The Great Outdoors (film)

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The Great Outdoors

Theatrical release poster
Directed byHoward Deutch
Produced byJohn Hughes
Arne Schmidt
Written byJohn Hughes
StarringDan Aykroyd
John Candy
Music byThomas Newman
CinematographyRic Waite
Editing bySeth Flaum
William D. Gordean
StudioHughes Entertainment
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date(s)June 17, 1988
Running time91 minutes
LanguageEnglish
Box office$43,455,230
 
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The Great Outdoors

Theatrical release poster
Directed byHoward Deutch
Produced byJohn Hughes
Arne Schmidt
Written byJohn Hughes
StarringDan Aykroyd
John Candy
Music byThomas Newman
CinematographyRic Waite
Editing bySeth Flaum
William D. Gordean
StudioHughes Entertainment
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date(s)June 17, 1988
Running time91 minutes
LanguageEnglish
Box office$43,455,230

The Great Outdoors is a 1988 American comedy film starring Dan Aykroyd and John Candy. Annette Bening and Stephanie Faracy co-star. Robert Prosky, Lucy Deakins and Lewis Arquette have supporting roles. The film was directed by Howard Deutch and written and produced by John Hughes.

Contents

Plot

Chicago area resident Chester "Chet" Ripley (John Candy), his wife, Connie (Stephanie Faracy), and their two sons, Buck (Chris Young) and Ben (Ian Giatti), are on vacation at a lake resort in Pechoggin, Wisconsin during the summer. Chet is a fun-loving father and husband looking for a get away for his family. All is going as planned when four unexpected visitors show up with a video camera in hand at the lake resort lodge.

Having decided not to vacation in Europe, Connie's sister, Kate (Annette Bening), Kate's know-it-all investment broker husband, Roman Craig (Dan Aykroyd), and their twin daughters, Mara (Rebecca Gordon) and Cara (Hilary Gordon), crash the vacation. (The girls never speak until near the end of the movie.)

Roman is a typical Mercedes driving (license-plate number ROMAN 1), investment focused, '80s yuppie. He and Kate live in the posh Chicago suburb of Oak Park. Roman seems to take pleasure in making sure others are well aware of his wealth and (supposed) expertise on many subjects.

Ghost stories at the family BBQ include one of a man-eating grizzly bear that Chet once met face-to-face earlier in his life. Chet says that while he and Connie were honeymooning at the same lake they're at now, he was attacked by a giant grizzly bear. Chet drove it away by firing a shotgun at it. The buckshot shaved the hair right off the top of the bear's head and from that day on, it was known as the 'Bald-Headed Bear' of Claire County.

Roman describes the remote northern woods location as "God's Country" and prefers speedboats over pontoon boats. After Roman pulls Chet around the lake on an impromptu water ski ride courtesy of his rented speedboat Suck My Wake, tensions between families erupt. Roman proceeds to get on Chet's nerves — so much so that Chet is ready to pack up and go home, even as teenager Buck tries to romance local girl, Cammie (Lucy Deakins).

Buck and Cammie's teen romance sparks at a local amusement park. The budding romance goes well until Buck's father, Chet, is challenged to eat the Old 96'er (a Paul Bunyan 96-ounce blue ox steak) at a family dinner which causes Buck to break the date. Buck tries to apologize to Cammie for being late, but Cammie refuses to speak with him.

Connie and Kate bond at a local bar when the conversation drifts to Kate's challenges of being wealthy. Later, just at the peak of tension between families, ironically, it emerges that Roman has made a bad investment and is broke. He hasn't told Kate and was planning to offer Chet a $25,000 'investment'. Roman describes how he hasn't traded on the floors in Chicago in two years. A deal that looked good came up but Roman couldn't meet his deadlines and ended up getting demoted to a runner. He now wears a blue jacket and fetches coffee which is the reason why he came to the Great Outdoors to hit up family man, Chet, for the cash.

Meanwhile, during a thunderstorm, the twins go missing and fall into a poorly blocked-off former mica mine shaft. Chet and Roman eventually find them, but the claustrophobic Roman is reluctant to descend into the tiny mine shaft. After some encouragement from Chet, Roman summons up all his courage to rescue the twins, while Chet goes in search of a rope to pull them out. Upon realizing that the mine is stocked with old dynamite, Roman takes his daughters and climbs out of the shaft on his own.

When Chet finally returns with the rope, he is horrified to discover the 'Bald-Headed Bear', which supposedly attacked Chet many years ago, lurking in the mine. It chases him back to the house, smashes through the door and rampages through the house. The cabin owner, startled out of sleep by the bear's fearsome roar, bursts into the house armed with a shotgun. Chet takes the gun and shoots the bear's rear end, exposing the bare flesh of its rump. The bear then runs out of the cabin, wailing in agony.

The next morning, the two families part on good terms, with both sharing how much they enjoyed their vacation together. Unbeknownst to Chet, however, Connie has invited Roman's family to stay with them until Roman can get back on his feet. In the meantime, Cammie and Buck make up and end their summer romance, as Buck and his family head back to the Chicago area in a race for the good parking spot in their garage.

After the credits, the rambunctious raccoons that have wreaked havoc at the lodge throughout the movie have the last word. They make fun of the bear friend who is "bald on both ends" now.


Cast

Filming locations

The Great Outdoors was shot on location in Bass Lake, California, a small resort town near Yosemite National Park over three weeks in October 1987.

Ducey's Bass Lake Lodge, a rustic 1940s resort in Bass Lake, was featured as Wally and Juanita’s Perk’s Pine Lodge. The Loon’s Nest vacation cabin, built as a set, was designed to match the style of Ducey’s existing cabins.

Reception

The Great Outdoors earned a mixed response from critics, where it currently holds a 40% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[1][2]

Box office

The film grossed $6,121,115 in its opening weekend and ended up with a domestic gross of $41,455,230, and a worldwide gross of $43,455,230.[3][4]

References

External links