Making the Grades
George Piper (Daniel Stern) decides his non-communicative family needs a way to bond. In an inspirational moment while filling his gas tank, George is convinced he should lease a huge motor home and take his family on a three-week vacation. But his two children, and wife Bess (Julie Hagerty) are anything but excited -- especially when Dad reveals his plans to trace the travels of his Civil War hero ancestor Jeremiah Piper.
After George pleads, "This is our last summer to be together before Rachel leaves home," Bess agrees to rally with her husband to convince the children the trip will be fun. Their twelve-year-old son only requires an attitude adjustment, but Rachel is fretting over missing her boyfriend -- a mid-twenties guy with no job (or razor). With the necessary "parents begging the children to cooperate" scenes over with, the Pipers get in their huge RV and head for the road.
Any road movie demands that we meet colorful characters along the way. Dad has already packed Jeremiah's ghost along for the ride (yes, he sees and converses with Jeremiah frequently), so that means Bess will need some company. Enter a heart surgeon who likes to play survival games on weekends. For some reason his survival instincts lead him to the full service laundry at the campsite where the Pipers were staying. By the washer he finds Bess, who is just about to be bitten by a poisonous snake. With the doctor sucking the venom out of her leg, Bess wrestles with her feelings toward the stranger. Could it be love at first bite?
Rachel is also intrigued -- but by the doctor's son. Meanwhile, oblivious that each member of his family is going their own way, George pursues his Civil War travels, only to uncover an unexpected family secret.
Originally made for television, this video had an idea that could have been funny, but became merely ridiculous instead. Despite doing everything possible to destroy their family relationships, the Pipers come together for an amazing happy ending. (Now that's Disney magic.) Maybe it was better with the commercials...
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Tourist Trap.
Can family vacations improve relationships between family members? What items are essential for a good family holiday? What items are essential for strong family ties?