Violence Embraced

7 years ago
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Every year around this time, films whose protaganist is a sadistic child air on television and every year I shake my head in disbelief. Do Home Alone 1 and 2 really pass as humour? Ha ha ha one of the idiotic burglars just got electrocuted. Ha ha ha the boy just pushed a suspended beam down the stairs, knocking the two burglars to the bottom. Seriously?

I know I'm supposed to find these situations funny because the burglars are bad guys, or at least I'm supposed to be okay with this violence because they are bad guys, but I'm really not. First, even if the robbers couldn't feel pain and somehow as a viewer I knew this, this wouldn't be funny. Where is the humour in a guy getting hurt, screaming and then getting up with the imprint of an iron on his face? I may as well watch an episode of America's Funniest Home Videos.

Second, I don't find it funny that a child decides to become a vigilante, doesn't seek help from grown ups or the authorities or escape from the house. Also, he really enjoys planting his torture devices. The smirk on his face when he sees them working on the burglars is just disturbing.

Third, Macauley Culkin is a horrible actor in these movies. So unconvincing. So obnoxious in the way that only overzealous, emotionally immature child actors can be. I just don't believe a word he says. And when he smacks his hands on his face and screams? Not adorable or funny.

I suppose the Home alone movies are emblematic of much of Christmas entertainment, well, supposed entertainment: they are mostly unsophisticated and low brow.

Actually, I enjoyed the family scenes of the movies. The rivalry between the siblings, the mother's anxiety about everything. Catherine O'Hara is great in these movies. The end scenes of both movies when she and Kevin are reunited have made me cry. It's the music, the decorations.  See? I'm really a softie...

I blog about the arts and health and disability issues regularly at http://loveablehomebody.blogspot.com/