The Great Outdoors (1988)

DVD Cover (Universal)
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Overall Rating 63%
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Ranked #2,314
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Nostalgic about the good old days in the honeymoon cabin, the patriarch Chet and the Ripley family set off to the idyllic woods of Wisconsin for the summer vacation. However, their plans for a peaceful family bonding in the heart of the untamed nature will be thwarted, when the high-rolling brother-in-law Roman and the snotty Craig family decide to crash the party. Eventually, as the two families try to have a good time together, a seemingly endless series of misfortunes and mini-disasters with thirsty leeches, cunning racoons and a mythical wild bear, threaten to ruin the vacation. What will it take to salvage the weekend? --IMDb
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: April 20, 2007
When I was a kid, there was no film quite like "The Great Outdoors". It was my favorite film, hands down. I owned it on VHS and watched it all the time. John Candy and Dan Aykroyd became my heroes, and that film is still regarded amongst my favorite films ever made. What's not to love? It relies on the amazing comic timing of two of the best in the business, it features a fresh and original script dripping with 1980's sentimentality, and it has some of the most memorable comedic scenes of any film from that time period -- or any time period.

The film centers on Chet Ripley (John Candy) and his family, who travel to the North Woods for some R & R. They are a typical, happy family -- upper middle class, and able to rest easy in their stability. However, Chet's vacation is smashed to hell when his brother-in-law Roman (Dan Aykroyd) and his family drop in to join them on their trip. The rest of the film is really about the clashing of the two families and their impact on one another, unfolding in classic 1980's comedic style. By the end of the film, we are dealt with the climax of a great big bare assed bear on the rampage and a discovery that Roman is really only visiting because he is broke.

Let's count the scenes we love: (01) the scene where John Candy is telling the bear story and then tosses the alcohol into the fire and scares the shit out of everyone in the cabin; (02) the scenes where everyone poses for the picture with the old man only to discover that he passed away hours before; (03) the scene where they feed the bears when they're not supposed to feed the bears; (04) the scene where Roman is trimming his nose hairs; (05) the scene where John Candy embarks on the eating challenge -- is that enough? I could go on for pages and pages about how much I love this film and how amazing it really is.

They just don't make comedies like this anymore. John Candy and Dan Aykroyd had a natural chemistry together and it was dripping from every scene of the film. You really believed the bond they shared, and the rivalry and that is what made the film work. Candy is, as always, firing on all cylinders and just creates one of the most likable characters you couldn't imagine -- a normal guy who just wants to relax with his family. "The Great Outdoors" is my favorite comedy from the 1980's, and one of my favorite comedies of all-time. 10/10.
Tristan #1: Tristan - added August 9, 2009 at 9:02pm
Another Hughes classic. Aykroyd and Candy in top form. 9/10
Lucid Dreams #2: Lucid Dreams - added August 12, 2009 at 1:05pm
My wife didn't know who John Candy was! Our marriage almost ended right there. 10/10 I loved this movie growing up and I still do.
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