Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Merry New York Christmas

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
Director: Chris Columbus
Cast: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, Catherine O'Hara, John Heard, Brenda Fricker, Tim Curry, Rob Schneider
Released: November 20, 1992

You're probably wondering why I'm reviewing this movie and not the original. Well, it's because I already reviewed Home Alone back in 2011. I did watch it before I saw this one, so I will occasionally go back to that one. I remember seeing this movie in the theater and being so excited because I loved the first one so much. While this movie is very enjoyable, the first one is still the best. This one follows the exact same formula as the first one.

The film begins, much like the first one, with Kevin getting in trouble because of Buzz provoking him. Can I just say how much I hate Buzz? I can totally relate with Kevin because I also grew up with an older, provoking brother! I always thought how it was totally unfair in the first movie that Kevin was the only one who got in trouble for pushing Buzz and all the drinks spilled over everything, but Buzz should have gotten in trouble too! He was the one who started it when he pretended to puke up the pizzas. But nothing happened to him! And then when they're in Paris and his sister says, "Aren't you worried about Kevin?",  Buzz says "No, A,  I'm not that lucky" like he wanted something horrible to happened to his brother. In this movie, he messes with Kevin during a Christmas school pageant. (Which doesn't make any sense that they would be at the same school pageant because Kevin is in elementary school and I'm pretty sure Buzz is in high school). Everyone is laughing except his parents and I just loved how Uncle Frank was laughing the loudest AND pointing. Uncle Frank is the worst, but that was pretty funny. Kevin punches Buzz and everyone falls off the stands. At least in this movie, Buzz apologizes although it's insincere and Kevin refuses to apologize in return. In fact, he has a few harsh words for all of them and he calls Uncle Frank a "cheapskate" which was hilarious and deserved. And true. 

There's something in this movie that doesn't quite add up. At least three times, they refer to the events of the first movie happening "last year". In the first movie, Kevin says he is eight. In this movie, he says he is ten. Wait, what? How is that possible?

Despite the title, he is NOT home alone, but instead gets on the wrong plane. The McCallisters are flying to Florida for the Christmas holiday. Kevin is whining he doesn't want to go to a tropical location and there are no Christmas trees there. The family wakes up late, AGAIN, and are all rushing through the airport in a mad dash to make the flight on time. Kevin has this toy, and for some reason, he needs batteries RIGHT NOW for it. Seriously, kid, you can't wait until you get on the plane? He grabs his Dad's bag and starts looking through it while running after everyone. When he does see batteries, he stops in the middle of the very crowded O'Hare airport to put them in his recorder toy. He follows a man who he thinks is his dad because he's wearing the same coat and bumps into a ticket taker and all the tickets fall on the ground and she just lets him on the plane. I mean, it's not like a little kid could be a terrorist! Dollface with his blond hair and cable knit sweaters would never torture anyone! Never! Well, this was before 9/ we will soon be reminded. Don't they usually have marquees signs saying the destination for each terminal? I'm just saying. 

Before they board the plane to Miami, Kate wants to make sure everyone is there, but the stewardesses are rushing her on and telling her they'll make sure everyone makes it. How would they know how many people are in her party and if somebody is missing? If I were her, I would also want to make sure all my children were there and got on the plane, sheesh! And I'm sure they would hold the plane for her to page Kevin when she noticed he was missing...although it might be too late at that time as he's already boarded his flight to New York. He has no idea he's going to the wrong city because he puts on his headphones when a stewardess announces their destination. 

Kevin lands in New York and soon realizes he's not in Miami and says, "My family's in Florida...and I'm in New York!" It does not flow as smoothly as the much more iconic line, "I made my family disappear!" We get a montage of Kevin doing touristy things. This includes going to Chinatown and buying fireworks (what is it with this kid and fireworks?) and going to the top of the World Trade Center. I always forget people could go up to the observation decks and that just terrifies me. He was the only one up there that day which seems a little....odd. And a little eerie. He has his Polaroid camera which he's been taking photos with all day. What a '90s child! 

