Christmas Vacation

  • Directors: Jeremiah Chechik
  • Producers: John Hughes, Matty Simmons
  • Writers: John Hughes
  • Genres: Comedy
  • Actors: Chevy Chase, Beverly D Angelo, Juliette Lewis, Randy Quaid, Johnny Galecki, John Randolph, Diane Ladd

The movie begins with Clark taking his family on the search for a perfect Christmas tree. After aggravating nearby motorists, getting stuck under a big rig, and walking in the woods for a long time, Clark finally finds said tree. (He digs the tree out himself because he forgot the saw.) Clark breaks several windows and gets covered in tree sap setting it up, as it barely fits in the yard, let alone the living room.

While shopping for gifts at a downtown Chicago department store, Clark meets a saleswoman named Mary (Nicolette Scorsese). He makes a series of Freudian slips to her on their first encounter, and later fantasizes about her skinny-dipping in his future pool (interrupted by his cousin in law’s daughter).

Clark has been working on a project at his firm which he expects will bring in a good Christmas bonus. Clark plans to use the bonus to put in a swimming pool, which he has already laid down a $7,500 deposit on.

As Christmas approaches, the many members of Clark’s extended family begin arriving to stay with him. Clark’s and Ellen’s parents are the first to arrive. This drives him to go set up the lighting on the house with his son Rusty. He covers nearly every inch of the home’s exterior and yard with lights (according to Clark himself, a grand total of 25,000 Christmas lights). Clark becomes very frustrated after many attempts to get the lights working. Unknown to him, the electricity wasn’t on to begin with. When Ellen heads to the back store room to get something, she clicks a light switch, lighting the house (and causing the power plant to switch to nuclear generators for backup power), and blinding their unfriendly yuppie neighbors. After the lights are up and running, Ellen’s cousin-in-law and cousin, Eddie and Catherine, along with their children show up to stay with him for a month, with their dilapidated, rusty RV parked in the driveway the whole time. Stifling his disappointment at their surprise arrival proves difficult for Clark. However, Clark and Ellen are concerned about Eddie’s children, as they won’t have many, if any gifts, for Christmas, due to Eddie’s seven year unemployment. Later on, Clark treats Rusty, Eddie, Catherine and others to a sledding trip. Clark then adds a sheeting of a “Non-Choloric, Silicon-Based Kitchen Lubricent that his company had made, but results in the chemichal compound to shoot Clark about 800mph and for abot 1 mile, leading to Clark becoming severly injured.

Uncle Lewis’s cigar ignites the gas from the sewage Eddie had earlier dumped down the street drain while emptying the holding tank on his RV, blasting a Santa ornament into the sky. Everyone watches the strange but touching sight, as Clark realizes his dream of the perfect, albeit weird, family Christmas.

Whip It

  • Directors: Drew Barrymore
  • Producers: Barry Mendel, Drew Barrymore
  • Writers: Shauna Cross
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama
  • Actors: Ellen Page, Marcia Gay Harden, Kristen Wiig, Drew Barrymore, Juliette Lewis, Jimmy Fallon, Daniel Stern

Bliss Cavendar (Ellen Page) is a misfit in her small town, Bodeen, in Texas and has no idea where her life is going. She allows her mother to push her into winning beauty pageant after beauty pageant, despite having no interest in it herself. She and her friend Pash (Alia Shawkat) dream of escaping their small town, with Pash planning to go to an Ivy League School in a big city and Bliss hoping to find something that will help her figure out where she belongs. During a shopping trip to Austin she finds it — roller derby. She and Pash secretly go to the Roller Derby event in Austin under the pretense of going to a football game. Bliss only wishes to tell the Hurl Scouts that they are “her new heroes” and is suddenly thrown into the idea of being in Roller Derby herself when Maggie Mayhem (Kristen Wiig) replies “Well, put some skates on and be your own hero”. She practices roller skating until she’s ready for trials. She’s able to go to the trials in Austin under the premise of taking SAT preparation classes and ends up impressing Razor, the coach, landing herself a place in the team. After realising she needs to be ruthless in Roller Derby she realises she also needs to take charge in other aspects of her life and her parents and old friends are eventually able to accept that Roller Derby is where she belongs, even if only for “the moment”. [2]

From Dusk Till Dawn

  • Directors: Robert Rodriguez
  • Producers: Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, Lawrence Bender
  • Writers: Story, Robert Kurtzman, Screenplay, Quentin Tarantino
  • Genres: Action, Horror, Thriller
  • Actors: George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, Quentin Tarantino, Juliette Lewis, Ernest Liu, Fred Williamson, Tom Savini, Cheech Marin, Salma Hayek

Fugitive bank robbers and brothers Seth (George Clooney) and Richie Gecko (Quentin Tarantino) are fleeing the F.B.I. and Texas police. During the first few minutes of the film, they hold up and then destroy a liquor store and kill the clerk, a cop and a witness. They then take a hostage, whom Richie later rapes and murders (offscreen).

The Fuller family — Jacob (Harvey Keitel), the father and a pastor who is experiencing a crisis of faith; his son Scott (Ernest Liu); and daughter Kate (Juliette Lewis) — are on a vacation in their RV. They stop at a motel and are promptly kidnapped by the Geckos, who force the Fullers to smuggle them past the Mexican border. Seth and Jacob make an uneasy truce: if the Geckos can make it past the border, Jacob and his family will come out of the ordeal unharmed. They succeed and arrive at the “Titty Twister”, a strip club in the middle of a desolate part of Mexico, where the Geckos will be met by their contact Carlos (Cheech Marin) at dawn. The Geckos demand that the Fullers have a drink with them before leaving, despite Kate’s obvious discomfort.

Soon after entering the club, chaos ensues as the employees and strippers are all revealed to be vampires. Most of the patrons are quickly killed, and Richie is bitten by the star stripper, Santanico Pandemonium (Salma Hayek), and bleeds to death. Only Seth, Jacob, Kate, Scott, a biker named Sex Machine (Tom Savini) and Frost (Fred Williamson), a Vietnam War veteran, survive the attack. The slain patrons — including Richie — then come back to life as vampires, forcing Seth to kill his own brother.

Kate asks Seth if she can go with him, but he rebuffs her. She (in the RV) and Seth (with Carlos) go their separate ways after Seth gives Kate some cash. As they leave, the camera pans back to reveal that the “Titty Twister” was actually the top of a buried ancient Aztec temple, presumably the home of vampires for centuries, and that hundreds of trucks and bikes have been toppled down the side of the cliff.