The first Home Alone was a suprise hit that catapulted a young child actor named Macaulay Culkin to the A-list star status that would quickly end abruptly in 1994 when Culkin stopped acting for about a decade. Most of it was because of personal problems with his father/manager Kit Culkin. The first movie was about a young boy, Kevin McCallister, the youngest of five children belonging to Chicago-area lawyer Peter McCallister (John Heard) and his fashion designer wife, Kate (Catherine O’Hara).
They live in basically what is a mansion in the Chicago suburban Village of Winnetka and seem to be so well off that they can take Christmas trips to Paris and Miami. However, they ignore Kevin and in the first movie he is accidentally left home alone when a storm knocks out their electricity briefly leading to their clocks not going on. In the confusion, they ask their oldest niece to do a headcount and she mistakes a neighbor for Kevin, who has been banished to the attic floor hide-a-bed.
Apparently, their eldest son, Buzz (Devin Ratray) is a psychopath who consumes an entire cheese pizza intended for Kevin in under two minutes leading to a fight that causes a mess. Because he’s the youngest and the dumb parents ignore him and leave the passports on the kitchen counter (when they should be in a purse or carry-on bag), a fight between Kevin and Buzz ensues resulting in the passports getting soaked in milk. Kevin is called a jerk by his dickhole Uncle Frank (Gerry Bamman) and Peter is such a pussy the he doesn’t belt his brother in the mouth, Kevin is sent to bed without supper.
But this ends up ruining the family’s vacation when they have to work on leaving Paris to get back to Chicago, so karma is a motherfucker. Kevin thinks he’s a sorcerer who can erase his family from existence on a wish. He decides he must defend his house against burglars Harry (Joe Pesci) who may or may not be a cop with a plumbing side gig and Marv (Daniel Stern), the more incompetent one. Kevin foils the so called “Wet Bandits” and they go off the prison.
A year later, even though everyone has aged two years, the McCallister haven’t learned their lesson in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York released in mid-to-late November 1992. Not only are they only relying on one bedroom alarm clock to wake them up, which Peter foolishly temporarily unplugs to get the a video camera charger off, but they are the only Scotch-Irish Catholic family in the Chicagoland area that doesn’t believe in corporal punishment because they still allow Buzz to be a complete jerk-ass. Buzz decides to make a mockery of Kevin, who has a nice singing voice, during a chorus performance. When he just gives Buzz, who is now half his size, a shove on the shoulder, it creates a chain reaction that results in others failing off the risers and scenery falling on the piano player.
So, of course, Kevin gets blamed and Buzz provides some half-ass apology. Even Uncle Frank and his son, Fuller (Kieran Culkin) think Peter and Kate should chillax because it was funny watching Kevin get humiliated in front of his peers and their parents. So, naturally, it’s the third-floor attic but Kevin decides to ride shotgun in the shuttle service to the airport the next day when they again are running late. And since Peter is still stupid to put all the important stuff, his cash, wallet and credit cards in a bag that Kevin easily grabs to get some batteries into his TalkBoy.
So, running to the gate again, Kevin lags and mistakes a passenger with the same very expensive overcoat on for his father and follows him to a different gate. And he bumps into the gate agent sending all the boarding pass flying. Since this was a decade before 9/11 and you could do just about anything at an airport except saying, “Bomb,” American Airlines decides to let Kevin on the plane where he mistakes his father in first class because the McCallisters refuse to allow their kids to sit in first class and could you blame them.
He puts his headphones on and misses the stewardess telling him they’re heading toward New York City. So, when Kevin arrives, he’s surprised but glad his family is in Miami. He’s got his father’s credit cards and what looks like several thousand in dead presidents so he’s going to have some fun in NYC, buying fireworks in Chinatown, checking out Radio City Music Hall, and going on the observation deck of the World Trade Center.
