Christmas with the McCallisters (and the Sticky Bandits)

First, there was Jesus’ birthday, and soon there after, came the holiday known as Christmas. Christmas brings all kinds of annual bliss into an otherwise mediocre life: socially acceptable weight gain (with all the snowman-shaped sugar cookies and spiked eggnog around), and the excuse to miss work because you’re either snowed in, or the roads are too icy.

The lead up to Christmas also allows for mentally stable parents to order their offspring to shut the fuck up — otherwise they end up on the naughty list. I was one of those kids who believed in Santa for way too long; my parents did such an incredible job at faking his existence.Rockefeller-Center

Every year was the same: my father would insist that my mother, older sister, and I go upstairs while he uses the downstairs restroom. By the age of ten, yes, ten, I realized that my father used “sitting on the shitter for a long time” as his alibi to embody Santa — set up the presents, drink Santa’s milk, eat his chocolate chip cookies, and leave the balcony door open. I never saw Santa, that international man of mystery; my father never dressed up as him, even though he sure is plump enough. Love you, dad.

Every year, thousands of lied to children line up at shopping centers to whisper wish lists into Santa’s ear and sit on his lap. All the while there’s probably “wanted” posters down at the police station of that pedophile in costume. One year, I asked the bearded criminal for the Spice Girl Barbie collection. This year, a large sum of money will do just fine. Never mind paying off college tuition, there are new tattoos to be had and newly cued Netflix DVDs to be ordered.

Christmas’ merriment mostly targets bratty youngsters, which overlaps into Netflix’s holiday film list that’s overrun with cheesy, campy children’s films that typically revolve around Golden Retriever puppies, and talking machinery and vegetables. Looking at you VeggieTales. Scrolling through the canine selection alone, there’s Santa Paws, Alpha and Omega 2, 12 Christmas Wishes for my Dog, Santa Buddies, Small Town Santa, 12 Dogs of Christmas, the sequel, Golden Winter, Adventures of Bailey Christmas Hero, Hercules Saves Christmas and Cinnamon. Even as an avid animal lover, I’ve seennone of these films. The last puppy-filled flick I watched was Marley & Me… BIG MISTAKE.

Home-Alone-2-Lost-in-New-YorkThankfully, Netflix blesses us with a few scattered gems such as The Nightmare Before Christmas, a classic, Love Actually, for the hopeless romantics, and Scrooged – who doesn’t love Bill Murray? But where’s Will Farrell’s hysterical portrayal as Elf? And the most heartbreaking missed opportunity of all, Netflix: Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. How could you do this to us? Speaking in a manner of fact, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is single-handedly the greatest Christmas movie out there. Cheers to New York for being one of the prettiest cities in the U.S. during the winter holidays. Sorry Los Angeles, nice try with The Grove, but NY’s unbeatable Rockefeller Center sets up a 80-foot-tall Christmas tree, meticulously decorated with 45,000 lights – and there’s ice skating, but watch out for those Sticky Bandits.

Not only did Home Alone 2: Lost in New York bring us the klutzy, wannabe mastermind dynamic-duo of Marv and Harry, it introduces the new setting of the Park Plaza Hotel, along with its hilarious team of hotel bellhops, desk clerks and managers. Not to mention, the hotel has impeccable room service. Did you see that ice cream sundae? Turns out Kevin spent exactly $967 on room service.

While the McCallisters comically fail to notice Kevin’s disappearance until their plane lands in Florida, it’s the Plaza Hotel’s staff that steals the show. Who can forget the scene where Kevin McCallister tips Cedric the bellhop, Rob Schneider, in gum? And surely, no one can keep a straight face during Kevin’s trick to escape being caught by the hotel’s staff for illegally using his father’s credit card. To refresh your memory, Gangster Johnny plays on the TV, while head of concierge, Mr. Hector, played by talented Tim Curry, is forced to get down on his knees and say, “I love you!” This scene also delivers the standout line, “Merry Christmas, you filthy animal. And a happy new year.” I’m cracking a smile just writing about it.

Poor Mr. Hector spends most of his time crawling on his hands and knees to escape Gangster Johnny’s Tommy gunshots, only to get slapped in the face by Mrs. McCallister for letting her son run loose in the city.

No question that Home Alone 2: Lost in New York makes us all laugh uncontrollably, but it wouldn’t be a Christmas hit without some touching, heart-felt moments. We should all look to Harry and Marv marv-and-harry-in-NYCwhen it comes to dedication and teamwork. Even cuter than their camaraderie, is Kevin’s relationship with Mr. Duncan, owner of Duncan’s Toy Chest, who gifts Kevin with two turtledove figurines for Christmas. Kevin then befriends the once-scary Bird Lady of Central Park, after she helps him bring down the Sticky Bandits. In return, as an act of gratitude, Kevin gives the Bird Lady one of the glass turtledoves.

Even Buzz, the usually annoying asshole of a brother, and Kevin share a heart-warming moment at the end, before hectically unwrapping gifts under the Christmas tree. With Christmas just around the corner, Netflix should grant all of us the wish of adding Home Alone 2: Lost in New York to their library. Besides that, a valuable lesson to learn from the McCallister family is: don’t be a dick on Christmas. Every other day of the year is fine – but not on Christmas.

Even if your older brother embarrasses you during the school’s Christmas theater performance that leaves all the audience members, including parents, laughing at you — don’t be a dick. Find it in your heart to let petty family drama subside. Another thought, don’t push a tool chest down a flight of stairs. Most importantly, give your mom a hug – doesn’t have to be in Rockefeller Center, but she definitely deserves a solid hug.