2009 Holiday Movieathon
Written By: John Hughes
Staring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, Catharine O’Hara, John Heard, Roberts Blossom, Angela Goethals, and John Candy
Ma’am, I’m eight years old. You think I would be here *alone*? I don’t think so. -Kevin
Let’s be honest. Home Alone is not the greatest film in the world, but like a lot of John Hughes work is has a tangibility that gives anyone the opportunity to connect and care about the characters. Along with over the top, yet fun slapstick comedy, this Christmas comedy is still regarded as one of my favorite holiday movies to watch. I was nine years old when it was released and I was just the right age to connect with Kevin, and even today when eating pizza I often say, “A plain cheese pizza just for me!” There is never a moment to take a breath in this busy flick, and in spite of some of it’s mean spirited behaviors, it is an incredibly entertaining film that has lasted the generations.
I never liked the idea of Kevin being martyred for being a victim when clearly he was a spoiled brat, even though continuously provoked by those around him. Even when I was young I kept kind of waiting for the moment when there would be some reflection about that, and there was a pay off in that sense, missing the family that had so wronged him. But I still always remember waiting for him to essentially “get his.” As an adult this is amusing now.
I won’t deny that there are outright stupid moments. The idea of the parents actually leaving one of their own kids is ridiculous, but the concept was set up about as well as could be to make the rest of the plot viable, and so it becomes merely acceptable for the rest of our film to progress. I still find the part where the Mom calls the police station to be one of the failures of the movie. The dismissal of the Moms hysterics, and the lack of concern for a kid being home alone while his parents were in Paris is too much to stomach for even a kid.
The slapstick comedy is a lot of fun and original and both Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern sold it ten fold. The duo really give the film the extra integrity it needed to be entertaining. They were awesome villains that were intimidating but really not too scary for a family movie. Culkin dishes out some timeless one liners, and taking control of his situation and fighting the big bads that want to take his house is an Epic conclusion to a very well paced build up. To the final showdown there is a relentless amount of fun moments, like eating massive amounts of ice cream for dinner, to watching gangster movies, that Kevin quickly realizes really is too adult for him.
How Kevin manages to maintain himself without a family touches both sides of a kids glory with freedom, but also the sadness and reflection of loneliness. Kate McAllister, trying desperately to find her way back home is the counter to Kevin’s exploration of freedom. By the time the trip with John Candy arrives her hope seems genuine and John Candy pushes these emotions forward by using his unique ability to emote any feeling in a way that cuts right to you, while still making you smile.
Home Alone may not be a masterpiece in film or as well put together as Scrooged or It’s A Wonderful Life, but it has rightfully earned a spot in the better end of Christmas movies over the yeas. It’s simplistic entertainment, for the whole family, with an awesome soundtrack that will get you in the spirit regardless about your feelings about the film. I admit my feelings about it are largely based around nostalgia, but that’s what I love about certain Christmas or Holiday films. They take you right back to being a kid and feeling that magic again, if only for a brief moment. It wouldn’t feel like Christmas to me without watching this movie at least once.