Xmas: 'Home Alone' (1990) Dir. Chris Columbus
Every child's dream is to be home alone with no rules, no curfews and to eat all the junk food possible. And this idea soon became a Christmas classic thanks to John Hughes and co...
The night before their Christmas family vacation to Paris, the McCallisters have a frantic night, but not before 8 year old Kevin (Culkin) gets into an argument with older brother Buzz (Ratray) and is sent to the third floor of the house as punishment.
The next morning, thanks to a power cut, the family oversleep. In the ensuing chaos, they manage to race to the airport, catch their plane and fly out to Paris. However it’s mid-flight they suddenly realise they forgot one small thing – Kevin.
Now home alone, Kevin is the real man of the house. But local burglars Harry (Pesci) and Marv (Stern), have targeted Kevin’s house for a big hit and plan their heist. As the McCallisters desperately try to race home, it’s up to Kevin to defend his house from the burglars at all costs...
With plenty of silly moments and wonderfully funny set pieces, courtesy of the famous booby-trapped finale, this delivers lots of heart in a story full of witty and charming moments. It made an international star out of Macaulay Culkin, and it's easy to see why at just 10 years old. He delivers everything you’d expect from a little one home alone; joy, sadness, fear, confidence and pride.
Coupled with fine support from Catherine O'Hara and John Heard as Kevin's parents, who head the family and their chaotic race back to America, this is a wonderfully family orientated film. From spending too much time together, from NOT spending enough time together and then bickering, laughing, fighting and valuing each other, this film has it all which we identify straight away from the opening scene. The chaotic family Christmas is made more relevant and easy to slip right into the frantic world of the McCallisters, something we can all find a moment to relate to.
When the jokes and mad-cap fun and games of being home alone settle, we have some really nice tender moments seeing how scary the world can be for a child who has to learn to grow up far sooner than they should. Branded as a shop-lifter by accident, learning to conquer the fear of his basement and navigating a supermarket are all shown here in a nice way, but Culkin and the others convey a real sense of isolation and sadness away from the joy of the season that heightens how much family is important at this time of year.
BUT Kevin has much more time to raise smiles with his cheeky ways at fending off the ‘Wet Bandits’ time and time again, and his inner-monologues as he discovers adult pleasures such as eating as much junk food as you want, looking at nude Playboy pinups and using Dads aftershave are also a relatable sight!
And kudos to the dastardly duo, our ‘Wet Bandits’, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern (who has THE best scream on film ever). They easily make the film something memorable with their imposing little and large appearance and their toe-curling, painful suffering at the hands of Kevin in the finale, which has nothing to do with ‘Skyfall’ thank you very much. They’re a great comedic pair and work so well together; Pesci being the brains, Stern being the oaf. And we have no swearing or no graphic violence – family comedy CAN be just as effective without it, or they could be back in the 90s anyway.
With a brilliant festive soundtrack, wonderful dead-pan performances and a very original premise and full of memorable one-liners and action sequences, this works its way up to be a real classic Christmas family film.
'Home Alone' is a Hughes Entertainment production