Christmas Classics: Home Alone

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Home Alone

Directed by Chris Columbus

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

In 1990 there weren’t too many movies that the whole family enjoyed as much as Home Alone. The film directed by Chris Columbus who would later direct the fist two Harry Potter films. The real magic might have come from John Hughes who wrote this holiday classic. At the time this film was released Hughes had already been behind classic coming-of-age films like The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. This film was also the major breakthrough in the career of Macaulay Culkin. It also starred Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Candy, and Catherine O’Hara.

The house is in chaos as the extended family gathers in the McCallister home in preparation for a Christmas trip to Paris. Somewhat forgotten Kevin (Culkin) has struggled for the little attention he can get in the crowd. As tension spills over into dinner Kevin is sent to the attic for the night. The following morning the family leaves for Paris one child short. As Kevin wakes up he finds himself home alone, just as he had wished for.

Meanwhile two stupid thieves are casing the neighborhood waiting for families to leave for the holidays. Harry (Pesci) and Marv (Stern) have planned to strike it rich as the “Wet Bandits” in this upper-class neighborhood. They didn’t count on Kevin being home when they got to his house. More importantly they didn’t count on his commitment to protecting his home. The battle of wits begins as Kevin’s mom (O’Hara) struggle to get home to the son she left behind. The holidays will never be the same for any of the people involved.

This is a great movie for the family to watch during the holidays. Despite the impossible premise the film is full of great moments typical of John Hughes writing. Culkin made his name in this film as he showed us exactly what a kid would do if they suddenly found themselves alone at Christmas.

The work of Pesci and Stern is classic as well. They manage to be the best bungling burglars ever seen on the big screen. They play off each other wonderfully as they find themselves in a house of pain.

The film also carries a great message wrapped in comedy. The film is really about the love a mother has for her son and the importance of being with someone you love during the holidays. I would strongly suggest spending some time with this film during the Christmas season. I give this 3.6 out of 5 stars. The film earned Oscar nominations for Best Score and Best Original Music thanks to John Williams.

Rating: PG

Running Time: 103 minutes


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