If Macaulay Culkin ran for president as his pre-adolescent self, he would win in a landslide, and it’s not because of his role in “My Girl” (what kind of hero dies in a bumblebee attack?). As Kevin McCallister in the Chris Columbus-directed and John Hughes-written “Home Alone,” he was James Bond, Indiana Jones, Sherlock Holmes, Bruce Wayne, the Hardy Boys, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid all at once. He was a misunderstood, crime-fighting, junk food-eating, punk kid who just wanted freedom from his oppressive and scatterbrained family. Kevin gets exactly what he wants when he’s left home alone during the holidays, and two idiotic burglars force him to prove his natural cunning. After an hour and 55 minutes of bliss, the world obviously needed more of Kevin and the wet bandits. Two years later, Columbus, Hughes and Culkin reunited and dropped two more hours of bliss, and it became one of the greatest movie sequels of all time on par with “The Godfather Part II,” “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Toy Story 2.” I’m going to give you five reasons why.
1. It’s the same story as the first movie, but it’s still original and never boring.
Most sequels try too hard to come up with a fresh story using the same characters, and they fail miserably, usually because the original story wasn’t all that interesting or there wasn’t anything more that needed to be said. Would you ever try to add anything to “Forrest Gump”? Sequels at their heart are cheap ploys to make more money on previously successful productions. They’re like the iPhone 5C of storytelling.
2. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” said everyone’s coach/dad/mentor ever.
Kevin, Harry and Marv were already perfect characters, so the only way to revisit them was to not change anything except the setting. This time, Kevin is in New York instead of Chicago. The wet bandits become the sticky bandits. Kevin’s mom struggles with more holiday season air-travel problems. The snow shovel-wielding neighbor is replaced by a pigeon-feeding homeless woman in Central Park.
3. The only new characters are totally unessential, yet totally essential.
What’s the best way to introduce new characters to an already-successful cast? Make sure those actors are Tim Curry and Eddie Bracken. Tim Curry as a nosy hotel attendant? Perfection. Eddie Bracken as a jolly toy shop owner? The role he was born to play. They didn’t need to be in a “Home Alone” sequel, but they made it so much better, like Jessie and Bullseye in the “Toy Story” sequel or Data in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.”
4. It’s a New York City Christmas adventure.
As Kevin wisely states, “There are no Christmas trees in Florida.” Everybody loves Christmas, and everybody loves images of New York during Christmas. This formula is infallible: New York City + the holidays = fun. It’s ABC Family’s wet dream. You could take an unwatchable movie like “Suicide Squad” and throw in this formula, and it becomes instantly watchable. Take “Schindler’s List,” add this formula and it becomes a “Christmas comedy.” A few of the best are “Die Hard,” “The Godfather,” “Elf” and most certainly “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.”
5. Donald J. Trump makes a cameo.
This fact doesn’t make the movie better in any way, but I included it so my article shows up on a Trump Google search.
Ryan Suppe studies philosophy. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.