When Good Trips Go Bad or: Why You Should Just Stay Home!

articlecollageThe world recently limped into autumn after being consistently bludgeoned over the head by summer’s heat, humidity, and huge people wearing far too little clothing. I find those to be perfectly good reasons to stay inside my home watching movies and playing video games. Also it’s pretty difficult to get sunburned sitting on the couch (assuming you’re not one of my crazy neighbors that decorate their lawn with living room furniture. I know it almost never rains in southern California but really…).

For some, all of that isn’t convincing enough. Believe or not, people actually still go outside their doors to do things like sports, swimming and the staple of summertime: Road trips and vacations. History has proven the summer vacation to be a thing of disaster. Dragging the family along for a trip across the States, or on a flight to a foreign locale, can have monstrous consequences. The way is wrought with perils in the form of smelly and often vicious animals, wacky culture-clashing calamities, and senile old people (also often smelly and vicious).

Do you need a convincing argument to those who seek to drag you out of your comfy home to a world if misery in the guise of “having fun”?  Just show your friends and family this little list of vacation movies highlighting the tragedies that could befall you. It’s not that you’re a grumpy homebody; you’re  doing this because you care!

If you haven’t seen the movies on this list, be sure to skip them over because I’m unleashing a flood of spoilers here (also what is wrong with you? Go see these awesome movies!)

The Movie: National Lampoon’s Vacation griwold1

Absolutely no list of films showcasing the woes of traveling would be complete without the all-time classic, grandfather of all comical traveling movies.  Our first hilarious look at the white-bread suburbanite family the Griswolds made everyone feel a little better about not going on any family trips, and let those who did have some closure and the feeling that they’re not alone in their terrible memories.

What Went Down:

On the 2,000+-mile quest to the Walley World Theme Park in California from their home in Chicago, Clark Griswold and his family go through nothing less than an odyssey of the worst things that could befall a family on a trip. The Griswolds get lost in the ghetto (where their hubcaps are stolen and racial slurs sprayed onto their new vehicle), get hundreds of dollars stolen from them by some dishonest hillbilly car repairmen, and  they have their nasty old aunt die in their car when they give her a ride to Phoenix. It all reaches a crescendo of crap when Clark nearly gets himself incarcerated for holding up the park security guards in a mania induced upon finding out that Walley World is closed for repairs.

And The Award For Most Trauma-Inducing Incident Goes To:

Clark finding out that he left the dog tied to the bumper of the car when the family finished their picnic three miles back.

Lampoon Vacation
In Clark's defense, the moose had it coming.

The Movie: National Lampoon’s Vegas VacationVegas Vacation

You may call foul on my using two Griswold adventures for my list of summer vacations gone wrong. You may especially call foul that I’m putting such a lackluster movie on my list. You may do that but I’m using it anyway because I can.  Vegas Vacation has our same madcap Griswold family going through horrible misadventures that you can use to crush your loved ones’ dreams of a family outing, so it’s perfect for the list. Also I recently had my own horrible trip to Vegas that culminated in my car breaking down. TWICE. So this is cathartic for me.

What Went Down:

Because they didn’t learn their lesson the first time the Griswolds take a family trip to the City of Sin, where Clark once again proves his amazing power to suck at life. His family nearly falls apart as his daughter starts dancing at nightclubs , his underage son develops an addiction to gambling, he has to compete with Wayne Newton for his wife’s love, and the shmuck gambles away all of the family’s money.

And The Award For Most Trauma-Inducing Incident Goes To:

Clark again! He caused a leak in the friggin’ HOOVER DAM and subsequently got lost from his tour group to the point where he ended up having to scale the dam towers of power and then the dam itself to get back with everyone. The thought of doing any of that terrifies me enough to never want to visit a national monument. Ever.

...and this is enough to make me never want to eat again. Ever.
...and this is enough to make me never want to eat again. Ever.

The Movie: Tommy BoyTommy Boy poster

Oh Tommy Boy: The story of an ill-fated trip across the U.S. to save a family business. Tommy (Chris Farley) and Richard (David Spade) butt heads as two guys who never cared much for each other, but find themselves stuck together for thousands of miles trying to keep Tommy’s dad’s business from going under. Because it’s on this list, you just know that bad things are gonna happen to them.

