Home Alone (1990) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

Home Alone (1990)

Twenty years ago a little movie called Home Alone came out and blew every other film out the water for the holiday season.   The movie was popular and sold because of a 15-minute segment of the film where young Macaulay Culkin beats the hell out of Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern.  The movie was a smash success and played in theatres throughout the Christmas season and into the next year.  After Easter, the film was still in the top ten and was on its way to becoming the biggest live action comedy in history.

I was 9 years old when the film was released, and I still remember the previews vividly.  Something with the slapstick violence and a main character that was close to my age and location really appealed to me.  I begged my parents to take me, and they finally relented during Christmas break.  The problem was I lived in a small town in a time where movies played on one screen, and when we tried to go, the film was sold out.  We tried again a second time and came away with the same result.  I was a heartbroken kid who kept hearing about the movie but couldn’t ever get to see this talked-about phenomenon.   When we finally lucked out after Christmas and was able to get into a show that was not sold out, I couldn’t wait to see THE GREATEST FILM EVER for myself.

When I saw the film, I liked the movie (it had funny parts throughout and I liked Kevin) and LOVED the” defend the house segment” of the film.  To a 9 year old, a movie taking its time to get to the “good stuff” which in this case involved maiming and beating on two dumb robbers was a test in patience.  From the ads running all the time on TV, and from the response of the kids who had seen the movie before me, I knew that there was violence to be had in the film and dag I wanted it now!  In subsequent viewings of the film, I would tune out the beginning of the film, fast-forward to the good stuff, or do something else until the end of the film.  It wasn’t until I was older and had much more patience, that I realized the film had become a classic Christmas movie for my generation and was a heartwarming film from beginning to end.

With twenty years of time between the film’s release and today, it is very hard to look at the film with fresh eyes.  We know of all the problems Culkin went through with his parents, we remember all the bad films he made.  Lackluster sequels did nothing but harm the originals reputation.  Even with all of this, when one watches the film again, it is very hard not to notice how damn charming Culkin is in this film.  If I knew that I would have to go to a film where a 9 year old is the main character and  is on the screen by himself for over 50% of the movie, I think I would cringe, yet Macaulay Culkin carries this whole film without a sweat.  There are few adult actors who could headline a film like this and be as funny and charming as he was in this. I don’t think he gets enough credit for this accomplishment.  Culkin, director Chris Columbus, and John Hughes should be applauded for taking a film that could have been a huge disaster and turning it into a Christmas classic for my generation and generations to come.

While people over the age of 35 might not understand the appeal of Home Alone, anyone who was 13 or younger when the film was released can tell you stories about seeing it and their experiences almost comes out as some sort of spiritual moment.  The film hits this age group in a certain way and has become part of the season for them.  One of my favorite things to do these days is to watch films through my daughter’s eyes, and I showed her this film last week.  She was interested in the movie but did not get into the movie until Daniel Stern falls down the stairs.  From then on she was howling with laughter, and the movie had her right where it wanted her.  A few days later, she came up to me and told me she had a “great idea.” I asked her what that idea might be and she said we should watch Home Alone again.  Twenty years later and the film is still creating new fans.

Posted by Ryan

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  1. I have always loved Home Alone as well! It’s so super crazy that it’s 20 years old already; I wrote an article to celebrate too!


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