It’s been a year since Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) was left home alone. A year since Harry Lime (Joe Pesci, Casino) and Marv Merchants (Daniel Stern, the voice of Kevin from The Wonder Years) tried to rob his home and they went to jail. And a year since Kevin’s parents, Kate (Catherine O’Hara, Best in Show) and Peter (John Heard, Cat People, The Seventh Sign) forgot that most basic of parenting skills: keeping track of your kids.
No one has learned anything.
The film was written by John Hughes (pretty much the majority of 80’s movies were, as well) and directed by Gremlins scribe Christopher Columbus. It was 1992’s biggest film, earning $359 million worldwide on a $20 million budget. $20 million? Where did all that money go? For all the pizza? Actually, Culkin got $4.5 million for this!
A funny note: During the filming, Culkin asked Joe Pesci why he never smiled. Pesci told him to shut up and said, “He’s pampered a lot by a lot of people, but not me, and I think he likes that.”
We start in Chicago the McCallister family is preparing for another big Christmas vacation. Kevin has no interest in going to Florida, as he feels like it has nothing to do with the holiday. And an incident at a school pageant leads to him going to the third floor of the house. So you know exactly what’s going to happen: everyone runs late, Kevin gets left behind and he ends up going to New York City all by himself.
Once Kevin gets there, he uses his cunning to trick the Plaza Hotel staff into getting his own room. I’d say Tim Curry (The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Shadow, Congo) deserves better than this, but his IMDB pages is replete with total pieces of shit. Throw in Dana Ivey (The Addams Family) and Rob Schneider (Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo and who the hell spent so much time to make such a well-written Wiki page for him?) and Kevin gets pretty much everything he dreamed of. A giant room and bed all to himself, a limo ride and the chance to watch a movie he’d not be allowed to watch, the sequel to Home Alone’s film within a film, Angels with Filthier Faces. In fact, now you can have the experience for yourself at the actual Plaza Hotel.
Personally, I can’t watch Kevin without comparing him to Henry Evans, Culkin’s character in The Good Son. He cons and swindles everyone in his path while having saccharine sweet moments with a homeless woman who has pigeons and Mr. Duncan, the owner of one of those toy stores that you just know are going to be boring, packed with old-timey wooden toys and educational games. Fuck that. Bring us the G.I. Joe’s forthwith, Mr. Duncan!
Of course, Harry and Marv have escaped from prison and instantly run into Kevin, as if synchronicity has constantly kept them interconnected. And Curry’s character takes a near-pathological glee in kicking a young child out into the cold streets of the city (but not before Kevin scares the entire staff with the iconic “Merry Christmas, you filthy animal!’ scene from his TV).
Certainly, it all works out. Kevin foils the gang’s robbery of the toy store. He gets reunited with his family. He establishes a lasting bond with the homeless woman. And everyone gets plenty of toys (and Kevin gets $967 worth of room service, which buys you two chocolate cakes, six chocolate mousses with chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream topped with M&Ms, chocolate sprinkles, cherries, nuts, marshmallows, caramel syrup, chocolate syrup, strawberry syrup, whipped cream, and bananas, six custard flans, a pastry cart, eight strawberry tarts, and thirty-six chocolate-covered strawberries).
Watching this movie 25 years after its release, one sees crass consumerism everywhere. Coke products are in nearly every scene (taking the place of Pepsi in the original), the Talkboy was created by Tiger Electronics just for the movie and American Airlines was a sponsor of the film.
In a post 9/11 world, it’s amazing to see people just walk up to the gate and Kevin being able to board planes at will with no real ID or boarding pass. And I haven’t gotten to the Donald Trump cameo! I’ll end up doing a week of movies our former President has been in, including Ghosts Can’t Do It, Two Weeks Notice, 54 and The Little Rascals.