A random rant about the “Home Alone” franchise
Over the past few days, I’ve had the unique experience of watching “Home Alone” and “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” many times over. AMC has shown them ad nauseum, over and over again to the point that I have them pretty much memorized. Seeing them so often back-to-back, I’ve realized a thing or two – and now I have many issues that are necessary to point out to create a deconstruction of the “Home Alone” universe:
Let’s get out of the way that there are, in fact, three “Home Alone” films…that take place after “Lost in New York”! Needless to say, I won’t be discussing any of them – but it’s interesting, and sad, to note that there are five films (and counting) in the franchise. For the purpose of this article, I will be bouncing back-and-forth between the two Macaulay Culkin-era films, so please try and keep up.
First and foremost, nearly every adult in these films is, without hyperbole, a truly awful human being. Not just the Wet/Sticky Bandits, but everyone else – from the clerks in every store Kevin goes to (who go out of their way to not just question this child, but believe his preposterous stories), the Santa Claus he visits (who isn’t at all concerned that this kid is by himself after Kevin TELLS HIM he doesn’t have his family anymore), police officers (in both Chicago and New York), EVERYONE who works for the Federal Aviation Administration (more on this later), the entire staff of the, at the time, 5-star Plaza Hotel (we’ll get to them too), and, of course, Kevin’s parents. The only adult who isn’t truly terrible at everything they do is the homeless pigeon lady – she can at least control the behavior of wild animals.
Yes, even Old Man Marley is terrible. I know he rescues Kevin (how he comes to learn of what happens is never explained) – but, after the scene when he rescues Kevin from potential CHILD MURDERERS he just lets him go home to his empty house, never informing the police as to the truth about what happened, nor that this 8 year old child is without proper adult care. At the very least, now that Kevin knows you’re not a creepy killer, can’t you let him stay at your house until you can get in touch with his family?
Now, you may be saying that at least his parents are good people because of their concern for Kevin, although just not the brightest people as they’ve lost him two consecutive years in a row. Are they though? Let’s address the first thing that we learn about them – that they’ve raised an entire family of absolute dickheads. The opening sequence in the first film shows that they have five children and every single one of them is awful and selfish. And his father, Peter, is the least capable father ever who doesn’t punish his children for anything and gives them literally whatever they want. Although, he does finally get mad about something – at the end of the second movie when he finds out that Kevin used his credit card to spend $967 on room service. He finds this out in his COMPED ROOM at the Plaza Hotel, where there’s a GIANT tree with FREE toys for his whole family (and his brother’s) that he didn’t have to spend one friggin’ dime on. All thanks to Kevin – the same Kevin who, if he didn’t use the credit card to spend $967 on room service, you never would have found him!
So let’s go to his mom – Kate – who will stop at nothing to reunite with and get her child home safe. She’s clearly the head of this household. This household that is ENTIRELY too lenient and forgiving with Buzz for causing a scene at the Christmas Pageant and ENTIRELY too hard on Kevin for sticking up for himself. It’s not his fault that that fat bastard Buzz created a perfect domino effect and knocked down every child in the choir. And what in the Christ is Buzz even doing in that choir?!? He’s far too old to be in the same children’s choir as Kevin. Nor would he even have the same vocal range as Kevin, so he shouldn’t even be in the same grouping.
The Plaza Hotel Staff – holy lord, where do we begin? How about with the fact that Kevin is able to make a reservation through the phone using the “slow” function on his TalkBoy WITHOUT GIVING A DATE OF ARRIVAL?!? How about the scene where they confront Kevin and he uses the movie dialogue to pretend he fires a gun at them in the hotel and no one ever JUST CALLS THE POLICE – even the guests in adjacent rooms who hear all the “gunfire” commotion and do the sensible thing – stick their heads out the doors.
Airline personnel – it’s hard to believe it now, but apparently in both 1990 and 1992 it was very easy to get on board a flight where you can pick any seat you want. It was also very easy to get on board a flight to one city with a ticket to ANOTHER CITY!
Speaking of flights, let’s go back to Kevin’s mom (who also doesn’t check on her kids once on the airborne flight to Florida). Since she’s clearly in charge of the family, why doesn’t she finally say to her husband what the whole planet is thinking: “why the fuck are we paying for Uncle Frank and his awful family’s vacation? Seriously, do we actually enjoy spending time with them?!?” For one, if that’s the entirety of the gift giving for the family, that’s fine, although no child in their right mind in 1992 would be happy with a non-Disney World Florida-destination vacation, unless they were also getting a Super Nintendo (on another note, why doesn’t Kevin or any of his siblings play video games?).
When they get to Florida – oh noes, it’s raining! But they get the call that Kevin’s in New York. So, naturally, they all go to New York. And, for some reason, Frank and his family too. Why? Frank has contributed exactly nothing to the search for Kevin and, more importantly, his vacation to Florida has return flights for him back home – why on Earth do they also get to go to New York? “Hey Frank, just because it’s raining at this same hotel where you randomly spent your honeymoon (weird), why don’t you just stay here because I don’t see why I should pay for your flight to New York too?”
My final issue with these films is Fuller. Kevin is kicked out of his room (for who?) in the first movie and has to share a bed with Fuller – a known bedwetter. WHY?!? What parents would ever do this to a child? Shouldn’t Fuller be sleeping with his parents, or in a sleeping bag? He has to share a bed with someone? How about in the second movie when his moronic father Frank tells him to “take it easy on the fluids – the rubber sheets are packed.” WHY?!? You pack the rubber sheets when he still has another night in the house that he has to sleep in? Your brother’s house and bed that he’s nice enough to let you stay in the night before your vacation that he paid for?
I’m exhausted – that’s all I can do for now. If there’s any I missed, please feel free to contribute them to this post – if there’s enough good ones (and there should be), we’ll do a follow-up in the new year.