There's no shortage of turkey in Tinseltown as far as we know, but there does seem to be a very limited supply of Thanksgiving-themed movies floating around to get us all into the spirit of the hearty holiday.
One such is "Dutch," though, and it's the near-pinnacle of Turkey Day hysteria fare (gotta give the edge to "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" overall, but that's for the Rated R crowd).
It's basically got the perfect not-always-kid-friendly level of edginess and realism and manages to somehow redeem a
snotty little sh-t character that was no more likable than the "I made my family disappear" monster that was Kevin McCallister when we first met him.
This long-forgotten '90s-tastic gem of a road trip flick is so hilarious, frustrating, feel-good and full of body-slamming high jinks that it essentially works as the alternate universe "Home Alone."
Because, for starters, our "protagonist" (if you can call him that) is also a pre-teen know-it-all loner who's so pissed off and miserable and mean to everyone around him.20th Century Fox
Doyle (Ethan Embry) may not live in an attic, and he's got no siblings, but his boarding school classmates sub in as recipients of his wretchedness on the reg.
His mom -- also a redhead, BTW -- is the most frequently disrespected one of all, just like Mrs. McCallister.20th Century Fox
Kevin was staring down the barrel of a family holiday in Paris and couldn't be pleased, so he was definitely bad -- THE WORST -- but little Doyle just can't stomach the idea of spending Thanksgiving with his own mom Natalie (JoBeth Williams) because she's not born with blue blood like the rest of the Standishes. Gross.
The circumstances have changed, but they're both playing a vicious game of cat-and-mouse with grown-ups.20th Century Fox
In Kevin's case, they're serial burglars preying on a nice neighborhood in the Chicago suburbs, but for Doyle, he's got a would-be step-dad Dutch (Ed O'Neill) who wants to force him to trek home for the holidays against his will to please his ma.
In both cases, these boys are grossly underestimated by the adults.20th Century Fox
The McCallister house became a den of booby traps designed by an evil little mastermind with the intent of torturing and trapping, and eventually turning in the robbers. And while Doyle's foils weren't as elaborate, and sometimes not even intentional, there were still a lot of YIKES moments to be had in the movie.
"You might be the toughest little whacker in junior high, but in my world you’re about as worrisome as a cloudy day," Dutch tells him, after being shot with a BB gun and getting his nose broken during their first encounter. But that punishment is quickly followed by a lit cigar to the nethers, an effective left hook, and a stunt which left his car completely totaled by a mack truck. Not to mention, all those hits to his "working class ego." OUCH.
There are also some direct imagery nods to "Home Alone" scattered throughout the movie.20th Century Fox
Considering this was also a product of the late, great John Hughes (who wrote and produced the pic), there were some clear nods to his other early '90s holiday pic. Like the feathers and the burnt jacket and the fireworks and becoming acquainted with something a little above his age range (in this case, naughty playing cards).
Then comes the redemption.20th Century Fox
In "Home Alone," Kevin makes nice with the next-door neighbor whose snow-shoveling scared him so and coaxes him into calling his long-lost son, and aha! We like him now!
Same thing goes for Dutch. Eventually, he's tortured his mother's beau to a breaking point, but when he threatens to call it quits with his mom to "spare her this life of misery," Doyle caves and realizes that he doesn't actually hate her. One sympathetic experience at the local homeless shelter, and suddenly Doyle's so much less of a hellion.
He (eventually) totally rises to the occasion.20th Century Fox
"I'm the man of the house." That was the moment when Kevin decided to buck up and stand his ground rather than calling the police (though he probably should have), and the same thing happens with Doyle.
Instead of letting Dutch retreat back to his blue collar existence and calling his mom to pick him up, Doyle decides to finish the final leg of the journey home like a man and even sticks up for Dutch against some brutal rent-a-cops who stand in their way.
The happy family conclusion also has an "oh but wait" moment.20th Century Fox
Dutch and Doyle eventually make it home, and after a showdown with the liar liar pants on fire that is his dad -- his "business trip to London" was actually just an excuse to spend the weekend in bed with a lady friend -- they have dinner as a family. Happy happy joy joy ... but then Dutch whips out the BB gun and decides it's time to exact the revenge he promised in the very beginning. The final cutaway, then, is a moment of cutesy confusion, just like Mr. McCallister's surprise-yell for "KEVIN?!" at the tail end of "Home Alone."