DID YOU READ

A Definitive Ranking of Every Kid From the Vacation Movies

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The Vacation movies have their share of running jokes, be it Clark’s adulterous fantasies or Cousin Eddie’s many disgusting physical ailments. But one thing that remains consistent throughout the films is the maddening inconsistency of the young actors who play Griswold kids Rusty and Audrey and their many bizarre cousins.

Not only do the actors change from film to film — the characters’ ages flucuate as well. (Rusty goes from pre-teen to teen and back to being a kid over the course of three movies.) Do the Vacation movies exist in some sort of perpetual time loop? Does the entire franchise take place in Clark’s head, a fever dream of a perfect family vacation where his kids never fully grow up? Or can the frequent cast changes be chalked up to the whims of whatever screenwriter is in charge of the franchise at the time?

Whatever the reason, the Vacation movies have given us a plethora of young actors of varying quality. Before you watch the first Vacation movie on IFC, take a look at our definitive ranking of every kid from the long-running franchise.

12. Rusty #2 (Jason Lively), European Vacation

For the second Vacation outing, Rusty went from a wisecracking kid to a horny teenager straight out of a generic Porky‘s rip-off. He’s quite possibly the single most annoying character in the entire Vacation franchise, which is quite a feat. He’s even lame in his own dream sequence, where he wears a ridiculous white suit with his name written on the back. (Fun fact: Jason Lively comes from an acting brood — his brother Eric was on The L Word and his sisters are Robin “Teen Witch” Lively and the most famous family member, Blake Lively.)


11. Rocky (Cody Burger), Christmas Vacation 

Cousin Dale, Eddie’s son from Vacation who talks about his dad’s “asteroids,” has suddenly been replaced by young Rocky by the time Christmas Vacation rolls around. Only Rocky doesn’t say a word during the entire movie. (Considering that Eddie is his dad, he’s likely traumatized.) Still, he has a pretty sweet mullet, which gives mute lil’ Rocky an edge over Rusty #2.


10. Audrey #2 (Dana Hill), European Vacation

Audrey’s body issues are a source of constant ridicule in the lackluster Vacation sequel. (She’s basically the Meg Griffin of the series.) When she’s not having horribly offensive fantasies about being stuffed with French pastries, Second Audrey is ignoring the European sights and whining about missing her lunkhead boyfriend. She’s basically every teenage girl stereotype in one grating package.


9. Audrey #4 (Marisol Nichols), Vegas Vacation

Like the sequel that she appears in, Nichols (24) is pretty forgettable. Again, Audrey’s age here is a problem. If Audrey was 15 or 16 in 1989’s Christmas Vacation, that would put her in her mid-twenties by the time 1997’s Vegas Vacation came out. But somehow she’s back to being 16 again. Clearly Clark has some sort of de-aging machine that keeps his kids from being too old to be dragged on wacky family vacations. 


8. Rusty #4 (Ethan Embry), Vegas Vacation

Embry would go on to play likeable goofballs in films like Can’t Hardly Wait and Sweet Home Alabama. But here he’s stuck playing another variation on “horny Rusty.” Only this time he goes by the smooth alter ego “Nick Papagiorgio.”


7. Cousin Vicki #1 (Jane Krakowski), Vacation 

We can’t help but see hints of Jenna Maroney in Krakowski’s big screen debut as Cousin Eddie’s oldest daughter. We also can’t help but cringe now at the line about how daddy says she’s the best French kisser in her class.


6. Cousin Vicki #2 (Shae D’Lyn), Vegas Vacation

With a father like Eddie, it’s no wonder that Vicki grew up to be a stripper who shows Audrey the Vegas nightlife.

5. Ruby Sue (Ellen Hamilton Latzen), Christmas Vacation

On the scale of precocious kids from John Hughes movies, Ruby Sue falls somewhere between Curly Sue and Gaby Hoffman’s character from Uncle Buck — cute in a ragamuffin sort of way, but mostly forgettable. (Ruby Sue turns up again in Vegas Vacation, naturally played by a different young actor.)


4. Original Audrey (Dana Barron), Vacation and Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure

Barron gets points for being the original Audrey and also for being the only Griswold kid to reprise her role. Granted, she came back as the grown-up Dana in the unwatchable TV movie Christmas Vacation sequel.


3. Audrey #3 (Juliette Lewis), Christmas Vacation

Juliette Lewis scored one of her first movie roles as the easily embarrassed teenage Audrey in Christmas Vacation. Lewis nicely underplays the role, making her easily the least annoying Audrey in the franchise.


2. Original Rusty (Anthony Michael Hall), Vacation

Anthony Michael Hall’s rising fame (he opted for Weird Science instead of the Vacation sequel) led to the Griswold kids getting recast for each subsequent installment. But that doesn’t explain their fluctuating ages.


1. Rusty #3 (Johnny Galecki), Christmas Vacation

The future Big Bang Theory star gets the nod for best — and least irritating — Griswold kid. His deadpan reactions to pop Clark prove that young Galecki had comedic chops even before his breakthrough role on Roseanne.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.

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It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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