MOVIE REVIEW: “Home Alone” stars Macaulay Culkin (The Good Son , Changeland), Joe Pesci (Raging Bull, The Irishman ), Daniel Stern (City Slickers, The Wonder Years [1988 TV series]), Catherine O’Hara (Schitt’s Creek [TV series], Best in Show), John Heard (Awakenings, Big), Roberts Blossom (Escape from Alcatraz , Close Encounters of the Third Kind), Angela Goethals (Jerry Maguire, Spanglish), Devin Ratray (Nebraska, Kimi), Gerry Bamman (The Secret of My Success, The Bodyguard), Michael C. Maronna (The Adventures of Pete & Pete [TV series], 40 Days and 40 Nights), and John Candy (Spaceballs, Planes Trains and Automobiles). It is directed by Chris Columbus (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Mrs. Doubtfire) and written by John Hughes (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Breakfast Club).
Kevin McCallister (Culkin) is accidentally left home alone when his family leaves for a vacation in Paris. Now he’ll have to defend his residence from two scheming criminals looking to loot the place.
“Keep the change, yah filthy animal.”
It’s that time of the season folks: Christmas is upon us! And what better way to spread Christmas cheer than popping in a few classics to share with friends and family. Tonight, we’re particularly studying “Home Alone,” that one holiday flick where a boy has to defend his house from oddball robbers. How will he do so? By putting them through a series of treacherous (and debatably fatal) traps. Nothing spells Christmas like spilled blood.
For those of you who haven’t seen this movie (of whom I’m sure are a sparse number), this is a Christmas classic for a reason. It’s led by a bright and ever-so-talented Macaulay Culkin, who carries the show with great humor and sincerity. He’s the poster child for Christmas, with the iconic hands-on-face scream reminiscent of the famous painting. The concept itself is very fun, with a strong sense of humor and heart that only John Hughes can provide. His collaboration with Chris Columbus is a dream team, as Columbus is a champion of child directing and knows how to capture warmth within the frame. Though Kevin’s situation is horrifying, there’s such great fun throughout the venture, shown particularly through the blocking and framing of scenes. All in all, it’s a very well-made feature from a technical standpoint.
Watching this one as an adult, it’s easy to see the crumbs laid out. Or rather, the set-ups and pay-offs. It’s what happens as one gets older and sees a specific film numerous times. “Home Alone” is on every December and at this point I can see Hughes’ script within the frames. It’s a structurally sound movie that is well-paced; I don’t think it misses a beat. He balances out comedy and drama well, with notable moments showing the strength of both. My favorite scene has to be Joe Pesci’s character getting his head set on fire by a blow torch; it’s hands down the best shot of the entire film (and has me in stitches every time). If anything, the issues with the story more so deal in how unrealistic situations can get, or how straight cartoonish the third act plays out, as the robbers themselves are battered to a point where they should be dead (or on the brink). However, this is rather nit-picky, as these rather insane instances never disrupt the tone of the film.
One element that should certainly be mentioned is John Williams’ brilliant score. It breathes life into this picture. Truthfully, I couldn’t imagine “Home Alone” without the man. And given the portfolio of Williams, I’m quite surprised he hoped on this movie; I guess he wanted to do a Christmas flick. With him helming the music, we were gifted such beautiful renditions of “Carol of the Bells” and “O Holy Night,” with a main theme that is so iconic one could not misplace it. Listening to the music while writing this review sends me back and provides such warmth to my heart. It’s one of his best scores.
Overall, if you haven’t seen this and are curious, “Home Alone” lives up to the hype. It’s such an entertaining, heartwarming film with a strong theme of family. The movie is chock full of iconic and funny moments, culminating to an action-packed third act that lives up to expectations. It never disappoints every year, and certainly earns it spot as a replayable feature. If you haven’t seen it – or have yet to this month – I recommend it. FINAL SCORE: 97%= Juicy Popcorn
This movie has been inducted into The Juicy Hall of Fame.
Here is the trailer:
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