National Lampoon’s Vacation Franchise

Just finished the movie series for National Lampoons Vacation from the original to the current version. Had I watched the new one without seeing the older ones I would probably have hated it. But since I watched them all in order I really enjoyed the Ed Helms one more than I expected. That being the case here are my rankings.

5. Christmas Vacation

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Christmas Vacation is a movie I tend to like more the closer it gets to Christmas and less the further away from Christmas. I watched this in January and I realized this movie isn’t about a vacation its’s about a holiday celebration involving family members who really don’t like each other.

 

4. Vacation 2015

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Vacation 2015 is a decent attempt to revive the beloved franchise but it doesn’t really work out. In staying with the series they do give us the 5th Audrey and Rusty and probably the 2 best ones since the original. Chris Hemsworth did, however, make me laugh out loud with this huge punchline.

3. Vegas Vacation

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Vegas Vacation is a fun ride through Las Vegas and it really made me want to go to Las Vegas when I first saw this movie. Rusty’s run of luck as Nick Papagorgio is some of my favorite scenes along with Ellen and Wayne Newton’s almost affair.

2. European Vacation

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European Vacation is the first Vacation movie that I got to watch over and over thanks to cable television. My friends and I watched this movie quite a few times. I even still quote the “Look kids, Big Ben, Parliment” line often, even though my family hates it when I do. This one could have easily been my favorite.

 

1. Vacation 1983

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Vacation is the one that let Chevy Chase loose on the movie world and made all of us teenage boys fall madly in love with Christy Brinkley. It made stars out of Anthony Michael Hall, John Candy, and Randy Quaid as well as Harold Ramis for writing and John Hughes for directing. It is really a ridiculous yet fun adventure. It makes me wish Wally World was a real place.

Mission Impossible Movie Franchise

Part of my goals for 2017 is to watch various movie franchises in order of release. So I made a long list and I am starting with shorter franchises with more than 3 movies and slowly working to the longer ones like James Bond etc.

I decided to watch the Mission Impossible series. I will begin by saying I am not a fan of Tom Cruise and put him alongside Johnny Depp as my least favorite movie stars. But all bias aside here’s my list from least to most favorite.

5. Mission impossible:

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This one had all the makings of a good movie. Espionage, double-crossing, intense stunts, Brian DePalma directing, big name cast. It could have been so good but the ending. Yikes! What a shitty ending.

4. Mission impossible 2:

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I liked this one a lot mainly because of John Woo directing (cue the doves) and stunts that at the time have never been done before. But it still didn’t feel like a Mission Impossible film yet. Closer than the first one 1 but not quite there.

3. Mission Impossible 3:

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This movie is where the change happened and the franchise seemed to have a direction. Phillip Seymour Hoffman (RIP) is so damn good in this one. And JJ Abrams seems to have a way of taking franchises into a new direction with greater heights. Not sure if it’s his vision or whatever but this movie finally felt like a spy movie.

2. Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol:

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It’s barely 2nd. More like 1a. I really like this movie and was captivated by the story start to finish. Lots of cool stunts, lots of double dealing and a really good story. I really enjoyed the addition of Jeremy Renner and Paula Patton. And the scene where the diamonds and plans get exchanged is a nail biter.

1. Mission Impossible 5: Rogue nation

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My take on franchise films is they should always get better over time. Not too many franchises are able to accomplish this But Mission Impossible does. This movie is a so good, it could have stood alone and launched the series. There are so many layers of spying and double cross it takes a bit to sort it all out. But it is still a great spy film loaded with some awesome stunts.

Rocky Balboa Movie Franchise

Recently I wanted to see the movie Creed which is the latest addition to the Rocky Balboa movie franchise. However, it had been far too many years away from the original story to remember what had happened. So I decided to sit down and watch all 7 movies in order of their release. Here is my personal ranking from least to most favorite.

7. Rocky 5:

The 2 movies after Rocky 4 were so unnecessary and I would be ok hearing the actors saying they did it for “fuck it money.” But Tommy Morrison was just such a horrible actor.

6. Rocky balboa:

A senior citizen boxer beating a young champion. Get the fuck out of here. Next.

5. Rocky 3:

When I was younger, this was my favorite because it merged professional wrestling and mainstream. Plus it had Mr. T so I pity the fool who disagreed with me.

4. Rocky 4:

Cold War was the backdrop but this was actually a really cool movie especially with the training montage and the opening number with James Brown. It was the equivalent of a Broadway musical disguised as a boxing film.

3. Creed:

Yes I know it was like the original, blah, blah, blah. But the original won an Oscar so why not copy it. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel and they didn’t. They just improved it.

2. Rocky 2:

This was so good because of the ring psychology and tactics Apollo used to get Rocky back into the ring for the rematch. It was everything the first movie was but with the ending the public truly craved.

1. Rocky:

Hard to go against the original for the simple fact that it made Stallone a true Hollywood Rocky story and also launched this franchise. Stallone did the smart thing in making this movie by surrounding himself with great actors who helped to elevate his craft. He totally slugged it out with heavyweights in the ring and on screen.

Rocky Statue at San Diego Hall of Champions Museum

To cap this all off I found out the was a rocky statue in one of the museums in downtown san diego and I legitimately got excited when I stood near it. And though rocky balboa isn’t a real life person his stories are still an important part of our pop culture.