life


Action Mark 8/10 Solid but basic action scenes more into the avoiding conflict than causing it.


Character Development Mark 8/10 Learning about Will is done well, a little more on Sylvia and Raymond would have been nice touch.


Romantic Chemistry Mark 9/10 Will and Sylvia have a spark that drives their actions.


Star Performances Justin Timberlake looks like he has been acting for years.


Favourite Character Raymond old fashion cop in a modern environment.


Least Favourite Character Borel gets given time but wastes it.


Best Part Couple of time running out chase scenes


Worst Part It is basically Bonnie and Clyde in the sci-fi genre


Fun Trivia Even thought Olivia Wilde plays Justin Timberlake’s mum he is actually three years older than her.


My Rating 84%