Then, he finds his way over to the New York Plaza and this is where the movie takes a change. The Plaza oversees Central Park where Kevin meets the Pigeon Lady (Brenda Fricker), a homeless woman who seems to feed pigeons and even has them perched on her shoulders. I don’t think the Pigeon Lady is real or at least is a supernatural entity. The Pigeon Lady tells Kevin later that people act like they don’t see her, but it’s possible Kevin is on his way to being a criminal that he suddenly senses her spirit.
At the Plaza, he used his father’s credit card and the slow-motion on his TalkBoy, which sounds like Buffalo Bill after a crazy weekend in Amsterdam, to rent a hotel room and use some silly story about his father making a reservation in between business meetings. The desk clerk Hester Stone (Dana Ivey) believes it and they give him a key but the concierge, Mr. Hector (Tim Curry) tells the bellhop, Cedric (Rob Schneider) to find out what he can.
Kevin lives it up committing credit card fraud and running up the room service tab. I mean, his parents deserve it for the way they treated him. As usual, Kevin freaks out watching Angels With Filthier Souls but he’s slowly building on cracking. When Hector sneaks in to check on the room, Kevin uses an inflatible clown doll to pretend it’s his father behind the shower curtain.
With the joy of threatening the concierge, it’s getting harder as Kevin discovers the next day that Harry and Marv are out and in New York. He runs into them outside of Duncan’s Toy Chest which Harry and Marv are casing to rob on Christmas Eve night after everyone goes home. Kevin is able to scream loud enough to make Harry and Marv cautious so he can escape but when he runs back to the Plaza, the staff offer no help and threaten to call the police, he makes it to his hotel room to get his personal items and use the movie to frighten the staff so he can make a clean break.
Unfortunately, Harry and Marv, who seem to have developed a sixth sense, are waiting for Kevin when he tries to sneak out the back. They tell Kevin they are probably going to waste him but Marv lets it slip about their robbery at Duncan’s which Kevin records. Kevin is able to get away again by groping an unsuspecting woman who fights back at Harry and Marv and Kevin runs to Central Park where he is able to hide.
Later that night, Kevin tries to contact his other Uncle Rob, but their brownstone is being renovated. Seeing a bunch of bums, hookers and even scary taxi drivers, sets something off in Kevin that when discovers the Pigeon Lady, he freaks out. But he realizes the Pigeon Lady is actually there to help him as his foot is caught between some rocks in the park. Kevin and the Pigeon Lady bond where she reveals she once had a family and a career but the man she married to fell out of love with him.
This is where I think the Pigeon Lady may not be real. It’s quite possible that she committed suicide following the break-up and has been in limbo around Central Park doing good deeds for people to earn her spot in Heaven. She tells Kevin that good deeds count extra on Christmas Eve which is why she helped him back at the park. She goes to Carnegie Hall where she can find comfort in an attic space. Since she’s an entity, not everyone can see her.
It’s after this, Kevin notices the lighted cross at Beth Israel Hospital and walks over there and sees a child his own age alone on Christmas Eve like him. The child waves and Kevin waves back, but it’s become apparent, Kevin needs to stop Harry and Marv but decides to punish and torture them. While he was enjoying punishing his parents’ money while he could indulge his own sense, he now has to do this good deed. He could have very easily gone to the police with the confession on the TalkBoy recorded as well as identifying Harry and Marv who have escaped.
No, he decides the best course of action is to torture and torment Harry and Marv at Uncle Rob’s house through a series of more dangerous traps. In the first movie, it was putting ornaments and Micro Machine cars on the floor to trip them up. Ok, the iron falling down the laundry chute would’ve probably killed Marv and the nail on the staircase is bad. But Kevin really goes full psycho here. He throws bricks from several stories up as they conk Marv on the head and at one point electrifies him. Harry’s head is set on fire again but in this case, he dunks his head in a toilet full of kerosene which would have set his head aflame with third or even fourth-degree burns. But considering the flames and smoke would have burned the inside of his throat and lungs, Harry is lucky to be alive.
