Saturday, December 15, 2012

25 Days of Christmas Movies 2012 - Day 15: Pain is Pleasure

Ok, don't get all filthy.  Pleasure can mean a lot of different things, including having a good laugh. Some of my best holiday memories center around hefty belly laughs.  Sometimes it is a present that makes us  laugh, sometimes someone tells a really funny joke, and sometimes someone gets a turkey dropped on their head (long Thanksgiving story).  I think laughter is important to having a good Holiday season and this is why I think some of our favorite Christmas movies are comedies...particularly broad comedies.  National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, and even Deck the Halls deal with slapstick situations, surreal comedy, and an overall devotion to the absurd.  This is especially true in today's film where the sheer violence would be painful to watch if it wasn't done in such a cartoony manner.  I think it's time to order a pizza, set up some booby traps, and enjoy an evening Home Alone.

The McCallister family prepares to spend Christmas in Paris, gathering at the home of Peter and Kate McCallister (John Heard and Catherine O'Hara) in a suburb of Chicago the night before their flight. Eight-year-old Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) their youngest son, finds himself the subject of ridicule from his siblings and cousins. After getting into an argument with his older brother Buzz, he is sent to the third floor bedroom of the house, where he wishes his family would disappear. During the night, a power outage resets the alarm clocks and causes the family to oversleep. In the confusion and rush to reach the airport on time, Kevin is left behind and the family does not realize it until they are already airborne. Once in Paris, his mother and father desperately try to book a flight home to get Kevin. Unfortunately, they learn that all flights to the USA are completely booked for the next 2 days. Kate refuses to leave the Paris airport unless it's on an airplane. The clerks put Kate on standby for any possible seat to the USA that opens up. The rest of the family go to Peter and Frank's brother, Rob's apartment in Paris. Meanwhile, Kevin wakes up to find the house empty and is overjoyed to find that his wish came true.  However, soon his excitement turns to fear as two burglars, Harry and Marv, set their sights on his house.  It soon becomes a race to see if Kevin can keep the out of the house and if his mother can make her way home to him.

Home Alone is the kind of film that one can only watch through a lens of nostalgia.  You cannot view it through today's filter because we've gone back to "the new serious" of the 70s and the cartoony comedy just doesn't jive with that.   That's not to say that the film isn't still fun and deserving of its classic status, it just means that those of us who grew up on it will enjoy it much more than someone watching it fresh today.   However, for me, no Christmas is complete without a healthy belly laugh with Kevin and co. during their two adventures (for the record, I prefer the New York set sequel).  It is a tradition like cookies and carols.  Is it funny? Well, I think so.  But in the end it matters only if you think so.  If you enjoy stories about travel complications, cartoony violence, and Christmassy emotions you will enjoy this....especially if you remember it fondly.

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