Speaking of '90s children, if you were one, most likely you had the Talk Boy or you knew somebody who did. The Talk Boy is the recorder toy Kevin has in this movie. He puts a cassette in it and can record himself (or other people) talking and play it back in different modes. This wasn't a real toy when the movie was released, but it became so popular that it was made into a toy for the public. I didn't have one myself, but a friend of mine had one and we would play with it. To be honest, while it was fun for like, the first five minutes, it quickly became pretty boring. Today's child would think this toy lame...and they would be right! It's probably a lot more exciting if you're using it like Kevin does. He records a message asking for a suite at the Plaza hotel and plays it over the phone in this slow-downed voice so it sounds like an adult talking. Well, it's SUPPOSE to sound like an adult is talking, but it sounds so weird! No person on Earth would ever think that was an actual human being talking and not a freaking recording! I do love the "Credit card? You got it!" line. Fun fact: that is Chris Columbus's wife in this scene: 

Somehow, it works and Kevin is able to check in the Plaza hotel, telling the hotel staff his dad is at business meetings and they probably won't be seeing a lot of him. The hotel staff, which includes Tim Curry as a concierge and Rob Schneider as a bellboy, become very suspicious of him. Kevin uses his Dad's credit card to his advantage and pays for limos and room service. Can you imagine if he didn't have any money? He would be so f***ed! It makes me wonder how his family in Florida was paying for everything. We know Uncle Frank is a cheapskate! Hopefully Kate had her own money. Also, it's a good thing Kevin did have the credit card because that's how they were able to track him down. That would be pretty terrifying if you didn't know where your child was. At least in the first movie, they knew he was at home.

Guess who else happens to be in New York the same time as Kevin? The Wet Bandits! Except now they're called the Sticky Bandits. They escaped from prison during a riot and decided to come to New York to start their next heist. It takes a very long time before they are "reunited" (that might not be the best word!) with Kevin. We first see them crossing the street from opposite sides with a bunch of people around them and Harry bumps into Kevin and he looks back, thinking he saw someone familiar, but nothing becomes of it. It's not until fifty minutes into the movie before they're finally aware of each other. Harry and Marv are standing a few feet behind Kevin, who is waiting at the crosswalk. They can't even see his face and his hair is covered by a hat. He is wearing a backpack that says "K. McCallister" and that's how they know it's him. But...did they even know his name from the first movie? I guess they did know that was the McCallister house they were robbing, but it's not like McCallister is a super uncommon name. There are a lot of McCallisters out there. Oh, well, I'm probably over thinking this way too much! Kevin screams and runs away from them. He goes back to the hotel, but he also has to run away from the employees because they've just discovered he's using a stolen credit card.

He goes to Central Park where he ends up meeting the Pigeon Lady, played by Brenda Fricker. She's such an afterthought to this movie that they didn't even bother giving her a name! Just like with Old Man Marley, Kevin was scared of her at first, but then they become friends. I found her relationship with Kevin to be really weird. Yes, she is suppose to be the Old Man Marley of this movie, and yes, she does save Kevin's life in the end, but she's this homeless lady who lives in Central Park and Kevin just invites her to join him for a hot chocolate and she takes him up to the rafters of Lincoln Center where they listen to a symphony. At least with Old Man Marley, Kevin has his heart to heart with him in a church that's brightly lit and there are plenty of witnesses around. Homeless Bird Lady tells Kevin she was once in love with a man, but then he stopped loving her and she never loved anyone again because she was afraid of her heart being broken, and therefore keeps away from people. She also has no job or no home. I thought the movie missed a great opportunity and Kevin should have taken her back to Chicago and set her up with Old Man Marley. But the whole thing was so weird with this ten-year-old kid attempting to give someone more than three times his age love advice! Brenda Fricker is great, but I wasn't a fan of this character. It didn't work for me like Old Man Marley does in the original.

