Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Kevin McCallister

One man, alone, abandoned by the country he loves. Oh, wait, we’re talking about that Home Alone character who sets traps throughout his house to keep the thieves at bay.

Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister
Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister

Yeah, okay, I’ll go with the “One man, alone…” quote.

Or how about if I make up my own? One warrior stands alone, grappling with destiny, vowing to defend the land he loves.

Maybe not.

Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) is the troublemaker. The set-apart. The brat. The night before leaving on vacation, he becomes a sore spot for the rest of his family. In a moment of anger, he says to his mother that he wishes he could wake up and find everyone gone.

The next morning, Kevin’s words turn into reality. He awakens to an empty house and with nothing to do other than to call for a major party.

Kevin McCallister
Kevin McCallister

Cue the required jumping on bed, eating anything and everything he can get his hands on, splashing aftershave on his face for the first time, using the stairs as a toboggan route, playing with firecrackers, and watching all the stuff on TV his parents would take a conniption if they found out.

As fun as it seems, and as happy, as Kevin is to know that he doesn’t have his parents or his obnoxious brother to deal with, he has another problem on his hands. Thieves, who have been casing the neighborhood, have marked his home for a score. In spite of the lights going on like clockwork every night, The Wet Bandits (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) have left Kevin’s house last on their list of homes to burglarize.

Yet, Kevin isn’t dumb. He knows a threat when he sees it. The Wet Bandits are a threat. His first round meeting his foes, he uses his intellect and some good ol’ fashioned fun to distract the pair from entering his home. His technique is a simple one: use mannequins to scare off the intruders.

Of course it worked. Who would stick around with a house filled with guests dancing to the groove of 50’s Christmas music?

It doesn’t end there. After a failed attempt at casing the joint once more, the crooks promise they will be back. And Kevin vows he will be ready.

Well, that’s a short summary about Kevin McCallister, the little boy who defends his house from intruders during Christmas time.

The other part of the story, which is more personal, is that the movie is also one of the first films my wife and I went to see before getting married. Every year now, my family and I sit down to watch this treat of an extravaganza as a wonderful tradition and reminder of our courtship.

All right, back to Kevin. He’s smart, funny, and quick on the draw. He’s your regular kid, but with a bit of an attitude. If I were to ever want someone to defend my home against intruders, I’d certainly get Kevin to do it for me.

Having said that, I want to watch Home Alone once more.

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Have you seen Home Alone? What do you like most about Kevin?

Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

Karen Hill

Ignored as a date, Karen gives him another chance. Couldn’t stand him, obnoxious, fidgeting around—that’s what she thinks of her future husband. Promises to meet him again on a Friday night and he stands her up.

Lorraine Bracco as Karen Hill in Goodfellas
Lorraine Bracco as Karen Hill in Goodfellas

“You’ve got some nerve standing me up. Nobody does that to me. Who do you think you are, Frankie Valli or some kind of big shot?”

Henry Hill tries reasoning with her telling her he thought it was the following Friday.

“It was this Friday and you agreed, so you’re a liar!”

On their first date, Henry takes Karen on a whirlwind trip through the service entrance of the fanciest restaurant in town. A special table at the front, fine food, a live show with the king of the one-liners, she didn’t know what to think. Henry pays for everything in cash. They even have Bobby Vinton sending them a bottle of the finest champagne.

One day, Karen calls Henry, screaming the boy across the street pushed her out of a car when she wouldn’t respond to his advances.

“He started to touch me. He started to grab me. I told him to stop. He didn’t stop. I hit him back. And then he got really angry.”

Ray Liotta and Lorraine Bracco
Ray Liotta and Lorraine Bracco

Henry takes care of it. He marches across the street and pistol-whips the boy ten times, breaking the kid’s nose. To make his point, after having some words with him, Henry pounds the kid one last time.

“I know there are women, like my best friends who would have gotten out the minute their boyfriend gave them a gun to hide. But I didn’t. I’ve got to admit the truth. It turned me on.”

The couple marries and things change quickly. She realizes she’d married into two families.

“We weren’t married to nine-to-five guys. But the first time I realized how different was when Mickey had a hostess party. They had bad skin and wore too much makeup. They didn’t look very good. They looked beat-up. They talked about how rotten their kids were and about beating them with broom handles and belts. When Henry picked me up, I was dizzy. I don’t know if I could live like that.”

Whatever Karen thinks of her new family, she reasons around the quirks.

“Being together all the time made everything seem all the more normal.”

What normal is, is what normal does.

“We always did everything together, and we always were in the same crowd. Anniversaries, christenings. We only went to each other’s houses.”

And this is where I come in. I write my Women Who Wow Wednesday series in the context of strong women who stand on their own two feet. Fighters, if you will, who aren’t afraid of taking on someone or something greater than themselves. Although Goodfellas comes from a true story, characterization of real people is inevitable. Karen Hill falls into that category.

For a while, she plays by the rules, respecting her husband, keeping the status quo with his crew. But it’s that ability to think for herself that gets her in trouble. More to the point, her ability to go against the flow makes her unique. In a world of murder, deceit and betrayal, Karen demonstrates a strong conviction to do what she thinks is right.

In the end, isn’t that what matters?

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Have you seen Goodfellas? What do you think of Karen?