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Vacation

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Cousin Dale, Eddie’s son from Vacation who talks about his dad’s “asteroids,” has suddenly been replaced by young Rocky by the time Christmas Vacation rolls around.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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Final Countdown

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

Uncle-Buck

Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…