I’m going to cover the first two Home Alone films here because they’re the only two that matter and as you will learn, they are the same exact movie with slight differences.
Home Alone starts off at the McAllister household in suburban Chicago. They are a wealthy family which is good because they have a large family. For some reason it’s always “funny” for Hollywood to make movies about large families. I find nothing funny about refusing to use birth control. The worst thing about this family is probably that half of them are gingers. One of them is also Michael Marona, Big Pete from The Adventures of Pete & Pete. Gingers had very little access into Hollywood back then so he actually got a lot of work whenever they needed someone with his crippling hair deformity to take the reins.
(This is one of the last scenes from the second movie so I’m getting a little ahead of myself here, but it’s the best picture to show all the ginger hair)
The McAllisters are preparing for a trip to Florida or the Bahamas. I can’t remember which it was. Somewhere I have no real interest in going because the cultures are loud and “fiesta-like” plus I got sunburnt the other day from getting the mail. I would never last.
The main character in the film is Kevin played by Macauley Culkin. He gets in a fight with his family on this evening then wishes they didn’t exist. He wakes up the next morning to see that they’re all gone. This wasn’t some mystical thing that happened. A neighbor with the same hat as Kevin was in the van looking at stuff when they did a head count. What kind of a family needs to do a head count? Shouldn’t they be able to just look really quickly and notice a loved one is not around?
(Kevin McCallister likes to scream at things)
While his family goes off on their Christmas vacation, Kevin lives it up in his large house. He does things like orders pizza and sleds down the stairs. I really do believe this film captured strongly the same fears and joys I had when I was younger, if only because this film inspired me to think that way. Kevin is afraid of the furnace downstairs and he loves pizza. I was always afraid of furnaces and I loved pizza. A main theme of the film was fear of strangers and adults. I’m terrified of everyone in the world. Thank you Home Alone for making me completely antisocial.
Not all is fun and games for Kevin. Two burglars, Harry Lime and Marv Merchants (yes I knew their full names without having to look them up) are in the neighborhood going under the moniker “The Wet Bandits” because after they rob a house they leave all the faucets on to drown out the place, just to add insult to injury. They are played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern and they’re great characters. Harry is the smarter angry of the two while Marv is more cowardly and dumb. They were a great duo and it was a shock for me to see Joe Pesci in anything else when I got older.
(I never understood why these guys were friends. Did they ever just hangout and watch TV together? This should have been more clear)
Eventually Harry and Marv attempt to break into the McAllister house. Kevin scares them off a few times using pranks, but they soon realize he’s the only one home. Kevin talks with a creepy old man in the neighborhood who is always shoveling snow, Old Man Marley, and gets advice on life. Kevin rushes home, eats macaroni and cheese, then booby-traps the house. The last half hour of this film is possibly in my top 10 climaxes and I’m including orgasms in this list.
Kevin thwarts the bad guys then makes a run for it, but gets caught. Harry says he’s going to bite off Kevin’s fingers then Old Man Marley comes in and rescues him. Everything ends happily ever after and Kevin apologizes to his mother who the entire time had been trying to get home to see him after she didn’t realize he was there until midway through their flight.
(This sums up all the booby trapping Kevin did on the house. Ha, I said booby)
The second film is the same thing except it takes place in New York City. Subtle differences like Kevin getting on the wrong flight and staying at a hotel instead of his house in New York are present. Instead of Old Man Marley there’s “the pigeon lady” who nobody has ever bothered to learn the name of. Unlike Old Man Marley who has a house and an estranged daughter and granddaughter, the pigeon lady lives in the attic above an orchestra theater. I’m not sure how she got up there. Maybe she’s like a mouse and doesn’t have solid bones. Again, she ends up saving Kevin when it appears he’s a goner.
Other classic scenes include when Kevin uses footage from old gangster films to fool trespassers that there’s a fight going on inside and a man has a gun. This happens in both films which I don’t mind because it was that great. Tim Curry is also in the second one. He walks in on an inflatable clown in the shower thinking it’s Mr. McAllister. Kevin uses a sound recording from his uncle of him saying “Get out of here you nosy pervert” and it scares Tim Curry off which must be hard to do because this is Tim Curry. He’s played some of the most frightening characters of all-time.
Home Alone and Home Alone 2 are necessary to watch in life as far as I’m concerned. The heroes, the villains, the random characters, the jokes you miss when you’re young, the music, the story, the theme, the lessons, everything about it makes these two films the perfect kid’s film.
I don’t think it would be crazy of me to say this is one of the best kidz showz pieces you’ve written. It made me lol a couple of times (fiesta-like, the orgasms joke, the pigeon lady having no bones) excellent work.
I know you’ll be ashamed of me, but I’ve never seen Home Alone 2. I’m a purist and have only seen the first one. But I’ve seen that one maybe 20 times.
I’m glad you mentioned all the highlights. And that part where Kevin eats macaroni and cheese. I liked that part.
Thanks! I somehow didn’t even notice you commented on this until right now. The best Kidz Showz pieces are the ones that take no research. That’s more than I can say for my future Hey Dude post.
You should see Home Alone 2. It’s very much the same, but has a few more really good parts. They redo the whole gangster movie scene too. And don’t you like Tim Curry?