Home Alone 2 Lost In New York : Classic Cinema
I recently re-watched ‘Home Alone 2: Lost in New York’ because I had previously erased it from my memory. Well, let me tell you : it was actually pretty great.
This film is the sequel to the critically acclaimed ‘Home Alone’ and judging by the title, I was fully expecting more of the same “home alone” hijinks. What I didn’t expect was that the title would be so misleading because at no point is Macaulay Culkin ever left “home alone” and while he does (spoiler alert) travel to New York – he’s never lost! In fact, he seems to know his way around Manhattan pretty damn well for a 10 year old kid who’s never been there before.
Or has he?
Anyway, this movie is directed by Chris Columbus, who after discovering America and before directing the worst ‘Harry Potter’ films, directed this gem.
I mean, where does this guy find the time to write all those ‘Gremlins’ movies? Basically the film is all about this family who hate Macaulay Culkin and plan this trip to Florida so that they conveniently don’t have to spend time with him over Christmas. It’s kind of mean, but you can also kind of see where they’re coming from. They all rush to the airport in typical McCallister fashion and run away from Mac. It’s actually pretty heartbreaking.
The family have also hired this decoy who is dressed exactly like Mac’s dad, so that Mac is distracted and accidentally boards a plane to New York. I can only assume that the McCallister family paid off the airport officials to make this elaborate plan come together. But anyway – it works! It’s exactly the kind of plan you’d expect from Macaulay’s dad, who is also the corrupt cop in ‘The Sopranos’.
To put it simply, this guy is versatile. Also, earlier in the film, Mac’s older brother Buzz calls him a “troutsniffer”, a term that never really caught on apart from amongst Rex Hunt’s buddies (of which there are three). Also, Buzz is basically just Biff from the ‘Back to the Future’ movies.
So Mac finds himself in New York and begins do all sorts of crazy stuff – like buy fireworks and look at the statue of liberty through some binoculars. Meanwhile in Florida, Mac’s family make crass jokes about how they’re so irresponsible and how they’ve never forgotten their luggage. Fortunately for them, the policeman buys their bullshit.
Back in New York, Mac decides to check into the Plaza hotel (which is run by Tim Curry and Deuce Bigalow), which he pays for using the credit card he stole from the squash playing douchebag from ‘Big’ (a move Tom Hanks would be proud of). Everything seems to be coming up roses for Mac at this point, he even meets Donald Trump!
Although, Deuce Bigalow is kind of an asshole to Mac, but having said that, Macaulay Culkin does tip in chewing gum so I’m going to have to sympathise with young Deuce here. It’s exactly this kind of disregard for the tipping system that surely led Deuce to the financial troubles that led him to taking up prostitution in later life. I can’t condone Mac’s behaviour here.
After all these hotel shenanigans, Mac gets his “very own cheese pizza” and takes a ride to ‘Duncan’s Toy Chest’, a toy store that is actually pretty lame, but whatever.
At this point, Mac runs into his old pals Harry and Marv, now calling themselves ‘The Sticky Bandits’ (a name that raises more questions about their time in prison than it answers). Harry has disguised himself as Uncle Fester while Marv is disguised as that one guy from ‘Bushwacked’. It seems they had the ingenious plan of starting a riot to break out of prison, so that they could hide in a fish truck and travel to New York City.
A crazy plan, but they really pulled it off! So they go to the toy store and meet up with Mac who promptly sexually assaults a woman and runs away to the Plaza hotel where further shenanigans ensue involving Tim Curry not understanding how a TV works.
Mac escapes out the backdoor of the hotel which seems to be the laundry entrance and runs straight into the hands of Harry and Marv. I don’t know how they predicted he’d come out that way, they hadn’t even split up just in case Mac decided to, you know, leave via the main hotel entrance.
I can only assume that Harry and/or Marv is/are psychic and that this crucial plot point was cut from the completed film.
Oh yeah, also there’s this pigeon lady. I looked up her name in the credits but it’s just listed as ‘Pigeon Lady’. She’s kind of like Bill Lawry, but only if Bill Lawry was a Batman villain and also a woman. In fact, she’s pretty much exactly like a Batman villain except with a really lame name (although ‘The Penguin’ is also pretty lame when you think about it).
Anyway, she feels shunned by society and is too afraid to “love” again, but mainly I think the issue is that she’s covered in bird shit. Mac even makes a joke about this and she laughs it off. But seriously, she’s covered in bird shit.
After all this, Mac realises that he needs to stop Harry and Marv from robbing Duncan’s Toy Chest. He comes to this realisation after waving to a sick kid and probably also because he really enjoys beating the shit out of Harry and Marv. At some point also, Mac comes up with a very elaborate masterplan, which he also draws up as a poster using coloured markers (which I reckon would have taken ages and no one even saw it apart from him).
Then, the carnage begins. I won’t list everything that happens to Harry and Marv, but at one point Marv is electrocuted until he becomes a skeleton momentarily. I repeat, he becomes a SKELETON. And that’s one of the more minor incidents. As I see it, the main mistake that Harry and Marv make is that they tend to “pull” doorknobs, rather than turn them like normal people.
Anyway, bottom line is that Mac goes pretty over the top with the pranks here, but who can blame him with parents as irresponsible as his (who meanwhile are trying to shift the blame for this whole debacle onto Tim Curry and Big Stan).
After all this, Mac calls 911 which I would suggest he probably could have done at any point after having run into ‘The Sticky Bandits’ at the toy shop initially. I mean they did try to kidnap him and we already know that they are escaped prisoners on the run, so calling the police would probably be most people’s next logical step. Not to mention that he has them on tape threatening to kill him outside the hotel.
But not for Macaulay Culkin though! Oh no. Thing is, not calling the cops makes Mac’s whole brick thrown through the toyshop window to “stop the bad guys” moment seem a little callous in retrospect.
Ultimately, I really enjoyed this film. The violence is gratuitous and every character acts like they’re in a Warner Bros cartoon. Also, I like the fact that Macaulay Culkin gets revenge on his family who all hate him by pretty much ruining their holiday.
You can only wonder why they hate him so much.