'Home Alone' has succeeded in establishing itself as a Christmas
tradition, spawning off three sequels (including a made-for-television
flop), and a whole franchise in and of it.
Macaulay Culkin plays Kevin McCallister, the average American child. He has an attitude almost expected of a Chris Columbus film from the eighties. He lives with a large family, which, right now, being around Christmas time, is about quadrupled, flooded by relatives' children, all of whom pick on poor, poor Kevin (sympathy long lost later into the film).
One day Kevin wakes up from his sleep to find his wish has come true: his parents (John Heard and Catherine O'Hara) have disappeared. Enthralled by this, he proceeds to do everything and anything he was not allowed to do before, including eating ice cream in the morning, watching violent gangster films, jumping on the bed, wrecking his brother's room, and having some fun with a BB gun. Unfortunately for Kevin, his parents have not just disappeared - they have accidentally left him at home before going to Paris!
Trouble really starts when two pesky burglars, Harry Lime (Joe Pesci) and Marv Merchants (Daniel Stern), decide that their next burglary will be at the McCallister residence. Little do they know Kevin is more than prepared, arming the house with an array of booby-traps that would impress top spies in the American government.
John Hughes, writer/director/producer of my favorite comedy, 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles,' wrote this film, and it is no wonder. It is just like Hughes' humor. It mixes emotion, belly laughs and a warm-hearted ending all into one little bundle called a movie. John Hughes' films, in my experience, are usually very good, mainly because he approaches films at a very classic level. He doesn't resort to crude, kid jokes, like 'The Master of Disguise' or 'The Tuxedo,' to name a few recent flops. He almost always levels everything out perfectly in his scripts, and nothing is different here. Also, he places Kevin and co. in a large brick home in a large neighborhood in Chicago; a home that very much resembles those in 'Planes.' and 'Uncle Buck' (I would not be surprised if it is the same home).
As for the acting.
Macaulay Culkin is not at his best here. His best performance would have to be in an earlier John Hughes film named 'Uncle Buck,' where he had more of a cute charm than an acting charm. Here, he could barely act his way out of a plastic bag. Fortunately, with great performances by John Heard, Catherine O'Hara, Pesci and Stern, his bad acting is long forgotten by the time we become absorbed into the film.
John Heard and Catherine O'Hara bring Kevin's parents to life. They seem almost complete opposites. Kevin's father, Peter (Heard), is very calm and laidback. His mother, Kate (O'Hara) is extremely nervous almost all the time, fretting throughout the film. She is aggravated very easily and, like all mothers, her instinctive nature to care for her child is what drives her to the point she goes to in the film.
And then there's Pesci and Stern. My favorite lot of the film. They perfectly blend humor, pain and aggravation to the film.
Pesci's character Harry is very strict, easily agitated and picks on Marv for a great many things. Marv, the stereotypical 'tall, stupid one,' is completely stupid. He does things that would make a hamster blush. Yet he is the character I have found many like the most, mainly because he is so stupid you have to feel sorry for him. Stern brings a great trait to the character of Marv, and I am very pleased he got the part. It's a hard choice to decide which baddie is better, so I just say I like them both the same.
All in all, 'Home Alone' is probably the best Christmas movie to rise out of the film industry in the last twenty years. It seamlessly blends humor, pain, emotion, human instinct and some great booby-traps all into one little bundle. This film has stood the test of time greatly.
4.5/5 stars -
Action / Comedy / Family
Action / Comedy / Family
The McCallister family prepares to spend Christmas with Peter and Frank's brother Rob in Paris, gathering at Peter and Kate's home in a suburb of Chicago the night before their flight. Eight-year-old Kevin, their youngest son, finds himself the subject of ridicule from his siblings and cousins. After getting into an argument with his older brother Buzz, he is sent to the third floor bedroom 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 the airport on time, Kevin is left behind and the family does not realize it until they are already airborne. Once in Paris, his mother and father desperately try to book a flight home.Meanwhile, Kevin wakes up to find the house empty and is overjoyed to find that his wish came true. He takes Buzz's life savings, practices shooting with Buzz's BB gun, jumps on the bed, watches a gangster film, and eats a large amount of junk food. However, he finds himself scared by the appearance of the Chicago Police Department called by his parents to check on him, his next door neighbor "Old Man" Marley, who was rumored to have murdered his family many years earlier, and the appearance of The Wet Bandits, Harry Lyme and Marv Merchants, who are breaking into other vacant houses on the block.On Christmas Eve, Kevin overhears Harry and Marv discussing plans for breaking into his house that night. After conversing with a Santa Claus impersonator and watching a local choir perform in a church, he comes across Marley. The two of them talk, and he learns that Marley is in fact a very nice man and the rumors about him are not true. He tells Kevin he is watching the choir because his granddaughter is in it, and he never gets to see her because he and his son have not spoken in years after a big argument they had. Kevin advises him to reconcile with his son.After leaving the church, Kevin heads home and sets up various booby traps inside the house. Harry and Marv break in. After the two spring every trap in the house, Kevin flees to the second floor of the house and dials 911. They chase him out of the house and he flees to the vacant neighboring home. The Wet Bandits catch him when he runs to the top of the stairs and hang him on a coat hook on the door. Marley has sneaked up behind them and knocks them out with a snow shovel and takes Kevin home. Shortly after, the two burglars are arrested.Kevin wakes up the next morning and is disappointed to see that his family is still gone. He then hears Kate enter the house, calling for him. He goes downstairs and the two of them meet and reconcile. Immediately after, the rest of the McCallisters, having traveled directly from Paris to Chicago, arrive. Kevin keeps silent about his encounter with Harry and Marv, although Peter finds Harry's missing gold tooth and wonders what it is. Kevin and Buzz have a moment of reconciliation. He then goes over to the window and sees Marley greeting his son and his family. As he is hugging his granddaughter, he looks up to see Kevin. He waves at him and Kevin waves back, smiling. He watches as Marley heads inside with his family. However, Buzz interrupts him by calling out, "Kevin! What did you do to my room?" He immediately runs there and the film ends.
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August 11, 2014 at 12:18 AM