In my most recent edition of Angelina’s ‘80s Archive last week, I wrote about Home Alone (1990), which is one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies. What I failed to mention when I classified it as such was that Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) are a package deal to me. In fact, I’ve always sort of preferred the sequel, but only marginally, of course. (You won’t get any Home Alone slander from me!) Here are five reasons few movies can get me in the Christmas spirit quite like this one:
- The Soundtrack
Some of my most beloved Christmas songs are in this movie, and sometimes I wonder if I love them because I grew up watching them. Tom Petty’s “Christmas All Over Again,” Darlene Love’s “All Alone on Christmas,” Andy Williams’ “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” and Johnny Mathis’ “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” all have prominent time in the film. I don’t know how they put together such a perfect soundtrack, but the fact that I remember nearly every scene in which one of these songs is used says something about how spot-on each choice was. Plus, we get Kevin’s “My Christmas Tree” solo at school at the movie’s start. The voice of an angel!
- Kevin’s Plaza Hotel Free-for-All
Much like Eloise, Kevin reigns free in New York’s Plaza Hotel. He stuffs himself with room service, has a limousine take him to the toy store while watching The Grinch and eating his own cheese pizza and wreaks havoc on the staff (who do not properly handle an unaccompanied child, let’s be honest). Watching Tim Curry army crawl through the hallway is iconic, as are just about all his lines and facial expressions.
- Pigeon Lady
Kevin’s friendship with the Pigeon Lady is incredibly sweet. I’ve read some articles about Home Alone “ruining” John Hughes, but that feels like selective memory to me. Yes, Kevin’s hijinks are what a lot of people remember, but there is still so much heart in Lost in New York. Kevin has this wise-beyond-his-years way of advising adults whom others fear or look down upon, and it is lovely to watch him understand others around him. When he gives her the turtle dove ornament at the movie’s end, I cry every time.
- Duncan’s Toy Chest
Kevin saves the toy store from the burglars formerly known as “The Wet Bandits,” who have escaped prison and are planning to rob the money raised for a children’s hospital in the area. Christmas morning, the McAllisters wake up to a giant Christmas tree loaded with gifts from the store as a “thank you” to Kevin for his help. What a dream!
- The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
This is probably my favorite part. Growing up watching this movie, I identified with Kevin’s love of big Christmas trees. Toward the film’s end, his mother finds him in Rockefeller Center at the end of the path lined with angel figures, and the shot is beautiful. Every time I see them hug with the Christmas tree towering above them, I wish I could be there. This scene and the scene in Elf when Buddy goes ice skating at the Rockefeller Center rink always made me dream of being in New York City at Christmastime. A couple of years ago, I finally got to go in early January when the tree was still up. It was even more beautiful in person than I ever thought it would be when I saw it on TV or on the big screen.