I don’t think my uncle showing me the cinematic classic The Great Outdoors at the tender age of six was a good idea. The off-color jokes likely went over my head, but it was a movie that stayed in the forefront of my mind for the next 24 years.
Simply put, the movie has vibes.
The most popular movie of all-time? Most definitely not. Some even considered it a flop, but if I took the advice of every movie critic and Rotten Tomatoes review out there, I’d be just another corporate butthead who didn’t get to enjoy the likes of romantic comedy heavyweights Paris Can Wait (44% on Rotten Tomatoes) and You’ve Got Mail (69% on Rotten Tomatoes).
The Great Outdoors, though. That, friends, is a movie. If you aren’t already all-in or have never allowed your eyes to be graced with it’s perfect cinematic structure, enjoy the following.
First, let’s enjoy the trailer.
Cabins? Bears? Lakes? Roman’s power slick? Are you kidding me? It has everything every autumn jaunt commands and deserves. You could even make the case that this film could’ve been taped in Seely Lake, Montana where my sister had her wedding last year. And let me tell ya, it was a vibey autumn wedding to say the least.
I mean, just look at that Patagonia Snap-T combined with that lake and horizon. It’s a modern day marvel that clearly drew inspiration from The Great Outdoors.
But don’t let just the trailer convince you. Let’s watch Roman chat about being a corporate whore.
Sure, he wants to rip down every natural forest we have left solely so he can buy a Jeep Wagoneer he can tote his dogs around in. But can you blame him? Jeep Wagoneers and bird dogs are as fall as it fucking gets.
And for Roman to have that entire conversation all while smoking a Black & Mild while drinking a tall whiskey drink on the porch? Sheer autumn perfection.
That is, until you see his dance scene that ends the film. Set to Wilson Pickett’s classic “Land of 1,000 Dances,” it’s widely considered to be the greatest scene ever filmed. If they gave out Academy Awards solely for cabin restaurant dance scenes, this would obviously win every year.
If that doesn’t make you want to find a northern dive bar built from an old log cabin that only has a whiskey and beer selection to choose from, then I don’t know what will. Not only does Roman own the entire bar, he uses a beer bottle as a microphone, kisses other people’s wives, and pretends to use a random woman’s leg as a piece of chicken on the bone. Meanwhile, we’re all sitting on our phones refreshing our Instagram likes hoping the night will somehow turn into a legendary one. Nope. Need to be more like Roman.
I know, I know – “How does this have anything to do with the actual outdoors?” you ask. Frankly, it doesn’t. This has everything to do with the sole reason six-year-old me liked the movie in the first place: the vibes.
Nothing compares to packing up the car and heading up to a small vacation spot where you know you’ll spend the next three days wearing old clothes you’ve found in the cabin closet, drinking beers named after fish starting at 10 a.m., and hoping you don’t get stranded on the lake in a canoe that barely even floats.
My best memories are from nights that started with one simple question: “Hey, should we go to the cabin?” Hypothetical, of course.
Time and time again, if you put yourself next to a body of water and cover your body in layers, the fall vibes just seem to fall into place. .