The Great Outdoors (1988) Guest Review

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This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Smash of Smashing Through Life!. Thanks for being a part of this blogathon, Smash! Now let’s see what she thinks of The Great Outdoors. 🙂

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The Great Outdoors

This is a great movie. Straight up, I can’t put it any simpler than that. This is one of those movies that makes me feel all warm and gooey inside because of the overflowing childhood nostalgia that comes with every viewing. It’s the kind of movie I watched once and then loved it so much that I re-watched it hundreds of times over the course of my childhood. And I’ll probably watch it another couple hundred times in the years to come.

It’s summertime, and that means family vacation for the Ripleys. Chet Ripley is excited to take his wife and their two boys vacationing at a lake resort in Wisconsin for some much needed family bonding. Unfortunately for Chet, his sister-in-law and her obnoxious husband show up at the cottage unexpectedly and totally horn in on his vacation. And they’ve got their creepy twin girls in tow, too. Like all family vacations there are ups and downs, so a whole bunch of petty bickering accompanies all of the ooey gooey sappy family moments to even things out. But in the end, they all have an unforgettable summer together. I’m not going to waste too much time on plot because I’m sure most of you are familiar with this one, so that’s the gist of it.

There are so many memorable scenes in this movie:
– The raccoons raiding the garbage bins chattering to each other about how hotdogs are made up of lips and assholes
– The grizzly bears climbing all over the cars because Chet put out candy bars to attract them
– The water skiing scene, c’mon. It’s John Candy on water skiis. Who can resist that! “You bastard! You bastard!”
– The guy that gets struck by lightening so many times that he’s a stuttering mess
– The epic steak eating challenge at the local bar, old 96’er a 96 ounce steak… and he does it! He’s got the free t-shirt to show for it
– When the bat gets trapped in the cottage and the men have to try and catch it, all bundled up in homemade armour
– When the teenager rubs his pool cue unknowingly between a cute girl’s legs and somehow it leads to a passionate summer romance
– And who could forget, the bald-headed bear who eventually becomes a bald-assed bear

I mean, this is a really freaking memorable movie. Even that great dance sequence that plays to the tune of Wilson Pickett’s Land of a 1000 Dances during the end credits, man I love that shit. Because of that dance sequence, this is probably one of the only movies that I actually watch all the way through the end credits. And I dance along with it too, because I have to. The power of Aykroyd compels me.

John Candy is/was a Canadian National Treasure. I mean, who doesn’t love John Candy to pieces? Assholes, that’s who. And Dan Aykroyd ain’t no slouch either. The guy is a freaking Blues Brother after all (and also Canadian, might I remind you.) It’s a double whammy of comedic awesomeness from two of the best Canucks to ever make their mark on the silver screen.

The characters are all very relatable, the story moves along at that wonderful never-a-dull-moment pace, and the by the end of you almost feel like you’ve been on the vacation too. Overall, The Great Outdoors is a really fun viewing experience and has endless re-watchability. If you haven’t yet seen this movie, then pop it on one rainy hungover afternoon this coming summer. It’ll be the perfect way to spend your day, I promise.

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21 thoughts on “The Great Outdoors (1988) Guest Review

  1. Reblogged this on Smashing Through Life! and commented:
    Delighted to have taken part in the John Hughes Blogathon being run this month by Table 9 Mutant. She’s doing a wonderful job of spreading the Hughes love all over the internet. Go check it out, you’re going to love what you see.

  2. HA HA Smash!! Greatness!!! Reading this…. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this all the way through – not because I didn’t like it or anything – I just think I’ve never finished it. I’ll try and remedy that so we can dance together the next time we go to the discotheque.

  3. Quite right Smash! This was one of my favourite as a teenager and I just can’t say anything critical about this movie. I freaking love this one and was proud to put this as one of my top 3 Hughes movies.

  4. For many years of my childhood I considered this to be my favorite movie next to Back to the Future. Possibly up until Jurassic Park came out. But I’ve always hated the local girl, who is a complete bitch for all but 19 seconds. Now let’s go for a ride in Suck My Wake.

  5. Pingback: The Great Outdoors (1988) Review | Cinema Parrot Disco

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