The Sticky Bandits are going to rob from the super awesome toy store Kevin had visited and he knows he has to stop them because the money they will be taking is suppose to be going to the children's hospital. In this movie, he uses his uncle's apartment that's being renovated. I won't lie; I really missed the McCallister house, but I understand why they changed the location. If you thought the booby traps were bad in the first movie, they're downright torture devices in this movie! They should have killed Marv and Harry at least five times over. With the first film, I feel like, while very painful, I don't think any of the traps would have killed them....well, maybe the paint cans to the skull would...or at the very least it should have knocked them out cold. This movie starts its funhouse of horror with Kevin throwing four bricks from the roof at Marv. FOUR! I kinda feel that would kill somebody. The fact he didn't even get his nose broken is a miracle in itself. Marv even gets electrocuted at one point and we see his skeleton! Harry gets his head set on fire (again!) and douses it in a toilet bowl Kevin has filled with kerosene and there's a huge explosion. Both of them should be dead by now! I do like the nice touches of Marv cautiously walking up the steps, thinking they might be icy (they aren't) and Harry patting the door knobs to make sure they're not hot and quickly moving out of the way every time he would pull on a string to turn on a light. Obviously, Marv must have told him how he got the iron smashed in his face from the first time. We also have the old paint cans to the noggins again, except this time Harry and Marv try to trick Kevin as Kevin can't see them from the angle he's throwing the paints cans. They pretend to be hit and cry out in pain. I'm guessing Kevin had to know they were tricking him because he didn't hear the sound of metal crashing against skulls and that's probably why he has the lead pipe ready to take a swing at them. How does a ten-year-old kid lift a lead pipe? And how does a ten-year-old kid lift a 100 pound bag of concrete mix to the roof (which eventually falls on Marv after he pulls on a rope)?

Kevin is eventually caught by them when he slips on ice and they take him into Central Park and are about ready to shoot him, but Pigeon Lady and her pigeons save the day and Kevin escapes and the police arrest the Sticky Bandits. Kevin is reunited with his mom at the Christmas tree at Rockerfeller Center because she knew he would most likely be there. While it's a very nice scene, it didn't get me like the reunion the two of them have in the first movie. Whenever I watch Home Alone, I always get a little choked up during that scene. I think it's really cute how he's pretending to still be mad at her, but can't contain his joy at seeing his mom and runs to hug her. The entire McCallister family, who are also in New York, wake up the next morning the the Plaza hotel suite to a heaps of presents given to them by Mr. Duncan, the man who owns the toy store that almost got robbed by the Sticky Bandits. He thanks Kevin by giving him and his family all these presents. I would like to point out that Fuller is wearing dinosaur pajamas which makes me wonder if he was the "friend" Kevin was talking about in the first movie when he tells Old Man Marley that he had a friend who got "nailed" for wearing dinosaur pajamas.

Kevin goes outside on this cold, snowy Christmas Day where he gives Pigeon Lady a turtle dove ornament. You see, when he donated twenty bucks for the children's hospital, Mr. Duncan let him choose an ornament. He suggested Kevin choose the two turtle doves so he could keep one and give the other to a special friend. So he gives it to Pigeon Lady so they'll be "friends forever" and they hug and that's it. Seriously, kid? You're just giving this homeless lady a freaking tree ornament? What the hell is she going to do with a tree ornament? Why don't you invite her to your hotel suite and let her take a shower and give her a hot meal? Maybe you can even let her stay the night! God knows your family can afford it! Also, maybe setting her up with Old Man Marley isn't an option...but why not introduce her to Mr. Duncan and he can let her work at his toy store. I'm sure he needs people at the cash register or someone to stock the shelves! At least Old Man Marley had a house and was reunited with his son and granddaughter! This lady only gets a damn tree ornament!

Like the first movie, John Williams gives us a great score and the song, "All Alone on Christmas" sung by Darlene Love is playing during the montage of Kevin doing touristy New York things. This song is so good and catchy and it rivals Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas is You" in terms of its Christmas-y goodness and joyfulness. And for some reason, at least where I live, they never play it on the radio during the holidays! I don't get it! It's so good! And the song "Somewhere in My Memory" from the first movie is really good and very Christmas-y too and they never play that on the radio either! I posted this on my Facebook, but if you didn't see it or are coming across this review from somewhere else, someone made this awesome Christmas movie montage using "All Alone On Christmas":


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