Thursday, December 15, 2011

Childhood Christmas Classic

Home Alone
Director: Chris Columbus
Cast: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, Catherine O'Hara, John Heard, John Candy
Released: November 16, 1990

Oscar nominations: (I had no idea this movie was nominated for any Oscars; probably because I didn't start watching the Oscars until 1995-ish).
Best Score - John Williams (lost to John Barry for Dances with Wolves)
Best Song - "Somewhere in My Memory" by John Williams (lost to "Sooner or Later I Always Get My Man" by Stephen Sondheim from Dick Tracy)

I'm going to try to make it a tradition to review at least one holiday movie around this time of year. Two years ago I reviewed Elf, last year I reviewed Love, Actually and this year I opted for a favorite of mine from my childhood. I remember seeing Home Alone in the theaters and just thinking it was the funniest thing ever. I still think it's pretty funny (the whole gag with the statue outside the house always falling down when it's hit by the airpot shuttle or pizza delivery car never fails to make me giggle and I love the scene with the pizza delivery boy and the video. "Well, sir, you have to pay for your pizza!") I have to wonder, though, if I would still like this movie if it came out in this day and age.  It came out when I was  in fourth grade, so of course I was the target audience for it. Obviously the entire cast would be changed as they would all be too old and there would be little changes made to make it more current. It's funny because I was watching the commentary with Chris Columbus and Macaulay Culkin (which they recorded about five years ago) and they sort of joked that if the movie were made today, it would be over right before the family gets to the airport because with all the security measurements they would never make it on the plane, especially if they just had minutes to spare. Not to mention that they would all have cell phones to contact Kevin. Macaulay also joked that he wouldn't be in it because he was 26, unless he was living in his parents' basement and they forgot him on their trip to Paris. Who knew Macaulay Culkin was so funny?

How bad of a mother is Catherine O'Hara in this? I mean, who forgets their own child when leaving for a trip? I do think the movie does a good job of making it as realistic as possible. Yes, most mothers would not forget their own child, but for the sake of the movie, they do set it up as you can see why they just forget about him. First, there was fifteen people in that house (which looked like it could hold about 100 - that is a really nice house). Then we have it set up where Kevin gets in trouble (and I can totally empathize with him for having an older provoking brother) and has to sleep upstairs in the attic alone. Then there's a storm and the power goes out and everyone wakes up late and is in a mad dash to the airport. And of course we have Kevin's neighbor friend come over and he is accidentally counted as Kevin. (I loved that kid - "Does this van get good gas mileage? Does it have four-wheel drive? Does it have automatic transmission? How much horse power does it have?") So I can see how it's possible they would forget about him. The one thing that didn't really make any sense was after Kevin's mom lands in Paris and gets in touch with the police back home and they send an officer over to check on him. It didn't make any sense that he didn't say he was the police and didn't go in and check to see if the kid was hurt or something. But I guess if that had happened, the movie would be over.

I mentioned earlier how funny I thought this movie was when I was a kid and it still makes me laugh but it's only now watching it as someone older and wiser do I realize what a warped little kid Kevin was. (Maybe it was watching Angels with Filthy Souls). Some of the things Harry and Marv have to endure when they attempt to rob Kevin's house are almost things Jack Bauer would think of to torture terrorists! The blowtorch to the head, the hand touching the hot knob, the hot iron in the face, the bare foot on the nail (oh, that scene always makes me cringe), and the bare feet stepping on those glass ornaments. Not to mention both of them falling down the icy steps.

I don't know how Kevin cleaned up the house because his mother (and the rest of the family) arrived home the next morning. He must have been up all night - or maybe he called a cleaning service! I always get a little teary-eyed when Kevin is reunited with his mother and well as when he sees his scary neighbor reunited with his family and when he's walking outside and sees a happy family together at Christmas and he's all alone. It's so sad!

I think Chris Columbus is a little clueless. Here is a funny exchange between him and Macaulay during the commentary. (And remember, the commentary was filmed around 2006-07).
Columbus: I think he went on to be in a popular kids' show (referring to Kevin's red-headed brother, Jeff).
Culkin: Yeah, The Adventures of Pete and Pete.
Columbus: Is that still on the air?

Is Pete and Pete still on the air? Is he serious? Dude, Michelle Trachtenberg was on that show before she was on Buffy and she first joined that cast in 2001! Trust me, it's been awhile since Pete and Pete has been on the air. (It ran from '93-'96 according to IMDb). That just made me laugh.

To go back and answer my own question about whether I would like this movie if it came out in this day and age? Probably not. It wouldn't have the nostalgic factor!

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful soundtrack by John Williams for "Home Alone", starring Macaulay Culkin. And wonderful song, "Somewhere in My Memory".