Since it's Christmas time, I think it's appropriate to review one of the most well-known staples in Christmas films, Home Alone. I loved this movie when I first saw it back in the very early 90's, and throughout my childhood, I related to Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) really well, being a “little brother” myself (and that at the time, I loved cheese pizza, just like Kevin). However, when my teenage and adult years came around, it was time to get more critical since logical thinking became more dominant in my mind.
The McCallister family is getting ready to fly from their Chicago home to Paris before Christmas. The night before the family leaves, Kevin gets into a fight over pizza with his older brother, Buzz (Devin Ratray). Kevin gets punished for instigating the fight and causing a big mess, and in a fit of anger, wishes that his family would disappear. After the power gets knocked out that night, the family is running late for their flight and forget about Kevin in the rush. All the while, a pair of burglars, Marv (Daniel Stern) and Harry (Joe Pesci), known as the Wet Bandits, have their eyes set on robbing Kevin's house.
While not perfect, I thought the characters were well done in this movie. While I'm not really a fan of Macaulay Culkin, I thought he was good as Kevin in this movie. Kevin is a believable kid, since he generally hits the “right spot” in between overly likeable and being an annoying little brat. He's generally a good but misunderstood kid, but can show signs of selfishness.
John Heard and Catherine O'Hara are good as Kevin's parents, Peter and Kate. They're shown as parents who seem to be a little cold towards Kevin, but deep down, they really do love and care about him.
The supporting cast was decent as Kevin's other family, and it's funny to think that Michael C. Maronna played one of Kevin's family members (Maronna would later become Big Pete in the classic Nickelodeon show The Adventures of Pete & Pete). Roberts Blossom is great as Marley Murphy, a man misunderstood as a bad guy, but turns out to be a good person.
Pesci and Stern are quite good as Harry and Marv. Unlike a lot of family comedies revolving around a kid outsmarting the bad guys, Marv and Harry are actually pretty convincing as burglars. They show to be menacing and believable in how they act before their “showdown” with Kevin. Despite being victims to Kevin's creative traps, they're shown to be a little smart and ruthless at times, and these don't feel forced.
The humor in this movie is quite solid. Of course, the funniest parts of this movie are when Marv and Harry try to break into Kevin's house, unsuspecting of Kevin's traps. Some of the funniest moments in this phase of the movie are when Marv accidentally steps on a bunch of Christmas ornaments with his bare feet, when he accidentally steps on a nail with bare feet, and when Kevin puts a tarantula on Marv's face, causing him to scream like a little girl.
Even before the phase of the movie where Kevin faces off against Marv and Harry, there's still some good humor to be found. Some examples are of the scenes where Kevin puts aftershave on his face, causing him to scream and when he goes to see a local Santa Clause, and you see this Santa smoking and ranting about getting a parking ticket.
I would have given this movie at least a percentage in the 70's, but after analyzing some of the logical fallacies in this movie, I had to bring the rating down a notch in order to give all of you a more fair and balanced review.
Some of the biggest logical flaws in this movie are when Kevin pranks the pizza guy into thinking someone is shooting at him and the other is when he sets up the traps in his house. The former in that it's pretty odd that the pizza guy didn't call the cops after the incident, though he might have been really scared to report it to anyone. The other in that Kevin sets up some pretty messy traps in the house, such as the tar-lined staircase in the basement. Did Kevin even think of how he could clean that up?
The cinematography in this movie is splendid. Julio Macat captures lots of great imagery of winter suburban Chicago and even of Paris in some scenes. For a family-oriented Christmas film, these clean, pristine images are perfect.
John Williams's music for Home Alone is very good. Many of the instrumental compositions in this movie are almost Christmas time staples nowadays, and they stir up all the right emotions.
The choice of more “traditional” Christmas tunes wasn't bad, either. They sound good and fit the movie like a glove. I'm glad the Chipmunk Song wasn't used in this movie, as I HATE that song (though that's a different kettle of fish).
This is easily the best Home Alone movie in the whole series. While not mandatory viewing, Home Alone is a pleasant Christmas family film, and essentially John Hughes's last good contribution to cinema.
Here it is, folks, the only good movie in the Home Alone series. I initially loved this movie when I first saw it back in the very early 90's, and even after some more critical, analytical thought, it still holds up well. Despite some feelings of contrivance here and there (especially some logic issues, thus why I now rated it a 3 instead of an initial 4), the characters feel more believable and sincere compared to the second movie (and especially the third and … more
I hadn't seen this movie in years, but it's still hilarious. Home Alone is one of those classic comedies that will manage to make you laugh despite yourself. In fact, I'm surprised at how well it has worn the test of time. The movie is filled with great scenes and impeccable timing, sometimes approaching slapstick routines. The humor is good natured, but doesn't shy away from some curse words. Of course, Macaulay Culkin makes it all possible with his adorable acting and wisecracks ("I'm 10 years … more