Merry Christmas Everyone, Film Viewers and Filthy Animals Alike! Fun fact: A relative of mine is an elementary school teacher in Ajax, and last year it was the final day before Christmas break and her class voted on a movie, and this was the winner. Not because it was a favourite. Not one of those kids had ever seen the one and only Home Alone. They only watched it because they heard a buzz about it, pun intended, and when it was time to go home for Christmas break, there was still a few minutes left in the film, and none of them wanted it to be over. That’s how in love with the movie they were. Very few kids would want to stay in a classroom longer than they need to, especially in those times.
Home Alone is a Christmas classic about a family of fourteen, or three families put into one whole house who are going to Paris at the McCallister’s father Peter’s Uncle Rob’s apartment. It’s the night of December 22nd, and the youngest of the family, or second youngest compared to Fuller, Kevin, is bummed out because he’s seen as incompetent throughout the family because he’s not allowed to watch a film because of stingy Uncle Frank and no one’s offered to help him pack his suitcase. When he grows up and gets married, he’s living alone (so I guess he’s going to get divorced and allow his kids to be with his wife?) After this family of his seems to have either ate up his favourite pizza or didn’t order him any, he causes an accident that spills pop over some of the pizzas and, by coincidence, Kevin’s ticket is thrown away, and then by three different circumstances, Kevin wakes up thinking he made his family disappear and his mom is trying everything she can to get home to him. But Kevin’s doing just fine, until he realizes two burglars are breaking into houses across the neighbourhood while everyone else is on vacation, and he has to defend himself as they target his house!
Every child once or twice felt like Kevin McCallister. Feeling like no one respects you and you just need some well-needed independence. It’s every kid’s dream to goof around as they please with no one telling them what to or not to do. And it’s a joy to watch him take his new freedom to high but realistic goals, goofing around the way he never got to. He reminds us of how we felt the first time we had the house to ourselves and reminds us of how excited we are for the first time if we’re not old enough yet, and it’s even more fun when he realizes he needs to turn responsible. He cooks, he cleans, he kicks some butt, as the old poster says. He cuts a Christmas tree, orders himself pizza, and goes shopping. He even showers in a crazily hygienic way, minus the AAAAAAH! aftershave. And his innocent-game montage at the grocery store…priceless.
I also like how caring Kate (the always hysterical Catherine o’Hara) is towards her kid. I mean, every mother would be. Or should, anyway. It’s heartwarming how much she does just for him. Even if after Kevin tries to apologize for his accidental sabotage of dinner and Kate says, “Too late”, and you can feel the cloud and a wall possibly being built, plus you feel she needs to learn a little bit too, the movie somehow gets kids to sympathize with parents who might sometimes be too strict or not completely understand them.
Basically, I think the reason Home Alone has become such a classic is for, well, numerous great things, but two of them are for: 1) Its reminder of thrills and fear of the first time we were left home alone, and 2): It’s hilarious. I mean, the scenes where Kevin uses Angels with Filthy Souls… When he tricks the pizza guy…I heard from a guy that when he saw this at the theatre, everyone was laughing so so hard. No kidding. Home Alone also has several nice moments of showing family importance, especially when Kevin is walking to the church on Christmas Eve to see a family happy and together going to their house. Aaaaaawwwww. ;(
And the booby traps are loads of fun and laughs. Duh. I think that without the traps, this wouldn’t have been such a box office success over the years. I mean, kids and people like me watch a movie to laugh and for a big finale, and this movie has them. The traps aren’t too violent (unlike the second one, which is also a pretty top-class Christmas film) and even if Roger Ebert disagrees, I’d say they’re not so implausible that it would take thousands of dollars and a crew to make these sort of traps. With a bit of imagination and determination to defend your house, I’d say it’s quite solid.
I guess the only part I was dissatisfied with was when Kevin steals from the store. I kind of wish the cashier wasn’t a kind lady that called him “son”. And it’s kind of overly disheartening when he runs away from Old Man Marley earlier on in the film a little too in-your-face. Other than that, Home Alone is the perfect holiday film, and its first two sequels are quite the cookies of their own.
If you like this, I’d try National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation