Are Funny Movies Universal?

For Christmas, my family watched the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation which according to wiki is labeled a modern Christmas classic. If you haven’t’ seen this movie, it is completely silly and ridiculous. It’s an easy watch-and-laugh movie not a humorously witty movie. While watching it, my German husband made comments the entire time about how ridiculous the movie was and not at all laughable. We heard grunts and frustrated half-whispered comments at the most audaciously satirized moments. He missed the point of what flavor of humor was being represented in the movie. One has to have an open mind to be able to understand the humor of different cultures. However, appreciating that humor is another story!

My husband does have an open mind, one of the many great things I love about him, and while he did understand the humor in the Lampoon movie, he doesn’t appreciate such humor. I myself have often suffered through many classic movies while living in Germany and currently. The humorous ones are especially hard to literally translate and the essence of the humor might not translate or take too long as well, which disrupts the timing.

Crazy fun little Santa House

I think it is important to watch classic movies from other cultures, even if you don’t enjoy or appreciate them as fully because to understand another culture, one must totally engage that culture.

One way of engaging is to watch and read classics of that culture. The perfect example of how this was useful, when we packed our family in the car to go look at Christmas lights. We drove by this one home called the Santa House, and in front of their home they had a sign that read, “Lights by Clark W Griswold The III.” Everyone in the car started laughing including my husband.
I turned to him and said, “oh good that you watched National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation with us so you could share in that understanding, laugh with us and now you will get even more jokes and quotes at Christmas time.”

Some of my favorite taglines from the movie:
LOTTA SAP in here. Looks great! Little full, Lotta sap!!
Hurry up, Clark. I’m freezing my baguettes off.
Would it be indecent to ask the grandparents to stay at a hotel?
I don’t know what to say, except it’s Christmas and we’re all in misery.
Pull it over there with the others, Greazeball.

Do you feel certain humor translates across all cultures? Which?
What classic or popular Christmas movies did your family watch over Christmas? Over New Year’s Eve?
If you haven’t seen this classic movie, check it out here, and more, National Lampoon’s Vacation Collection

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