Home Alone (Chris Columbus, 1990)
Kevin McCallister (Macauley Culkin) is an eight-year-old boy that was left alone in his house when his family flies to Paris for their Christmas vacation. In the meantime, the wet bandits, Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern), have planned to rob Kevin’s house during the night before Christmas. But they don’t know that he is an ingenious little brat that will be a pain in their ass.
One of, if not, the most succesful box-office comedy of all time, Home Alone written by John Hugues and directed by Chris Columbus, would be the debut of a highly profitable family franchise. Starting from an very improbable idea, a kid let alone at home during the holidays, well every kid’s fantasy to be alone and do whatever he wants, the story of the young Kevin has marked many kids of its generation. Being almost the same age as Kevin back when I saw this film with my babysitter during the summer of 1991, I remember laughing and having such a great time.
However, with time and an avid void to fill for films, my tastes evolved and I can honestly say that I still enjoy this movie as an entertainment and with a nostalgic feeling. While knowing that its narrative and its splot are far from being flawless. But in this case, it is the flaws and naive situations that makes its charm. The freedom that the writer takes to lead this child, Kevin, as a resourceful kid that takes two not so bright villains.
It brings us back to a question where the family entertainment should start to be intelligent and where should it stop itself from being an easy way to make more money for the studios? With writer John Hughes the formula was there and he knew how to have a script that will connect with the common person and entertain his audience. Even if it’s far from being Christmas Vacation, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Home Alone still have this something that characterizes his successes. It would have been interesting if he directed himself the script to see how he would have rendered it to the screen. Just like for Christmas Vacation, the directo ris much more like the studio’s operator more than its author and this is why John Hughes is discussed here more than Chris Columbus is.
Finally, John Williams’ score is one of the most iconic Christmas soundtrack of all time and his rendition of classics has passed through time. Overall, it is another cult classic of the holidays that I must revisit every year just like Christmas Vacation, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Gremlins, and a reread of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.