Tuesday, August 10, 2010
#48 - The Great Outdoors - 1988
The 6th movie I decided to watch this week was The Great Outdoors. This movie is easily one of my favorite movies ever!! I remember actually seeing this movie in the theaters in 1988 when I was only 11 years old. When I was younger we used to go to Yosemite and went camping at times so my family was very eager to see this film so I saw it from a very early age and have loved it ever since. Below is my detailed review.
John Candy star's as Chet Ripley, a dad who is taking his family on vacation in the great outdoors just like his dad did with him when he grew up. Dan Aykroyd plays Roman Craig, Chet's brother in law and in what was her film debut Annette Bening plays Kate Craig, Roman's wife. Both families have two kids. Chet has two boys and Roman has twin daughters. Robert Prosky played the role of Wally, the rental manager for the property Chet rented. With Candy and Aykroyd headlining a movie you have the basis for a great comedy and that's exactly what this was.
John Candy was always one of my favorite actors and Ill always remember the day I heard he passed away. It was right before I was about to take the field my junior year at Westminster High for a baseball game. I had heard someone in the stands say that he had died and it was so sad. He was in so many films I loved including Uncle Buck, Who's Harry Crumb, Summer Rental, Trains, Planes, and Automobiles, and of course this one, the Great Outdoors! Candy was a comedy icon in my mind and watching this film only brought back memories of how funny and talented this guy was. I wish we could have seen him in many more films as we all lost a great one when he passed away.
Speaking of acting Candy and Aykroyd they easily carried this film on their own. Now obviously you need the rest of the cast to fill out the family members, etc. but it was quite evident who made this film what it was. They did so jointly as they were both just as good as the other. They complimented each other so well throughout the film and their continual back and fourth battle against one another was pure entertainment in my book. Below Ill list some of my favorite scenes and warning, there will be a lot of them because like I said before this is one of my all time favorites so there are A LOT of scenes I loved in this film.
Lets start with the "talk" on the back porch of the rental cabin right after Roman arrives. Aykroyd's character Roman is on full display for us to see and we clearly visualize what type of guy he is. I think most of us could relate more with Chet Ripley in this seen especially when asked, "what do you see" by Roman and Chet responds, "I see tree's". Fast forward to the after dinner story time when Chet turns out the lights and turns up the drama while telling everyone a spooky story about a Bear which at the time everyone took to be a joke but was very much real later on as they would find out. Candy's dramatics and climax ending to the story was awesome as at the end he got "the look" from his wife. Almost as funny as Chet's story was Roman trying to comfort his daughters before they went to bed by telling them a very inappropriate story about a story he was told by his father when he was young. Roman's bluntness and complete disregard for common decency is on full display in this scene yet you cant help but laugh.
Next day they all go out on the speed boat and we are treated to one of the funniest scenes in the entire film. I could spend paragraphs detailing this next scene but Ill make it real simple. John Candy + Speed Boat + Water Skiing = laughing out loud uncontrollably. Yes it was that funny and yes it is something you have to see. The same could be said for the old 96er scene as well as this was one of my favorite scenes as well. Watching Candy tug and tug on Aykroyd jackets for help as he came near to finishing off the old 96er was classic. For anyone not familiar with the film the old 96er is a 96oz steak that if finished the whole families dinners are on the house. Yes Chet Ripley finished the steak, yes they got their free Paul Bunyan hats, and yes he got quite sick afterwards. This scene always makes me wonder, is that really possible to do? I doubt it but you never know with these Man vs Food shows on now!
Another very funny scene was when Chet took his youngest son to the Bear dump and got a little more than he bargained for. The quote "Yogi and Boo-Boo in the flesh" will always remind me of this scene. A shorter yet still satisfying scene was when the guys fell asleep in the boat only to be awakened with leeches on them. This however did not compare the the bat scene inside the cabin! Watching Aykroyd's face when he says "woooooaaoow" and seeing the two of them enter into the cabin to catch a bat in the middle of the night was hilarity on every level. At one point when Roman is calling the bat with a kissing sound Chet quips, "are you calling him or kissing him"? The entire scene where they are decked out with baskets on their heads and hoodies pulled over their faces all while holding tennis rackets and brooms was just so damn funny to me. Never did I think trying to catch a bat would be so comical!
Finally who could forget the final scenes of the film with the cave, the chase, and the bear. After realizing his daughters are missing Roman seeks help from Chet as they head to the cave area that the daughters frequented earlier in the film and with it raining like cats and dogs Roman goes down to get the girls and while Chet goes to get rope to haul them up what he doesn't realize is that Roman actually crawled up himself and already got the girls safely out of there so when Chet returned with rope in hand Roman and the girls were gone, but he didn't know that. What he also did not know was that the Bear that had terrorized him back when he was originally on his honeymoon was down there and when he went to help up whom he thought was Roman and the girls he was actually helping the bear up out of the cave. A frantic chase through the woods ensued which I later found out was really Candy being chased by a real grizzly bear, scary huh? After he arrives back home the bear barges into the home and wreaks havoc on the family and again Aykroyd's facial expression steals the scene this time when the bear stands up and over him. If you've seen the movie you know the expression I am speaking of, if you haven't you have to see it to get the full understanding of how funny it was. The entire scene with Candy yelling out "big bear, big bear chase, big bear chase me" was hilarious! This would have been a great ending to a great film but it got even better. Let me just say this. Dance scene finale with Dan Aykroyd singing and dancing...............priceless!
Now I haven't mentioned much about the outdoor scenes or setting of this film but it was very scenic. The film was shot at Bass Lake, California right outside Yosemite and the entire movie was filmed there and in its small town. This is a very beautiful and gorgeous setting for the film and it was perfect for this film considering all the outdoor scenes it had. The cabin used in this film is actually on display at Universal Studios Hollywood as part of the Tram Tour ride right at the end after the War of the Worlds display. Its one thing I always look forward to while on the tram tour. So all in all this movie was great and like I said one of my favorites of all time so it should be no surprise that this one gets an A+!