You Dumb Kid: National Lampoon’s European Vacation


There are some things you see as a kid that become a skewed fact that actually turns out not to be true at all, like your dad is the tallest guy in the world or your step-uncle is a fantastic kisser. This also applies to movies, where some detail sticks out for you and you turn it into a false assumption.

National Lampoon’s European Vacation (1985)

I’ll make this one brief since it’s extra dumb and merely remembering that I used to think this has caused me to check myself into the tallest mental facility I can find so I can jump off their roof.

European Vacation is kind of bleh. It’s nowhere near the classic the first Vacation is, and really just seems like they decided to make a movie in Europe and would figure the rest out as they went along, only insisting that there was a kidnapping by swarthy Italians. In the plus column, I remember my first time seeing that German girl topless and thinking, “Wow, boobs, I can get into that…” I was 27 at the time.

Exactly, Rusty.

Exactly, Rusty.

Anyway, my dumb part comes when the Griswolds are on a train and they all realize they can’t stand each other’s company. Ellen is loudly reading the newspaper, Audrey is loudly chewing gum, Clark is loudly playing with an ashtray and Rusty is loudly singing along to a Walkman the size of a hardcover edition of The Bible. It is the Walkman that is the center of my shame. As Rusty is singing along, Clark is getting increasingly agitated and desperately tries to turn off the Walkman, yet can’t figure out how (even though he could have just taken it from Rusty I guess). Rusty keeps singing the entire time, and as Clark finally gives up, Rusty nonchalantly sings, “It’s me.” The way he says it and the timing led me to believe that he fooled Clark and there was no power source to be turned off, because RUSTY WAS POWERING IT HIMSELF. Somehow. Like he meant, “No, there are no batteries, no off button. The power of the Walkman lies within me.”  It makes no sense why I thought that. There was no other indication in the movie that Rusty was a sorcerer (except bagging that German chick).

(The part I’m referring to is at 1:44)

26 thoughts on “You Dumb Kid: National Lampoon’s European Vacation

  1. Oh, Brian. I always go into these posts thinking “I’ve probably made this mistake too”.
    But this one is pretty bad. Let’s chalk it up to the fact that the German boobies temporarily impaired your capability for comprehension.


  2. I went to see Night of the Creeps at a midnight showing a couple of years ago and some drunk guy yelled “Hey Rustaay!” when Jason Lively first appeared on screen. I thought that was funny, but unfair, as Night of the Creeps is a better movie to be remembered for.


  3. LOL This one made me chuckle, I too remember the “boobs” and my thought was ‘wow, how come that never happened to me as a teenager?” Train scene was good though, I just spent all my time wondering why the kids were different!


  4. The thought of Ellen in a home sex video made me like this movie despite not one good punchline in the whole flick! And this was way before Hollywood starlets decided it was a good way to get publicity!


  5. hahah. a great scene from a classic. But I’d agree, Christmas Vacation is a good bit better. Still I had forgotten about this part, thanks for bringing it back.


  6. Does the depth of talent in the Lively family know no bounds!? I mean Jason, Robyn, Eric, and Blake – American treasures.

    By the way Brian. You shouldn’t joke about The Bible. I once received a copy for Christmas and it changed my life…


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  8. Man, those German boobs changed my life too……at age 12, first time seeing them on the “big screen”……I’m almost 40 now, a complete virgin (the “40-Year-Old Virgin”, anyone?), unfortunately have yet to become a “man” so to speak……and still waiting and longing to meet someone who’s willing to show me her “boobs”…..or ANY part of her nude for that matter…….luckily there’s ALWAYS porn, EVERYWHERE………:(


  9. I absolutely love this movie, probably because I watched it so many times as a kid. That boob scene used to freak me out and I would close my eyes, I thought I was watching something really, really dirty. LOL. Remember when he throws his beret off the Eiffel tower… Le Rusty…. 🙂 Funny post!


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