Why Christmas in New York is my dream vacation.
I’m opening this with a picture that I feel explains why this movie is one of my favourite Christmas movies of all time. When I was a kid watching this movie I think this scene did me in. I mean seriously, look at that tree! But I digress before I even begin. Let me actually defend why this is in my top 10 and most definitely above Home Alone.
Don’t get me wrong, I also love Home Alone. The fantasy of finally having your alone time before inevitably missing people (after you party it up of course) got me deep, even from a very early age. I think we all feel for Kevin in both movies. Seeing it from his perspective, of course his family seems a little unreasonable.
Specifically Home Alone 2: Lost in New York opens with Kevin McCallister’s (Macaulay Culkin) older brother Buzz ruining his choir solo with his stupid big brother antics. See below:
Also followed by air-drumming and general Tom Foolery.
When Kevin retaliates emotionally and pushes Buzz over, not without merit in my opinion, he accidentally dominoes the entire choir off their risers. Does that suck? Yes. Did he react rashly? Sure. But he is a kid after all. I for one don’t think the socially acceptable yet clearly fake apology Buzz gives should be accepted while Kevin is punished for not wanting to apologize at all for something that really was not his fault. I may still be a petulant child inside… However, we do see some growth in Kevin as this time he wakes up in the morning fairly chipper despite the events of the night before and actually makes it to the airport with them.
The confusion begins when Kevin is distracted putting batteries in his Talk Boy (as previously mentioned in this blog, invented for and by this movie). This is an excellent plot device in my opinion because not only does it give a rational reason why Kevin gets confused by which middle aged dude in the generic overcoat to follow, but it also is the reason he is able to survive on his own in New York in the lap of luxury, as the batteries were in his father’s bag…with his wallet.
The plot device that seems most far-fetched is how Kevin ends up on a plane to New York that he doesn’t have a ticket for. He runs into the flight attendant at the gate and all tickets she is holding plus his fall into a pile. All Kevin then needs to do is point out generic over-coat man from behind and with no confirmation from an actual adult, he is allowed to board. I guess that was life in a pre-9/11 America.
The President-Elect then makes an 8 second appearance in the movie because he is a famous New York
rich guy – feel free to fast forward
As the plot unfolds Kevin secures himself a suite at the Plaza Hotel, befriends a kindly homeless women with lots of pigeons as friends and tricks the now ‘sticky bandits’ into falling into his trap once again. To be honest the basic plot of the movie is the same. He has to trick adults, this time the incomparable Tim Curry and Rob Schneider into thinking there is an actual parent around, help a kind but feared stranger to find happiness with others and save something precious from Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern – this time the greatest toy store of all time, Duncan’s Toy Chest.
The toy store is donating all their proceeds from Christmas Eve to sick children and when the Beavis and Butthead of the Home Alone world let their plot to steal it slip to Kevin, he must stop them! Apparently with crazy traps that would likely kill people. I mean seriously kill or at least permanently maim.
Honestly, even as an adult I want to go to this toy store.
This place looks truly magical…magic clearly costs a fortune.
Home Alone 2 does only have a rating of 6.6 on the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) vs. its predecessor’s 7.5. Again, while I do love the original, Home Alone 2 offers the same antics and basic plot, which may make it unoriginal, but also just as good then when you think of it. What is the first movie is lacking? New York.
I have never been to New York, so perhaps all the sheen still exists for me, but what could be more magical than Christmas in New York. Scroll up and look at the tree in Rockefeller Center again if you don’t believe me. There’s also Central Park, where you meet lonely but lovely bird women. Then of course there are only 1 or 2 moments in the film that show the darker truth of New York. A prostitute offers to read Kevin a bedtime story in very creepy way. But then he realizes he has to stop being scared and save Christmas so it’s all okay!
Small aside, the actress that plays the prostitute has a feature in the wonderful documentary Craigslist Joe. I highly recommend it, and don’t judge that recommendation on my strange love for Home Alone 2.
The blond is Fran McGee, or Streetwalker #2. See her true story in Craigslist Joe.
At the end of the day, both movies are pretty much the same, but Home Alone 2 will always be my favourite for its New York setting and very noticeable lack of tarantula. But whichever Home Alone you choose, please make sure you don’t ‘try this at home’. This is literally how people die. You can’t electrocute people and throw bricks at them from 3 stories up and have them walk away the same as they were before. You just can’t people!
Final redeeming quality of the movie? Tim Curry’s haunting Grinch smile.
Okay so I re-watched the scene and it’s not exactly ‘haunting’ as an adult…but great juxtaposition!
What did you think of the second installment of the franchise? Any other second movies that you like better than the first? Let us know in the comments!