Home Alone: The Birth of a Christmas Sociopath (Day #22)

By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6662336

Title: Home Alone

Release: November 10th, 1990

Director: Chris Colombus

Writer(s): John Hughes

Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Heard, Catherine O’Hara

*Warning, this review may contain spoilers.

We have finally reached the final five movies for this season! Woah, let’s just say that since we started as MiR back in 2013 (or so) I think this is the most we have ever posted in a single month, I hope you’ve enjoyed it! Anyways, with a classic as big as this, there is no reason that we couldn’t leave this one off of the list. Macaulay Culkin, you may continue to entertain us in your foray into the podcast world, but you won us with your 90s childhood antics. We need to leave you Home Alone more often.

If somehow this classic (or all of its sequels) slipped under your radar, Home Alone tells the story of Keven McCallister (Culkin) who is left Home Alone after his entire family leaves on a Christmas vacation. Now left entirely to his whims, Kevin falls into numerous antics that any child would with that kind of freedom…until the fire nation attacked. I mean, just think if that actually happened. Instead, Kevin as to deal with “The Wet Bandits”, a pair of robbers (played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) as they try to rob his family home. We see the birth of a psychopath as Kevin defends his home with a series of traps in increasing levels of pain. Will he succeed and protect his home? Will “The Wet Bandits” succeed and make off with a sweet score? Next time on…Home Alone!

Talent At The Helm

Home Alone has plenty of promise just looking at who was involved in the process. With Chris Columbus behind the camera and John Hughes behind the pen/typewriter, there would be plenty of movie magic on the horizon. With those two at the helm, it allowed Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, as well as the McCallisters (John Heard and Catherine O’Hara) to shine. While Culkin obviously steals the show, being the center of attention throughout the film, both Pesci and Stern make a hilarious force against Culkin. Home Alone is an interesting movie for Pesci to be involved in, as he normally doesn’t dabble in this light of a family comedy.

What if Home Alone Was a dark black comedy?

Macaulay Culkin’s journey as an actor has been incredibly interesting to watch, especially since many would say his career peaked as Kevin McCallister.  Culkin feels like the embodiment of Kevin McCallister, letting his personality shine through the cracks and line in Kevin’s development. Culkin’s wisecracks and camera screams are on point and well-executed, making us laugh each time that Kevin is left by his parents. Even if Kevin McCallister may become a sociopath in the future, the absurdity yet the efficiency of his home defense network surprised me and made me smile even 15 years later. If you are interested in what Macaulay Culkin is doing now, check out his Bunny Ears podcast.

Suspend Your Disbelief

Part of what makes Home Alone great is that it thrives on the feeling of childhood innocence of the 1990s. This does lead to a few of the film’s weaker more emotional moments, but they still work due to Hughes’s brilliant sentimental writing. Hell, part of the plot B/C story follows Kevin as he befriends(?) a neighbor on his block, who he believes murdered his family or other children. This is just childhood gossip of course, as the neighbor and the son he kills has just become estranged over the years. This is just how a child in the 90s could interpret the situation. The neighbor’s appearance and actions don’t help the situation, but since he follows an 8-year-old boy, we are going to see the situation through his eyes.

The core theme of childhood innocence provides us an intriguing look at Home Alone‘s interpretation of violence. Colombus and Hughes bank on families and other audiences suspending their disbelief and just losing themselves in the movie magic. Yet pull back the wool over your eyes and you see just how cartoony and ridiculous the level of violence actually is. Even though the traps are set up by an 8-year-old, they are comically brilliant and fit into the carefully crafted blend of family comedy and hilarious suspense. Sure, Home Alone is ideally a family film, yet this could easily be cut and remade into a delightful Christmas horror romp. That is the remake of Home Alone we need.

A Christmas Standard

Home Alone falls into the category of beloved, must-watch 1990s movies, even pushing past the Christmas movie barrier. Through Home Alone, Colombus and Hughes were able to influence and entertain the minds of families and their children all around the world, perhaps even changing the family genre entirely during that time. While I personally still believe there are much more enjoyable Christmas comedies out in the ether, I understand why Home Alone is such a mainstay within our world. Actually, if you are interested in seeing how influential Home Alone has been over the years, check out the reception it has received almost 30 years later.

Is Home Alone a Jigsaw Killer origin story?

Thanks for reaching the end of the article! This piece is apart of our Modern Neon Christmas Bonanza, where we are looking at 25 of our favorite or well-known Christmas movies.  So click through to see the previous and next movie, or go back to the home page to find your favorite movie!

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