waterworks each weeknight at 11 as we turn on the cinematic shower. Here's Andrew Kendall on Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.
No, it’s not December, but I'm taking a trip down memory lane to ubiqutious Christmas film. The Macaulay Culkin Home Alone films were ubiqutious during my childhood and I was obsessed with them. Kevin McCallister is just the kind of precocious child that children would be enamoured with. And, still, for all the obsession for some odd reason I never saw the first five minutes of the New York based sequel until a few years ago, which robbed me of some essential information regarding one of two important showers in it. As the family prepares to go out to a Christmas shower Kevin laments that his Uncle Frank is keeping him from getting dressed.
“My tie’s in the bathroom. I can’t go in there ‘cause Uncle Frank is taking a shower. He says if I walked in there and saw him naked I’d grow up never feeling like a real man. Whatever that means.”
Whatever that means - I wonder how many children left the movie asking their parents what that meant? Kevin's Dad just brushes him off and tells him to go get his tie. And, so he does.
And from the mist that Kevin looks through emerges...
There's really nothing abominable here, except for Uncle Frank completely destroying “Cool Jerk”, that song from the ‘60s, in an atrocious shower-sing-a-long. (Trivia: the title of the song was, allegedly, originally supposed to be “Pimp Jerk” but producers were afraid that a song with the word pimp would not be received well.)
Kevin is more taken with the terrible singing than anything else and takes out his recorder.
This is a family movie, so young children are not subjected to Uncle Frank in the shower, forced to grow up not feeling like real men. Not only is he shot from the waist up, but the shower curtain is so thick it’s hard to make out anything discernible.
It makes his determination that no one be in the bathroom when he showers that much odder, because there's nothing to see here. Still, he’ll have no one infringing on his shower time.
“Get out of here you nosy little pervert or I’m going to slap you silly.”
The moment itself is not intrinsically funny, and yet I find myself grinning each time. It probably has to do with Frank not missing a beat, moving from shouting at Kevin to heading back to his singing with the line to himself, “Oh, you’re cooking Frankie!”
(I’ve always been worried that I sound as terrible singing in the shower as he does here.)
Armed with this moment in those first five minutes makes the second shower in the film that much richer when it comes. Home Alone and Home Alone: Lost in New Yorkare not beacons of cinema but they are well made, and it’s simple things like follow through which make them work so well and significantly superior to their “sequels”.
Half an hour later in the film's run time much has happened. Kevin has taken the wrong plane and ended up in New York, booked a hotel room using his dad’s credit card and under the suspicion of the nosy concierge. A knock at the door in the night sends him scurrying to….
…take a shower?
It's a nice bit of misdirection here as you wonder where the film is going with the shot of the water running. There are still 90 minutes to go (at a solid two hours, Home Alone 2 is lengthier than I remember) so we suspect that Kevin can't be found out already. Right? But the wily concierge treks on.
Tim Curry, is perfect as the sceptical concierge and as he nears what he thinks is confirmation that Kevin is indeed alone we see a recorder hit play and hear the strains of “Cool Jerk”. The moment mirrors the first shower. This time, though, it’s the concierge sneaking into the bathroom, shrouded by the door. The moment is directed in the same way as the earlier shower scene.
The expression on his face! And then the cut-to:
And we cut to the other side of the shower curtain as we see just how Kevin has accomplished this shadow…and behold.
In another movie this could be a brilliant horror reveal but instead is an amusing one here. Complete with the “figure” discovering the concierge’s presence.
And, even though we’ve heard the joke before, the moment is funnier here both for the concierge’s embarrassment and that self-satisfied smirk on Kevin’s face.
Oh, you’re cooking Frankie Kevin.