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VIDEO: The Great Outdoors (1988)

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In this episode, David tries to shake off the cold weather (and a head cold) by looking at the classic summer vacation comedy The Great Outdoors starring Dan Aykroyd and John Candy. This episode includes a brief look at the careers of Aykroyd and Candy, along with legendary writer-producer-director John Hughes, who wrote the screenplay.

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  • Thomas Stockel

    Good stuff. Back in the day when me and my friends went to see a movie every Friday night (there was no internet back then.) we saw this and…yeah, not overly impressed. It had it’s moments but I think you summed up pretty well what went wrong.

    I liked the background information you provided; I had no idea John Hughes had been so prolific. I mean, I knew he was involved in a lot of movies, but Jesus Christ…!

  • Muthsarah

    Yeah, it’s not a terribly good movie: simple, formulaic, mostly lowbrow, but it’s a servicable, fun movie. The 1980s were full of these things. And they had good people in them; if you like the stars, you’ll probably like the movie. I’m going to go ahead and disagree with you a bit on one thing: I think Ackroyd was fantastic in this. The script has very few jokes or even set-pieces written, and I think Ackroyd milked it for all he could get. He was equally loathsome and, in the end, understandable and sympathetic. His material in Ghostbusters was infinitely better, but I think he gives a better performance here.

    But yeah, the movie lacked focus something fierce. Not just the older son and the girl, but even the bear seemed pointless, like they felt the family drama could only conclude with them uniting against a borderline ridiculous threat. There was plenty of conflict right there with Chet and Roman, especially once the ladies joined in (because, as usual, they mostly just sit there, though nowhere near as nothing…fully as movie wives do now). Spice that up with the raccoons providing the best laughs in the movie, and maybe even give them a run-in with the family in the end, and you’d have a wonderful, yet relateable Lampoon-style family disaster flick.

  • Cristiona

    I wonder if the “romantic” “sub-plot” was shoe-horned in by studio meddling.

  • edharris1178

    Nice to see I’m not the only one who enjoys this one. It’s just harmless fun.