One year not long ago, I told a friend that I was watching Home Alone on Christmas Day. She was surprised, as she didn’t think of it as a Christmas film. True, a major part of the film is eight-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) single-handedly defending his home against Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern), who are the Wet Bandits, but the entire film takes place at Christmas! The theme of families and Christmas celebrations figure prominently in this slapstick comedy rated PG.
Kevin is the youngest of five children, and mistakenly gets left behind when his family flies to Paris for the holidays along with his cousins and aunt and uncle. The family hasn’t treated Kevin all that nicely, and he had made a bedtime wish that they would just disappear. When he awakens the following morning and they have flown off to Paris without him, he thinks his wish came true.
Kevin conquers his fears and becomes quite self-sufficient while his family is gone. The Wet Bandits have targeted his house as one of the choice homes to rob while people are away for the holidays, and the defense Kevin devises to protect his home is ingenious, complete, and very funny. Watching Marv and Harry as they make their way through Kevin’s booby traps makes me laugh out loud!
Kevin also makes friends with his scary neighbor, whose reputation has been fueled by tall and untrue tales of his murderous past. Both the neighbor and Kevin learn something about themselves and their families from each other. The neighbor reaches out to his estranged son and family as a result, and Kevin realizes that even though his family is not perfect, he loves them and would like them to come home.
This is a good movie, and I highly recommend it. Also featured are John Heard and Catherine O’Hara as Kevin’s parents, and a great cameo appearance by John Candy. Kevin’s mother and family are understandably upset when they realize Kevin is missing, and his mother’s quest to get home from Paris as quickly as possible results in her meeting the Polka King of the Midwest (John Candy). The writer and producer is John Hughes (remember his name?), and is directed by Chris Columbus who is now involved with the Harry Potter movies.
I’ll review the sequel to Home Alone another day.