One of my recurring blog topics will be “The Importance of…” These posts will cover things that have significance in the grand scheme of things, not just personally. And since it’s the Christmas season, though since moving to San Diego, I have no freaking clue what season it is, I think it’s time to look at a holiday classic: Home Alone 2.
That’s right. Lost in New York.
Home Alone, the original 1990 John Hughes film, is officially a classic. There’s no argument. It’s funny, charming, heart-warming, and a great time. I really do love it.
Here’s the thing – among Millennials (a term I’ve grown to despise, so when I come up with a new one, you’ll know), Home Alone 2 is not only as loved as the original, but often preferred. Older or snobby film critics might not get it. And, speaking on behalf of my generation, I’d like to point out that yes, Home Alone is the better film, critically-speaking. BUT — Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is damn hilarious. Tim Curry’s quivering lip, Marv turning into a skeleton when he’s electrocuted. Come on.
Home Alone 2 follows every basic joke structure in the book. Triples (paint can expectations), slow burns (Katherine O’Hara’s realization that Kevin wasn’t on the plane), and call-backs galore:
Marv’s remark: “Kids are a-scared of the park.”
Kevin’s mom & dad missing their alarm: “We did it again. AAAAAHHHHH!”
Angels with Even Filthier Souls, and the repeated usage.
Just to name a few.
This works in its favor. It uses these set-ups brilliantly, defying not only Harry and Marv’s expectations from their last encounter with Kevin, but ours. We simultaneously feel like we’re in on the joke and completely fooled. It’s a perfect equation to keep the movie fun without getting off track or trying too hard.
And of course, I have my own personal bias. Home Alone 2 is a family favorite. When my cousin, Kimmie, was maybe 4, she would watch Home Alone 2 over and over. Her dad, to this day, uses the term “Crowbars up,” before getting started on work. The best thing was Kimmie actually mimicked Marv after he gets hit by the bricks: “Harry? Haaaarrrrrryyyy?” in her high, little voice; it was the cutest thing I’d ever seen.
She also referred to them as Harry and Marf, which is what we still call them today.
But it’s more than just family. This is a connection point with Cory and most friends who are my age. We get it.
My only real issue with the second one is the pigeon lady. She’s most definitely a carbon copy (call-back?) of the scary neighbor in 1, and though I do like the Turtle Doves story, that whole arch kind of slows down the rest of the movie. Because, let’s face it, we wanna see more of Kevin screwing with Tim Curry and Rob Schneider and Harry and Marv getting destroyed.
Ultimately, Home Alone 2 never tries to be something it’s not, and that’s why it wins as a sequel. I’m a firm believer in taking things as they are — kind of like the Jules Dessert theory. You can’t expect Jell-O to be creme brulee and there’s nothing wrong with liking Jell-O as long as you know what it is: Jell-O.
And it works.
Lost in NY is not a critical darling. But if you don’t laugh as Marv and Harry lean against the door, wondering what the sound is…. then maybe you’re a little less Mr. Duncan and a little more Buzz.
Honestly, which one do you HAVE to stop and watch?