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MFF Special: In Defense of Home Alone’s Marv and Harry

December 16, 2015

With Christmas approaching I guarantee that Home Alone 1 & 2 will be playing on a constant loop. On a recent MFF podcast we pondered what would happen if Home Alone’s Marv and Harry were swapped for Pulp Fiction’s Jules and Vincent. This random conversation made me realize that Marv and Harry were actually very successful criminals whose kyptonite was a precocious child who might be a sociopath. Their thievery was on point but when they made it personal everything fell apart. Revenge was their downfall and if you think about other revenge films (Oldboy, Gladiator, I Saw the Devil) their quest to get even leads to nothing good. Marv and Harry took their eye off the original prize and allowed themselves to be foiled by a bird lady and an old man with a large shovel.

Home Alone shovel gif

They got so focused on Kevin they weren’t even looking for the old man with a shovel. Classic revenge trope.

If you are looking for a quick Home Alone refresher this honest trailer is perfect.

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The following post examines the moments when Harry and Marv weren’t around Kevin. When they weren’t foolishly running headlong into pain they actually proved themselves to be solid criminals. I’m not saying they were good people because they were obviously troubled human beings. They try to murder a child, maliciously flood people’s homes and they have no problem stealing from toy stores. However, if it weren’t for a pesky kid they would’ve been living the high life on a beautiful island.

  1. They successfully robbed and terrorized the suburbs in Home Alone.

Harry showed up at homes dressed as a police officer in order to check out security systems and occupancy. In one foul swoop he learned about the locks and automatic timers on the lights. He  made sure to know the whereabouts of the families before he stole from them. This is an experienced move and proves that the Wet Bandits knew what they were doing.

Home Alone harry

The Wet Bandits capitalized on Christmas vacations.

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2. They escaped from prison in Home Alone 2

It is very difficult to escape from prison (Think Shawshank Redemption) let alone actually escaping from the ensuing manhunt (think The Fugitive). If you think about cinematic prison breakers they are intelligent people who played the long game and succeeded. I love that Marv and Harry took advantage of a riot (did they start it?) and somehow made their way past gates, locks and bard wire fences. How did they get in that fish truck? I find it impressive that they were able to go from Chicago to New York undetected.

Fish Home Alone 2

 

3. Their planning, execution and robbery of the toy store was inspired.

They knew the store would have unmarked cash on hand so they hid and waited to rob the place when no one was around. They fooled everybody except for a pesky kid. I love how Harry broke down the robbery.

The only stores that will have cash on hand are ones that deal in moderately priced goods. Ergo, what stores are gonna make the most cash on Christmas Eve that no one is gonna think to rob?

Harry’s question shows self-awareness and an ability to think in depth about easy targets.  I think it is a pretty great plan that involves zero death or hostages.

Home Alone 2 toy store

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4. Marv is such a good thief that nobody notices him stealing from them

It takes a pro to rob from unsuspecting skaters. Marv ingeniously fashions a sticky hand and he clothes himself with extra layers (scarf, mittens, ear muffs) via stealing from unsuspecting skaters. It takes a lot of skill if you think about it. He steals artices of clothing and nobody notices! It is so blatant (like their daytime robberies)  it works perfectly!

Home Alone 2 Marv

Marv stole the scarf and mittens. Soon he will steal some ear warmers. The guy is a pro.

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5. They have a laid back repertoire and prove they can come up with some pretty great Christmas songs about stealing things. 

If you watch the Home Alone deleted scenes you get a look into Marv and Harry’s relationship. They don’t come across as dumb or bumbling. They come across as two thieves that know each other pretty well and have an easy charm. Also, they have a pretty firm grasp on how great they are at stealing things.

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6. Marv speaks French and understands coffee cup etiquette. 

This might be a stretch but his Marv ends up speaking French before a woman slaps him in the face in Home Alone 2. It shows he has unexpected depth and an elementary knowledge of various languages.

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If you watch this deleted scene he has pretty great coffee cup manners. He holds his pinky out like a boss.

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I know it is all their fault but I find it amazing that they never die.

7. They are virtually indestructible.

Nothing can kill them.  These guys should have been dead multiple times and it proves  they have an inhuman pain threshold. I love what Roger Ebert had to say about the traps in Home Alone:

When the burglars invade Kevin’s home, they find themselves running a gamut of booby traps so elaborate they could have been concocted by Rube Goldberg – or by the berserk father in “Last House on the Left.”

Home Alone 2 gif

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Marv and Harry totally deserved their jail time and beatings. However, these two men could have been special thieves if they hadn’t made it personal with a tiny child.

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