Monday, December 14, 2009

Home Alone

Kevin is lost in the shuffle when his Mom & Dad invite his entire extended family to stay at his house the day before they all leave for Paris for Christmas. When they accidently leave him at home they don’t discover the blunder until they are on their flight to Paris and it will take days to get a return flight. While alone Kevin believes he’s wished his family into oblivion and enjoys his new freedom, until two oafish thugs start to burglar the homes in the neighborhood and Kevin realizes his house is next and he has to defend it.

I remember seeing Home Alone in the theatre at a child and absolutely adorning it. The thought that I could set such grand, screwball trap at my house and outsmart two adults was absolutely the coolest thing ever. The best part is that as an adult I am able to watch Home Alone and still enjoy it thanks to the formidable talents of John Hughes.

Hughes had a way of finding the human, universally relatable elements in his characters no matter their age. This film is almost Planes, Trains & Automobiles for children, and the themes and humor play to children and adults alike. Hughes makes Kevin at once annoying and loveable, he’s a confused kid who comes to realize he should be careful what he wishes for and Kevin’s mother is domineering and nurturing, the mother that disciplines her child and regrets it – something every kid wants and something at most point most parents feel when they go too far with a punishment. This movie is as much about the bond between family, and learning to appreciate is as it is about the Wet Bandits, homemade traps, and caring about your neighbors.

Perhaps what’s best about this film is unlike too many film and television shows from start to finish Kevin is a child. He may have momentary insights in how to cope with situations, or flashes of inspiration but he is not spouting wisdom and intelligence well beyond his years. Kevin is not a boy genius; he uses micro machines and toys in his homemade booby traps and escapes to his tree house, and in the end still needs to be rescued by an adult.

John Hughes was a master at what he did. The only thing that could have made Home Alone more of a classic than it already is would be if Hughes had directed instead of merely penned the script.

Director: Chris Columbus
Writer: John Hughes
Kevin McCallister: Macaulay Culkin
Harry: Joe Pesci
Marv: Daniel Stern
Peter McCallister: John Heard
Kate McCallister: Catherine O’Hara
Gus Polinski: John Candy

Kate: This is Christmas. The season of perpetual hope. And I don't care if I have to get out on your runway and hitchhike. If it costs me everything I own, if I have to sell my soul to the devil himself, I am going to get home to my son.

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