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.
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)