Home Alone (1990)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!!

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Home-Alone video game

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.

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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) :)

9 stars

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57 thoughts on “Home Alone (1990)

    1. Tyson Carter Post author

      No worries Andy, cheers for letting me a part of it. The game had to get a mention really! I was tied between doing this or Elf for your project, as I needed an excuse to review it so it fitted in somehow on my site. :)

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        1. Tyson Carter Post author

          I was gonna post my review of it either tomorrow or Saturday, so I will do it the same as this then. Plus, when I get my ‘other work’ page sorted both reviews will be forever linked back to you and Misty. Everybody wins, keeps it all in order :) Thanks dude, I will double my nostalgiathon quota :P

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  1. Pingback: Nostalgiathon Blogathon – Introduction | Andy Watches Movies

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  4. mskatykins

    What a cool review and I LOVE the trivia! :) Never knew that Presley thing, but that’s really cool! :) There are so many amusing moments in this film, I think that Hughes is just really great with the dialogue! :) And I totally get why Kevin is so pissed off at his family, they treat him like crap. Sometimes it really sucks to be the youngest (I can relate to this!). Also never knew about the Mega Drive game, that’s well cool… Nice review. :)

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    1. Tyson Carter Post author

      Thank you!!!

      I hoped someone would enjoy the triva. I love a good conspiracy, so thought I would throw it out there. :)

      Love John Hughes, and John Candy is basically playing his Planes, Trains & Automobiles character which is great. The dialogue is excellent I agree.

      The game whilst looking terribly dated now, was such great fun even though I sucked at it! Thanks for stopping by :)

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      1. mskatykins

        Ha, you should see if you can play it again. Do you still have your old stuff? We have a friend who collects old Mega Drive games. A couple of years ago he let me play his Aladdin game which was the only one I was ever okay at as a child. Such good fun! :)

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        1. Tyson Carter Post author

          No sadly no longer have it. I did play Aladdin though, flying round on the rug :)

          I recently played Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64, a game I worshipped back in the day but now was pretty disappointing!

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    1. Tyson Carter Post author

      Cheers Ryan! Yeah, especially as he was either filming or just finished/started his work on Goodfellas. Daniel Stern actually says ‘shit’ accidentally and they left that in :)

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  5. ckckred

    I used to watch this religiously when I was a kid. I haven’t seen it for a few years, so I’ll have to check it out again. Nice review.

    Also, that trivia about Joe Pesci was pretty interesting.

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  6. fernandorafael

    Nice review, man. I loved this movie and its sequel as a kid (onlyy one sequel, OK? The other ones don’t exist, ew) but it’s been long since I watched them! I always fantasized about being in a similar situation to Kevin’s, one of complete freedom.

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    1. Tyson Carter Post author

      Cheers Mark! Maybe I have made this Elvis stuff up………if only I could delete all the pages dedicated to it, I could lay claim to it before his mental fans come and tell me off for stealing their myth!

      Hope you were better than me on the game, I want to get it back just to see if I’m better now I’m a proper gamer :)

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        1. Tyson Carter Post author

          Sure you commented somewhere about the year you were born……or something along those lines……if I’m mistaken I apologise. You look 18 in your gravatar pic so its a tricky one :)

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  7. sati

    Awesome post! For me Home Alone is as important on Christmas as the Christmas Tree – you can’t really celebrate the holidays without them.

    Awesome that you like Casino so much, I could watch it on repeat all the time. Pesci is such an amazing actor, no matter what genre he does.

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    1. Tyson Carter Post author

      Thank you!!

      Thats how I feel, it’s an essential watch this time of year.

      Great to see another Casino lover. It’s the film that shaped my cinema passion, and I still watch it several times a year. Pesci is the greatest psycho you could ever wish to see in a movie :)

      Thanks for stopping by Sati

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  8. Carly

    Great review. I’ve never heard the Elvis rumour before! Love this watched it last week and it still makes me laugh. You forget just how good Macualay is when so young. I never had the computer game but did have board game of the film I loved! I too pretend 3 & 4 don’t exist but like 2 it’s based in one of my favourite cities at my favourite time of year.

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  9. Pingback: Elf (2003) | Head In A Vice

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