|This article is about the original 1990 movie. You may be looking for the 2021 Disney+ original reboot.|
This article is dedicated to John Hughes (1950-2009).
Home Alone is a 1990 American family comedy film directed by Chris Columbus and written and produced by John Hughes. The film features 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 known as the Wet Bandits played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern. Kevin eventually manages to outwit them with a series of booby traps. It is widely considered to be one of the greatest Christmas films ever made. The film also features John Heard and Catherine O'Hara as Kevin's parents. The film was very successful and stared a franchise with five sequels: two theaterical films, two direct to DVD/made-for-TV films, and a reboot of the franchise releasing directly to Disney+ in 2021 with the second film being the only sequel to have most of the original cast reprise their roles.
When 8-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) accidentally acts up the night before a family trip to Paris, his mother (Catherine O'Hara) makes him sleep in the attic. After the McCallisters mistakenly leave for the airport without Kevin, he awakens to an empty house and assumes that his wish to have no family has come true. But his excitement sours when he realizes that two burglars Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern) plan to rob the McCallister residence, and that he alone must protect the family home.
Why It Gets Left Home Alone In A Good Way
- The idea of an 8-year-old boy who is mistakenly left home alone by his family and has to protect the house from two bumbling burglars is pretty entertaining.
- Memorable moments such as the Angels with Filthy Souls film-within-a-film, the entire House defence sequence or Kevin messing around the home after realising his family left.
- Solid acting from most of the cast with Macaulay Culkin doing a great performance as Kevin McCallister.
- As mention on WIR#3, Kevin McCallister is pretty much a likable and memorable character of all time and he has a lot of character development. He is a rambunctious eight-year-old with a penchant for creating harmful inventions, until he met Harry and Marv, and he must protect his own home and he did it successfully.
- Harry and Marv are also absolutely hilarious and make superb partners in crime. They have perfect compatability with Harry being the arrogant, but somewhat intelligent one, with Marv a cautious but easily frightened person. Despite their stupidity, they are competent and determined villains.
- The use of foreshadowing in the film, such as Kevin's passport accidentally being thrown away and the props for the booby-traps being seen in the basement, is brilliant.
- John Williams' musical score is brilliant, as it's one of the best scores to come from a Christmas movie.
- Plenty of well composed musical numbers that are well remembered: The timeless song, "Somewhere in My Memory" and the song "O Holy Night" is very emotional and beautifully sung by a church choir.
- Memorable and funny lines, such as "Kevin!", "Why the hell are you dressed like a chicken?", "Keep the change, you filthy animal!", and "Kevin, what did you do to my room?!"'
- A beautifully emotional ending that ties up all the loose ends.
- The booby traps, despite their deadly and dangerous nature in real life, are very memorable, especially the blowtorch, the burning doorknob, the broken ornaments, and the paint cans.
- A few characters are unlikable:
- Kevin's siblings and cousins are very unlikable, especially his oldest brother Buzz (Devin Ratray), who is more of a verbal bully, mostly resorting to name calling. Examples of these include calling Kevin a phlegm wad, as well as making barfing actions when he bullies Kevin into believing that he (Buzz) has eaten all the cheese pizza that he was supposed to share with him.
- Kevin's Uncle Frank (Gerry Bamman) is also highly unlikable, perhaps a bit more than Kevin's siblings. He treats Kevin unfairly in comparison to his brothers/sisters, like when he doesn't let him see a gangsters movie that his siblings and cousins are seeing (though to be fair the movie probably wasn't for Kevin's age) and as shocking it sounds, he calls him a "little jerk" in front of the whole family during the pizza dinner scene and neither Kevin's parents, his own brother, and sister-in-law, call him out for this. He even pantses Kevin to tease him in a deleted scene.
- Furthermore, Frank doesn't seemed to be worried when he finds out Kevin was left Home Alone.
- The film can make it look that calling the police is not a good option when you're in trouble, as demonstrated when a cop is sent to the McCallister residence to check Kevin and because Kevin doesn't open the door, he assumes that there's no one at the house and dismisses Kate's concerns by simply recommending to count her kids again. He's an 8-year old kid. Someone give this man the Annual Award for Most Competent Cop of the Year.
- While most of the swearing is fine and well implemented into the film, some of it is rather suggestive and a bit too much for a PG rated film, and in one scene, Marv says the word "shit" when he realized that his shoe fell off his foot and later got worried about it, which is rather out of character and just came out of nowhere from Marv's mouth resulting in it coming off as inappropriate and a bit too foul for PG rating standards, especially since the film is aimed at families only.
- Only Kevin's parents and siblings returned home at the end of the film while the cousins, uncles, and aunts remained in Paris.
Home Alone received very positive reviews, with praise for its cast, humor, and music. On Rotten Tomatoes, Home Alone holds an approval rating of 68% based on 62 reviews and an audience approval rating of 80% based on 250,000 ratings, with an average rating of 5.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Home Alone's uneven but frequently funny premise stretched unreasonably thin is buoyed by Macaulay Culkin's cute performance and strong supporting stars." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, it has a score of 63/100, based on 9 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.
Home Alone grossed $285.8 million in the United States and Canada and $190.9 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $476.7 million, against a production budget of $18 million.
Awards and Nominations
Home Alone was nominated for 2 Academy Awards: "Best Original Score" by John Williams and "Best Original Song" for "Somewhere in My Memory". Macaulay Culkin was nominated for a Golden Globe for "Best Actor", but lost to Gerard Depardieu in Green Card.
- The movie is still being aired during Christmas eve even today.
- Buzz's ugly girlfriend is actually the director's son wearing a wig and girl clothes, as the director refused to add an actual girl during that scene as he felt it would be very mean.