Holiday Character Cage Match: A Christmas Story's Ralphie vs. Home Alone's Kevin
Posted 12.25.12 by Ryan
Every December, it seems like there's nowhere to hide from the endless onslaught of holiday movies. With the holidays already in full swing, holiday movies are playing on TV and home entertainment centers everywhere. Even if one is trying to avoid holiday movies, the cast of Christmas Vacation is popping up in Old Navy ads during commercial breaks. Clearly, the time for a Holiday Character Cage Match has come.
There are plenty of characters that could have been used, of course, but, since the holidays seem to mostly belong to children, we thought it best to throw two of cinema's most beloved holiday movie kids into our cybernetic cage for an all-out, Mano-y-mano, take-no-prisoners, holiday brawl. While we all have our favorite holiday movies, it's time to put aside your sentimentality and vote for a champion: A Christmas Story's Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) vs. Home Alone's Kevin (Macaulay Culkin).
The Rules: Don't make an emotional decision. Sure, you may like one movie over the other, but we ask you to consider the individual characters before making a decision. Furthermore, we'll try to keep the evidence to the first movie. Yes, A Christmas Story 2 does exist (and, ironically, co-stars Home Alone's Daniel Stern), but we'd prefer to ignore it, if it's all the same.
Ralphie's Strengths: Rage. Don't be fooled, Ralphie may look sweet and innocent, but bubbling inside his bespectacled face is a deep-seated anger, one that surfaced when he finally took down the neighborhood bully, Scut Farkus. Ralphie is already jaded after deciphering what was only an Ovaltine advertisement from his favorite radio character, Little Orphan Annie, and was made to put on full-body rabbit pajamas, so, if he hadn't received his Red Ryder BB gun, who knows what depths of fury Ralphie would have launched into?
Ralphie's ability to lie in the face of danger — such as the "icicle" trick — also belies a somewhat duplicitous nature that could come in handy. Especially if the cyber police show up to the Cage Match.
Ralphie's Weaknesses: Considering that Ralphie's never ending desire to get that BB gun, you'd think he'd be a better shot. Sadly, he isn't. Oh, he's deadly accurate in his daydreams, but, unfortunately for Ralphie, Black Bart isn't real and neither is his imaginary marksmanship. Still, there's always accounting for luck, something Ralphie has proven he has — at times.
Another weakness could be his tummy. One need only look to Ralphie's Old Man to see what kind of man he might become, and, while he's still only nine years old, he will likely suffer from the same outrageous lust for turkey as his father, making him an easy target should someone spring a trap using a half-cooked, oven-roasted, holiday bird. That is, if the worms don't get him first.
Kevin's Strengths: Obviously, Kevin's survival instincts are his biggest asset, considering he managed to take care of himself after his parents left him home al...er, by himself during the holidays and, in another improbable lapse of good sense, New York. Kevin not only embraced his fate, he reveled in it, though loneliness did have a habit of catching up with him.
Kevin is extremely resourceful as well, as evidenced by his many booby traps created by his toys and random household items like irons and paint cans and in using movie dialogue to make it sound like he's not alone. Kevin even did this in the VCR era, where achieving acute accuracy when rewinding and fast-forwarding a video tape was difficult. In terms of a Cage Match, such a skill seems like a last resort to think about, but it's worth noting.
Kevin's Weaknesses: Most people might consider this a strength, since Kevin did defeat the Wet Bandits, aka Harry and Marv (Joe Pesci and Stern, respectively), but really, outsmarting the world's stupidest criminals really isn't all that impressive — even if he did twice . Besides, Kevin wouldn't even have defeated the Wet Bandits the first time if it wasn't for "Old Man" Marley and the timeliness of his shovel (he needed help from the pigeon lady in Home Alone 2 as well, but we're breaking our own rules by bringing it up).
Ultimately, Kevin's booby traps make for good pratfalls, but aren't as effective as he'd like them to be and, should they fail him yet again, he'll have to lean hard on his ability to survive to get him through.