Home Alone (1990) - An 8-year-old boy, who is accidentally left behind while his family flies to France for Christmas, has to defend his home against idiotic burglars.
This post is part of Nostalgiathon 2012, a blogathon created by Andy at Andy Watches Movies and Misty over at Cinema Schminema. The purpose of Nostalgiathon is to relive things from your childhood through the eyes of an adult. For more information on how to get involved, click here.
Home Alone is produced by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus. The film stars Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister, an eight-year-old boy, who is mistakenly left behind when his family flies to Paris for their Christmas vacation. While initially relishing time by himself, he is later greeted by two would-be burglars played by Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci. The film also features Catherine O’Hara and John Heard as Kevin’s parents.
A few days ago, I asked you all what your favourite Christmas movie was. The majority of people chose Home Alone as one of their favourites, so I’ll keep the plot details light on this review, as I would assume we all know what this film is about by now. It’s maybe not a film that I would ever have expected to have reviewed on here, but sometimes blogathons offer the opportunity to join in and do something a little different. I thought I would take advantage of that and talk about my (joint – with Elf!) favourite Christmas movie and the memories I have about it.
First things first, for the sake of anyone who has never seen Home Alone, I’ll give you a few details. So, the night before their flight to Paris for the Christmas holiday, the whole McCallister family gathers at the Chicago home of Peter and Kate McCallister. Their eight-year-old son Kevin (Culkin) is ridiculed by his siblings and cousins. After an argument with his older brother Buzz, Kevin is sent to the third floor of the house, where he wishes his family would disappear. During the night, a power outage resets the alarm clocks and causes the family to oversleep. In the confusion and rush to reach their flight on time, Kevin is left behind and the family does not realize it until they are already airborne.
The next morning, Kevin wakes up to find the house empty and is overjoyed with his new freedom. This is about the moment my younger self used to get really jealous, and I doubt I’m alone in wishing they were having the fun and freedom Kevin was having! Shooting with Buzz’s BB gun, watching gangster films, and eating nothing but junk food.
Out to ruin Kevin’s fun are The Wet Bandits, Harry and Marv, criminals named for Marv’s tendency to intentionally flood the homes they rob. The pair are robbing the area’s vacant homes and have targeted Kevin’s. This is when the film goes all Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner as the robbers desperately try to break into the house, and Kevin fends them off with a house full of tricks and traps.
Roger Ebert actually criticised the plot of this movie, and despite being one of the most loved Christmas movies, it’s IMDB score is surprisingly lower than I thought it would be (7.3/10). I’m stunned really, as I was never looking for plot holes and inaccuracies in this film, I always enjoy it way too much (that’s why I’m no Ebert I guess!) As a kid growing up I wanted to be just like Kevin, and even watching the film back now I’m amazed at not only how good it still looks, but also just how well the overall movie holds up in every department. The acting is great, the traps and characters are brilliant and inventive, but most of all the humour is still relative and funny. I’m a huge fan of John Hughes and his writing, and seeing John Candy in this is always a treat.
I watched Home Alone on VHS several times a year growing up, and as soon as I was lucky enough to get my own DVD player I treated myself to a better looking copy. I still watch it yearly now, normally around this time of year as to me it’s the perfect Christmas movie.
As well as growing up wishing I was Kevin, I always loved the bad guys, especially the little one. Who would have thought that a film out in the same year as Home Alone would become my favourite movie of all time (Goodfellas) and star the same little guy (Joe Pesci)?! Whilst it was a few years after Home Alone came out until I saw Casino (and Pesci, again), as I explain on my ‘About Me‘ page Casino was the film that really changed my views and opened my eyes in terms of cinema. To then realise that the psycho from Casino & Goodfellas was the burglar I used see so often in Home Alone, man, what a nice surprise that was and that’s probably one of the reasons I still hold Home Alone in such high regard.
I loved Home Alone so much I even had the video game on the Sega Mega Drive. I was never very good at the game. Unlike now where if you are struggling you can just hit up YouTube to help you, I used to just ride around the neighbourhood on my sledge not knowing what the hell to do. If I was lucky enough to get in a house, I used to run around and pray the burglars never robbed the same house. If only I could play it now…….although, judging by the graphics, I have been spoiled by our current generation consoles as these images look terrible! Still, at the time they were incredible!!
Since I’m writing about the movie, whilst I don’t want to go on too long, I’ll finish off with some cool trivia I found out years ago and has always stuck with me.
Joe Pesci kept forgetting that he was filming a “family” movie during his characters on-screen outbursts so director Chris Columbus advised him to say “fridge” instead of the “F-word”.
Robert De Niro turned down the role of Harry.
Maybe either the best or the craziest piece of trivia surrounding Home Alone is the Elvis Presley rumour. Keep in mind that at the time of Home Alone (1990), Elvis Presley would have been 55 if according to some people his death was merely just a hoax.
Make up your own minds on this one…….interesting none the less and there are pages and pages dedicated to this image all over the internet. Always found this an amusing story.
That’s it, there are my memories of Home Alone. Not a traditional review, but just a few of my thoughts on one of my all time favourite movies.
Merry Christmas, you filthy animal! (Home Alone 2, but close enough)