Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, Catherine O’Hara, Tim Curry,
Director: Chris Columbus
Kevin McCallister finds himself left behind over Christmas again, but this year, he caught the wrong flight and ended up in New York. While his ingenuity gets him into the Plaza Hotel, his old enemies The Wet Bandits have broken out of prison and the hotel staff might have figured out his game.
What Is It?
Penned by John Hughes, who was was moving past his 80’s phase of teen films like Pretty In Pink, this film took child star Macaulay Culkin, who was also hot property, and added lots of familiar faces and a big city atmosphere. The first film was more about slapstick comedy, while this one uses the same idea, but allows Kevin to apply it to surviving New York, not just the bad guys. It’s the perfect “same but different” sequel, with a few more famous faces thrown into the mix.
Why Do I Love This One?
I think it’s probably the New York setting, the Plaza hotel, the toy store and the turtle doves Kevin shares with the bird lady. It’s fun, even as an adult, to think of running off and treating yourself to a luxury hotel visit in New York. But the clever (ok, unrealistic, but funny and clever) way that Kevin gets around the hotel staff is entertaining. Slapstick comedy really doesn’t get me much, so I think that’s why I don’t like the first one all that much. I find myself getting bored. I think this film feels more sweet and adventurous, and Kevin feels less obnoxious and more creative and kind.
Watching this now, I think how huge Macaulay Culkin was in this era. He was huge and he appeared to be in everything. And everything he was in was big. He’s a funny actor, kind of charming and a good performer, though he tends to play himself in this era a lot. But there’s always something about him behind the eyes that’s kind of flat.
Something I love about this film is that it does really capture that annoying thing about being a kid: that no one really listens to you. I love the way that Kevin’s older brother apologises in this film and it’s the fakest thing ever and the adults all buy it. I can remember times like this clearly, and even thinking, if I ran away from home they’d be sorry! Ha ha! I think these films really speak to that. (And there were about 5 of these films!) It’s great as a kid watching this to see Kevin take his life into his own hands and handle himself and life. And as an adult, it’s pretty funny too. Of course, special mention in this film goes to Tim Curry as the smarmy hotel employee who is onto Kevin. God, I love a Tim Curry performance so much.
“Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals.”