The Great Outdoors (1988) Review

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The Great Outdoors (1988)

Directed by Howard Deutch

Written by John Hughes

Starring:
Dan Aykroyd
John Candy
Stephanie Faracy
Annette Bening
Robert Prosky
Chris Young
Ian Giatti
Hillary and Rebecca Gordon
Lucy Deakins
Bart the Bear

Running time: 91 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
John Candy plans to enjoy a nice vacation with his family but his annoying in-laws show up & ruin everything.

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My Opinion:

I watched this the other day just in case I needed to review it. Then the lovely Smash reviewed it for me (she’s awesomely hilarious so you should just go & read her review instead of mine. seriously – I suck). πŸ™‚ So I wasn’t going to review this. But then I remembered way back to December 2013…. You see, I started this blog at the end of 2012 & then kept a very anal list of EVERY movie I watched in 2013 (list HERE). Then, by December 2013, I suddenly went a bit mental & decided that I NEEDED to review every freaking one of those 2013 movies that I’d watched and I think I still had about 12 or so un-reviewed (that’s probably not a word). So I quickly cranked out 12 or so shitty reviews. So to save myself that same panic come December 2014, I better review this fucker now! (Yeah – I’ve started a 2014 list. Here it is! I’m already behind!)

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I’m glad Smash loved this movie. I can see why. It’s the type of movie where, if you saw it at the time and pretty much grew up with it, you’ll have fond memories of it. I did see it years ago but only once and I didn’t remember too much beyond the waterskiing scene. Having re-watched it again for the first time in years, I’m afraid to say that it hasn’t aged that well. To compare it to other Hughes movies, I’d say it especially hasn’t aged well compared to Planes, Trains & Automobiles or Uncle Buck, both of which I think many people would still enjoy today even if they’re watching them for the very first time. The Great Outdoors was 1988 but something about it makes it feel even older than that. I’d say that even the first two Vacation films feel a bit more “fresh” than this one. (Sorry – don’t hate me! It’s still a fun movie and, as I said, I can understand why some would be very fond of it).

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The characters: John Candy – loveable as always. Dan Aykroyd – fine. as Dan Aykroyd-y as always. The kids – fine, nothing special (but I did like how the twin girls were a bit like The Shining twins). The wives – fine. Annette Bening’s character was a little annoying. Umm… Oh! Lucy Deakins – She’s a cutie. I don’t know why she wasn’t in more stuff. Here’s an embarrassing confession (luckily, no one reads my reviews anyway. ha!) – I LOVE a little movie she was in called The Boy Who Could Fly. That movie ROCKS! And the boy in the title was played by Jay Underwood, who also played Bug in Uncle Buck with John Candy! There you go – six degrees of Kevin Bacon (who was in Planes, Trains & Automobiles with John Candy who was in The Great Outdoors with Annette Bening who is married to Warren Beatty who has had sex with most of Hollywood which will somehow also connect him to Kevin Bacon and where the fuck am I going with this?!).

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I’m tired. The Great Outdoors is dated but John Candy is in it and we all love him so who cares. The Vacation films are better. As is Planes, Trains & Automobiles. And Uncle Buck. And Home Alone. And all of the teen John Hughes movies. But it’s better than Baby’s Day Out!

My Rating: 6/10

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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. πŸ™‚

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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.