What Went Down:

Tommy and Richard went through a lot trials of epic proportions to keep Ohio’s brake pad business alive. They suffered numerous indignations during sales pitches (the best/worst having to be when Tommy sets a guy’s desk on fire), Richard’s car suffered numerous dents, bangs, and amputations, and Tommy nearly choked himself with a life vest in front of an airplane full of people. Curious business methods, but it worked!

And The Award For Most Trauma-Inducing Incident Goes To:

Tommy and Richard finding out that they have a very angry, very NOT DEAD deer in their backseat.

Tommy Boy
He wears this expression for the entire movie

The Movie: The HangoverThe Hangover poster

While Hangover is the newest of all the movies on the list, just having been released this year, it’s still sure to become a classic bad trip movie (not THAT kind of trip you naughty person, you!).

A group of friends goes out to Vegas to have a bachelor party, which would seem pretty awesome and yet predictable at the same time. They get completely trashed and wake up the next morning with complete chaos around them. This movie is unique on the list as we aren’t watching the characters as they go through their trials. We instead backtrack with them as they desperately try to remember their insane night of drunken debauchery in order to find their friend and figure out just how a Bengal tiger, a baby and a couple of chickens end up in one’s hotel room.

What Went Down:

What DIDN’T go down? More crap and awesomeness happened to these two in one night than most people experience in a lifetime. This movie does everything to its characters, from “normal” incidents like marrying hookers, losing tons of money and ending up in the hospital, to not being able to find one of their friends, finding their mattress impaled on a statue outside, and having to return a Bengal tiger to Mike Tyson.

And The Award For Most Trauma-Inducing Incident Goes To:

Opening the trunk to find a very angry, very naked Asian mob boss inside.

No, no. You look great. Kind of...gangsta.
No, no. You look great. Kind of...gangsta.

The Movie: EurotripEurotrip poster

And here we have our “Guy’s ill-fated trip to get Some” entry. Usually that kind of thing makes me puke in my mouth, but Eurotrip just a fantastic, fun movie. This is the first movie my husband and I saw together as a married couple (actually it could have been Punisher, but let’s pretend that I’m sure it’s Eurotrip, for the sake of the article) and this film had us, and the entire theater, barely able to breathe we were laughing so hard. I’m gonna do a very watered-down plot rehash and just say that Scotty is dumped in a terrible way by his girlfriend and, after relating this awful incident, finds out that his German pen-pal is actually a beautiful woman who wants to meet with him to make him feel better. Scotty’s…compass…points him and his friends straight into a crazy trip across Europe to find the girl of his dreams.

What Went Down:

Some of the most hilarious, quotable incidents in history, my friend! In Paris Scotty and his best friend Cooper run into their fraternal twin friends Jenny and Jamie , who decide to accompany them. These four deal with a terrifyingly memorable Italian man on the train, have a disastrous trip to the local nude beach in France, lose Cooper for a night in a brutal BDSM club (run by Xena: Warrior Princess!), get lost all over Europe and finally end up setting the Pope’s hat on fire.

And The Award For Most Trauma-Inducing Incident Goes To:

This one is actually really difficult, as so very many terrible things happen to the group. Even so, I think that twins Jenny and Jamie getting completely wasted on absinthe (among other things) and making out with each other in a hallucinatory fit is a mental stain that would never, ever go away no matter how hard they scrubbed.

I'm very, very sorry about this. Okay no, I'm not.
I'm very, very sorry about this picture. Okay not really, I lied. I do that.

The Movie: Without A PaddleWithout A Paddle poster

Three lifelong friends ,Jerry (Lillard) Dan (Seth Green, yes!) and Tom (Dax Shepard), lose the fourth member of their group of childhood pals, Billy, to a para-sailing accident. After getting back together again at the funeral they decide to take a trip to find the famed D.B. Cooper’s treasure, a journey that Billy was always talking about as a child, in their friend’s honor.

What Went Down:

The city slicker trio nearly suffers death-by-rednecks, gets completely high running through a flaming field of marijuana owned by aforementioned rednecks, is nearly eaten by a bear, snuggled with each other while wearing soaking wet tightie whities…basically anything that you can imagine going wrong on a trip into the deep woods.

And The Award For Most Trauma-Inducing Incident Goes To:

Another toughie, as the guys make it to third base with Death multiple times in the movie. I’m going to just rely on my fear of waterfalls and dams again and go with them freefalling over that waterfall in the canoe.

Rednecks. It's always rednecks.
Rednecks. It's always rednecks.


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