Both Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost In New York remain classics as the two comedy films hold up in watching three decades later.
Let’s discuss the first film. After getting into a fight with his family, Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) wakes up to discover that he made his family disappear. Because of the wind and power outage, the rest of the family was already at the airport by the time he got up. You could never get away with leaving 45 minutes before your flight but let’s just go with it. The film gets into the appropriate drama when Peter and Kate McCallister (John Heard and Catherine O’Hara) realize that Kevin didn’t make the flight to France. For a while, the film switches focus between Kevin and Kate but it’s all focus on Kevin once Marv (Joe Pesci) and Harry (Daniel Stern) break into the home. Kevin gets an assist from their neighbor, Marley (Roberts Blossom), too.
It works because Macaulay Culkin is surrounded by some solid co-stars. There’s the post-SCTV Catherine O’Hara years before a younger generation would get to know her in Schitt’s Creek. Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern costar as the formidable Marv and Harry. Their villainy is why we have no problem with them getting injured. This is the complete opposite of what transpires in Home Sweet Home Alone. I will never not laugh at their misery. It goes without saying that the Angels with Filthy Souls bit is hysterical. The bit is even better during the sequel when Kevin plays Angels with Even Filthier Souls at The Plaza Hotel. But anyway, John Williams delivers yet another splendid score and the Academy awarded him with another well-earned nomination. You can never go wrong with frequent Home Alone viewings because the laughs never end!
And now to discuss the sequel. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York manages to up the stakes while Kevin has to fend for himself in a very different environment. There’s some major geographical issues but please don’t let that stop you from enjoying the film. No matter what bad things happen to Harry and Marv, the most laughs come with Angels with Even Filthier Souls at The Plaza Hotel. This time around, Mr. Hector (Tim Curry), Hester Stone (Dana Ivey), and Cedric (Rob Schneider) are on the receiving end. They have their own issues with Kevin and do whatever it takes to get rid of him.
Even though Kevin gets separated from his family again, the film gets sentimental in another way. His interactions with Mr. Duncan (Eddie Bracken) leads Kevin to break the window to stop Harry and Marv from stealing money intended for the children’s hospital. The grateful toy store owner later rewards Kevin in a meaningful way. Fun fact: Daniel Stern’s feature directorial debut, Rookie of the Year, would co-star Eddie Bracken as the Chicago Cubs owner Bob Carson.
I can forgive some of the geographical issues in Home Alone 2 because the slapstick comedy is hysterical. Having been to LaGuardia many times now, it is impossible to see a close view of Midtown Manhattan! It is impossible for Kevin McCallister to go from Duncan’s Toy Chest (The Rookery Building in Chicago but a stand-in for FAO Schwarz) near The Plaza Hotel all the way up to his uncle’s townhouse on W 95 Street (Brownstone Street in Universal Studios) in a quick amount of time. It’s about two miles to get from point A to point B. Furthermore, Rockefeller Center is on 49th Street so it wouldn’t be quick to get to the tree either.
Let’s talk about Pigeon Lady (Brenda Fricker) while we’re at it. I like how she fills the role played by Marley in the first film. But anyway, the Gapstow Bridge is in the southeastern corner of Central Park near E 62 Street so it makes sense that her bungalow is located in Carnegie Hall. However, we see Kevin meet her at the Inscope Arch when they stop the Sticky Bandits. There’s just one major problem: the bridge is on the other side of the park, not the Upper West Side! True New Yorkers might not be as forgivable with the geographical errors.
If there’s a part of the sequel that has not aged well, it’s the cameo of one disgraced Donald J. Trump. It would be best for the sequel if they find a way to cut the scene or digitally replace Trump with someone else. Disney, it isn’t too late!
These two films have seen repeated pandemic viewings because they provide comfort. I always turn to both of them during the times when I need laughs the most. And again, there are bits here that are fricking hysterical!
Oh yeah, it’s not an actual film but one created for the film! I was last summer years old when I made the discovery.
My entire childhood, I thought the old timey movie that Kevin watches in Home Alone (Angels With Filthy Souls) was actually an old movie.
— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) December 25, 2018
DIRECTOR: Chris Columbus
SCREENWRITER: John Hughes
CAST: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Heard, Roberts Blossom, and Catherine O’Hara
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
DIRECTOR: Chris Columbus
SCREENWRITER: John Hughes
CAST: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Heard, and Catherine O’Hara, Eddie Bracken, with Tim Curry and Brenda Fricker
20th Century Fox released Home Alone in theaters on November 16, 1990, and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York on November 20, 1992. Both films are currently streaming on Disney+ for now.
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