It is officially Home Alone Season. Also known as Christmas season. It is the time of year where I will fire up Home Alones 1 & 2 each for a dedicated viewing with friends and family, in addition to catching segments of it randomly on cable, and pulling up YouTube clips of my favorite scenes no less than a dozen times.
Growing up, Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York were staples of the holiday season. I would go back and forth as to which one was my favorite, never really caring which one happened to be on TV or which one my brother wanted to watch. I realize now, in this age of sequels we currently live in, that there may be some science behind this. Marvel movies are criticized for having generic villain-of-the-week bad guys and plots the culminate in our heroes going up against a faceless CGI army. Movies like The Hangover Part II and Ocean’s 12 take the premise of a well received first installment and simply copy and paste the plot and characters into a foreign location. Lest anyone think this is somehow a recent phenomenon, you need look no further than these two Christmas classics. Home Alone 2 is still one of the most entertaining movies from my youth, but it absolutely belongs in the same category as any other sequel considered a cash-grab copy-and-paste of the original.
Here was my challenge for this post, to prove the incredible similarity between the two movies: construct a plot outline in which every bullet point can 100% apply to BOTH Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Additionally, try to be as specific as possible with the plot points and accompanying details. I ended up being shocked by how specific I could get. Enjoy:
–Both movies are written by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus
- McCallister house – family the night before their Christmas trip
- Kevin talks to his parents in their bedroom
- Peter McCallister has an issue with charging an electronic device
- Kevin’s brother Buzz instigates a conflict with Kevin, which Kevin then escalates
- The family blames Kevin for the incident
- Kevin is forced to sleep on the third floor as punishment. He speaks to his mom before going to bed
- Kevin talks to his parents in their bedroom
- McCallister family rushes to the airport, and to their flight
- The family’s alarm clocks do not go off, causing them to oversleep
- The airport shuttle knocks over the statue outside the house
- Mr and Mrs McCallister frantically get out of bed, look at each other, and exclaim a remark about their situation
- Uncle Frank voices a complaint about the situation to Peter McCallister upon exiting the front door of the house
- The family members are counted as they enter airport shuttles
- On the airplane, Mr McCallister assures Mrs McCallister that they did not forget anything
- Kevin realizes he is separated from his family
- Kevin first calls out for his family, including his mom, dad, brother Buzz, and Uncle Frank
- Kevin states the fact that he is alone out loud, twice, causing him to lift his eyebrows and smirk
- A video of montage of Kevin celebrating this, set to music heavily featuring a saxophone
- Mrs McCallister dramatically yells “KEVIN!” upon realizing he is missing
- The authorities are contacted about Kevin’s absence, but no progress is made
- Kevin talks to his mom, despite her not being with him, and she appears to hear him from her remote location, due to editing
- Harry and Marv are introduced, planning their next robbery
- Marv is focused on the nickname for the two, while Harry dismisses this as irrelevant
- Kevin eats a comically large amount of ice cream while watching Angels with Filthy Souls
- Kevin is frightened by a mysterious older person
- Kevin uses a puppet to simulate an adult presence to outsiders
- Kevin rigs Angels with Filthy Souls to communicate with someone at his door
- The people are frightened away when the character of Johnny opens fire with a Tommy Gun on the other person in the scene – Johnny taunts the other character in the scene by calling them a “filthy animal”
- The scene is punctuated with Kevin mouthing the words of the character Johnny, while lifting his eyebrows
- Kevin becomes friends with the mysterious older person while viewing Christmas music being performed. The person had a difficult experience in the past that made them doubt their ability to interact with people
- Montage of Kevin setting up a house with booby traps to be used against Harry and Marv – Kevin has created blue prints for the plan
- Harry and Marv fall victim to several booby traps set-up by Kevin
- Harry starts on the ground floor, while Marv starts in the basement
- One trap involves Marv pulling on a line, only for it to bring down a heavy object that hits him in the face
- They are hit in the head with paint cans while going up the stairs
- The final trap involves a rope outside of the house
- Kevin calls the police and gives specific instructions for how to find Harry and Marv
- Kevin is captured by Harry and Marv, but then saved by the mysterious old person
- The cops taunt Harry and Marv about their supposed bandit nickname
- Kevin is reunited with his family
- Kevin and his mom re-unite first, followed by the rest of the family
- Kevin gets a reluctant compliment from his brother Buzz
- Exterior shot with character yelling at Kevin for something he did while Alone
I still consider both movies classics, but I do wonder what it was like for audiences in 1992 when they went to the theater and were given the same movie they all saw 2 years prior.
What are your thoughts? Did I miss anything? Get anything wrong? Let me know in the comments!
Extra Home Alone thoughts:
*Some might say that the inclusion of the fantastic Tim Curry has such an impact that it makes Home Alone 2 distinct. While his performance as the skeptical concierge is terrific, the hi jinx of Kevin in the hotel is still very similar to his behavior around town. Some public interactions are innocent, like when grocery shopping. Others are more antagonistic, like when Kevin accidentally steals the toothbrush.
**I would put my knowledge of Home Along and its sequel up against anyone in a trivia competition, yet even I missed a few slight differences between the two movies on a recent watching of the original. I mistakenly got ready for Kevin’s booby-trap plan to read Operation HO HO HO, and for the tool box down the steps trap to both be in the original. Alas, they are in the sequel.
***Having done a small radio show in college, I can say one of the first ideas we had to boot was having sound effects. It was simply too hard to get the samples queued up in time to work with the flow of off the cuff conversation. Kevin McCallister could have solved all our problems. His ability to navigate a VHS tape of Angels with Filthy Souls to line up with what the pizza guy and Tim Curry will say is next level audio control. I am pretty sure he makes some quotes happen in such a timely manner that it is not physically possible. Maybe a follow-up on this point. Forget the Jigsaw theory. This kid is the next Fred Norris.
****Though the idea of leaving any family member behind or not assuring they got on the plane with you is ridiculous enough, Home Alone 2 has some added leaps of faith to get the plot going. In the original, a major power outage affects all 1990’s technology in the McCallister house, causing no alarm clocks or wake-up calls to possibly work. In Home Alone 2, only Peter McCallister’s alarm clock turns off, and this is BEFORE they go to the Christmas pageant. That means that he was the ONLY person in the house to set an alarm, and he did not check it before going to bed. That is the most absurd thing that happens in the movie. Well….maybe second most absurd:
*****This should go without saying, but this article covers the ONLY 2 MOVIES IN THE HOME ALONE FRANCHISE. THERE ARE 2. THERE IS ALSO ONLY 1 SANDLOT.