Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
Directed by Chris Columbus
I need to tread very delicately over this next entry because I have come very close to losing a lot of friendships over my opinions on this film and the one that preceded it. On second thought, forget it, I fucking hate Home Alone and Home Alone 2. Admittedly I said that just to see if I still had your attention, so I wouldn’t say that statement signifies the entirety of complicated emotions that these films inspire. That is the reason why I am including this film (and I guess, by association the first one) on my 365 list; I wish to point out what happens when a film doesn’t grow up with you. Don’t get me wrong; I loved Home Alone just as much as the next kid in 1990. The child-hood fantasy of getting the house all to yourself, coupled with the kid-power-friendly annihilation of two nefarious burglars (all with home-made booby traps no less) was completely irresistible to me. Next up was Home Alone 2 and the filmmakers pulled off quite a clever ruse in delivering the exact same movie dressed up like the city of New York. They even have the resourceful Kevin McAllister find an apartment in the middle of renovation just to spring more booby-traps on the (apparently) amnesiac, (definitely) moronic criminals. Then I spent another ten to fifteen years watching and re-watching the movies on video and something clicked along the way. The “Old Man Marley” subplot always bugged me in Home Alone. I never understood why it was necessary. Is it to prove that you shouldn’t judge people, no matter how scary they look, or what rumors you’ve heard about them? That’s all well and good, except for the fact that it rings totally false when you consider the movie spends the last thirty minutes pummeling two hapless, small-time burglars into a near death stupor. Shouldn’t Kevin have instead welcomed Harry and Marv into his house with open arms and seek conference with them on why they have chosen a life of crime? The same thing happens in Home Alone 2 when Kevin meets the Bird Lady of central park. Only this time it’s somehow even more offensive. A good portion of the narrative is dedicated to Kevin learning about her life, about the pain she experienced because of certain choices she made. The filmmakers are asking us (again) to look past the surface and see the true nature of people. Why then, at the rousing finale of the film, does Kevin merely wave to her from his penthouse at the plaza hotel? Shouldn’t the Christmas spirit have compelled him to, I don’t know, fucking invite her upstairs instead of banishing her to the bitter cold of Central Park? This is a long-winded way of saying that these movies are complete and utter horseshit. They want to pluck our heart-strings by a mother and son reuniting while laughing uproariously at two men getting shot, stabbed, set on fire, crushed from above, and left for dead by a sadistic ten-year-old. Then again, the movie made 800 billion dollars so what the hell do I know. And to be perfectly honest, I watch the fucking thing every time it’s on TV at Christmas. Don’t listen to me. Gremlins 2 still kicks its ass as far as childhood memories of New York on film go. We all have those, right?