Just like John Doe in the movie Se7en or Billy Chapman in Silent Night, Deadly Night, Kevin sees himself as servant of the Wrath of God in the guise of a cherub child. Since they’re ripping off a toy store where the owner is going to help children, Kevin is willing whatever it takes to punish the criminals. Also for their past misdeeds, a higher power is allowing Harry and Marv to constantly feel pain over and over as they are hit in the face with a metal rail, get their nose brokens by a tool chest falling down the stairs and falling off a rope set on fire and then have dozens of paint cans fall on them.
By Kevin using his relative’s Brownstone, he is familiar with the layout but also knows that whatever happens will be dismissed as vandals or squatters who used it over the Christmas holiday. It is a dick move on Kevin’s part by leaving one big mess for the crew to clean up when they return but they can always just charge Rob extra. Kevin manages to make it out of the house and put in a call to police finally alerting them of Harry and Marv. But he slips on ice running, falls down and is captured once again by Harry and Marv.
Since the cops are still a while are, Harry and Marv take Kevin out to the park to kill him. But the Pigeon Lady appears to do her final good deed by saving Kevin’s life throwing her bucket of feed on Harry and Marv as it sticks to the wet paint they’re covered in. They are swarmed by pigeons pecking and clawing at them. Harry and Marv are stuck in a Hell of endless punishment according to some interpretations of Biblical scripture. Harry and Marv were finally able to see her because now she has been sent to punish them. Central Park is huge. This is different from a neighbor next door hearing a commotion and stepping in to help which is how they were subdued in the first movie. This also goes along with something Fuller says to Kevin about Santa being omnipresent but he’s actually referencing the Pigeon Lady.
The police arrive and arrest them as Kevin has left the tape and photos he took of them at the store robbing it. There’s a cut scene in which the police know of the Pigeon Lady and say her name is Ann, but I’m glad this was cut. It makes the Pigeon Lady a more mysterious character.
A popular fan theory has emerged that Mr. Duncan (Eddie Bracken) the proprietor of Duncan’s Toy Chest, is the husband of which the Pigeon Lady talked. I agree. After her suicide because he didn’t want children, Mr. Duncan decided to atone by opening the toy store that is very welcoming to children. He has also decided to use his riches and wealth to help out less fortunate children which is why he donates money to the children’s hospital.
Upon reading Kevin’s letter, he remembers the turledoves he gave Kevin and decides to reward him. It’s possible the Pigeon Lady also appears to Mr. Duncan, which is why he knows the McCallisters are staying at the Plaza after being alerted that Kevin is in New York. Still, the McCallister adults show off their greed by making the children share one bedroom as most of the kids sleep on futons while they get the bigger bedrooms.
As they are opening presents, Kevin senses something and leaves to go meet the Pigeon Lady who is right outside the Plaza in the park. By giving her a turtle dove decoration, it is a symbol that she has finally end her wings and go to Heaven. Mr. Duncan tells Kevin to keep one turtledove but give the other to someone he loves. But this is also a way of Mr. Duncan telling the Pigeon Lady that he loves her still.
It’s a stretch I know but even Buzz mentions how this mix-up got them out of a flea-bag dump motel outside soggy wet Miami into a high-rise hotel penthouse suit free of charge. The hotel’s greed to rent a room to Kevin resulting in them not contacting authorities which is what they should’ve done. They are also somewhat liable for allowing him to stay. Even Cedric’s greed is often stopped as he expects a tip but is given gum. When he denies what he thinks is going to be another stick of gum, he too late learns Kevin was going to give him a $50.
In the first movie, it was easy for Kevin to see how he needed to defend the house. He thought his family didn’t exist. The police had suspected him of shoplifting. And even in a post I made last year, I theorized that Harry was a cop all along so Kevin didn’t want to go to the police as he feels they’re corrupt, so he had to frame Harry and Marv by making it look like they broke into the Murphys’ house.
What do you think? Please comment.