While those films will surely endure, Home Alone has since turned into the butt of numerous jokes. (Literally: It's used as a fabulous gag in an episode of Kids in the Hall during with Scott Thompson is asked to watch a movie by his boss. His response: "Home Alone???" Turns out it's a porn tape starring Thompson.) Indeed, Home Alone is now the fallback film for anyone looking to pinpoint the decline of cinema as art.
But money talks, as it always does, and over the last 16 years it has been reimagined as hot just a comedy classic but a holiday classic. The film takes place during Christmas, but it's really almost incidental to the plot. In case you've never seen it 12 or so times like everyone else, it's a movie about a kid named Kevin (Macaulay Culkin in the role that would haunt him forever), who is forgotten by his family when they jet to Paris for the holidays. Unfortunately, two thieves (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) have been casing the neighborhood and are aware that the family is gone. Well, they're supposed to be gone: Kevin then turns the tables by orchestrating a series of tricks and traps to torture them into leaving. Hilarity ensues (at their expense).
Tragically, watching this all again today with a critical eye reveals that Home Alone's prat-fall humor has gotten completely worn out. The film relies on two things: Stern and Pesci getting injured, and Culkin mugging for the camera. Take a shot every time Culkin screams, full-faced, into the camera, and you'll pass out before the movie's over. Even my daughter got bored halfway through and started asking, "When is Santa going to come?" Never!
With regular airplay on network and cable and what is now (by my count) the 14th DVD edition of the film (a record, as near as I can tell), my opinion is obviously in the minority here. Go rent the movie. Watch Culkin put aftershave on his face and scream. Watch Pesci's head get set on fire. Giggle if you must. I doubt it'll feel the same as it did back in the winter of 1990.
The current "Family Fun Edition" DVD includes deleted scenes, alternate takes, the complete "Angels with Filthy Souls" footage, countless making-of featurettes, commentary from Columbus and Culkin, bloopers, and an odd "Where is Buzz Now?" featurette, about the fate of the film's token bully/brother.
Run time: 103 mins
In Theaters: Friday 16th November 1990
Box Office Worldwide: $476.7M
Distributed by: Twentieth Century Fox
Production compaines: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Hughes Entertainment
Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 54%
Fresh: 22 Rotten: 19
IMDB: 7.4 / 10
Director: Chris Columbus
Producer: John Hughes
Screenwriter: John Hughes
Starring: Macaulay Culkin as Kevin, Joe Pesci as Harry, Daniel Stern as Marv, John Heard as Peter, Roberts Blossom as Marley, Catherine O'Hara as Kate, Angela Goethals as Linnie, Devin Ratray as Buzz, Gerry Bamman as Uncle Frank, Hillary Wolf as Megan, John Candy as Gus Polinski, Larry Hankin as Officer Balzak, Kristin Minter as Heather, Jedidiah Cohen as Rod, Ken Hudson Campbell as Santa, Kieran Culkin as Fuller McCallister, Michael C. Maronna as Jeff McCallister, Billie Bird as Woman in Airport, Bill Erwin as Man in Airport
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