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Home Alone: The Complete Collection

A 1990 movie directed by Chris Columbus and written by John Hughes.

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A childhood favorite that holds up pretty well. 66%

  • Dec 25, 2012
Rating:
+3
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.

STORY

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.

CHARACTERS

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.

HUMOR

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.

LOGICAL FLAWS

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?

CINEMATOGRAPHY

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.

SOUNDTRACK

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).

FINAL WORD

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.

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December 28, 2012
Everything you said is very much true but this is one of those movies that when I watch I am still able to turn off all logic. Great write up.
December 28, 2012
Thanks dude. For the sake of being fair, I had to rate this a +3, though I still like this movie enough to give it a +4.
 
December 27, 2012
this was such a hit back then when I was a kid, these days, it doesn't grab me at all. Still, good fun from the first movie, did not see any past # 2
December 27, 2012
This seemed like the only Home Alone movie that had any sincerity to me, which is why I still find some enjoyment out of it. The second one absolutely reeks of cash-in syndrome.
 
December 25, 2012
This is one movie I used to watch constantly back when I was a kid, sometimes twice in one night iirc, lol. It still remains a pretty hilarious movie. Love the expression on Joe Pesci's face when he's under the blowtorch :)
December 25, 2012
Same here, man. This was the one "kid up against bad guys" movie that I actually like, and yeah, Pesci's expression when his head is torched is a hoot.

Merry Christmas, dude!!
December 26, 2012
Thanks! You too man!
 
1
More Home Alone (movie) reviews
Quick Tip by . December 24, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
Quick Tip by . September 25, 2010
Another classic comedy but what you saw in all the commercials is saved all for the end.
review by . January 02, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
Quick Tip by . November 25, 2009
A must-watch holiday film that brings every boy's fantasy to life. Daniel Stern gets the crap kicked out of him too.
About the reviewer
David Kozak ()
Ranked #22
I'm a morbid cynic who thinks very, very differently from most other people. Chances are, if the majority says X is the greatest in its category, I'll disagree with that notion, because I tend … more
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Details

Director: Chris Columbus
Genre: Action, Comedy, Family
Release Date: November 16, 1990
MPAA Rating: PG
Screen Writer: John Hughes
DVD Release Date: October 14, 2008
Runtime: 103 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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