Every kid has dreamed of having the house to themselves. Under the control of their parents, they are often stuck under a constant schedule of pressure of how to eat, play, and sleep. A kid’s life is not much easier then an adults. I myself have fantasized about being by myself in my house. I felt that by being alone, I could do whatever I wanted. Once given the privilege at nine to do so, I celebrated. I ran around and played until I got board. It was that day I learned that it’s not the solitude that made my happy, it was my parents that did so. It was because no matter how much I enjoyed myself, I still missed them.
If you were a little kid, how would you feel if suddenly you had the house to yourself? Many kids would probably be scared, but not young Kevin McCallister. He treats the house like his own castle in Home Alone. Written by the late John Hughes, this was further expansion from his usual writing of high schools and teenagers. This was the beginning of a period of family comedies all from the same man. It was a big classic from the nineties, so how does it hold up?
Going back to the story, it starts in a middle class, suburban home somewhere outside of Chicago. The McCallister family, including the extended family is getting ready to fly to Paris the next morning for Christmas. With a lot of people in the house, it’s easy to feel left out. Young Kevin McCallister (played by Macauley Culkin) thinks that his life would be better off without his family, as his brothers and sister tease him and has to take responsibilities. After getting grounded for ruining dinner, he makes his wish.
When an misunderstanding causes the family to leave without him, Kevin thinks that his wish came true. Looking all over the house, he realizes that everything seems a lot emptier then usual. At first, he’s shocked, but then he remembers about the constant pressure, and has a change of hearts. He then proceeds to do whatever he wants from jumping on the bed to eating giant ice cream sundaes while watching gangster movies. His happiness turns to fear when he overhears two burglars, Harry Lyme (played by Joe Pesci) and Marv Merchants (played by Daniel Stern), are planning to break in. Kevin proceeds to set up booby traps to stop the men.
Home Alone is one of the first movies I have memory of seeing in theaters. Having observed it again, I actually feel like that this is a nice Christmas movie. Aside from the slapstick (which gets more then a couple of laughs), the movie makes a great point on the importance of having family around the holidays. Not only does Kevin grow up a little by taking more responsibility and facing his fears, but he learns that the cost of having everything is losing the love. This film may be over twenty years old, but it still holds up well.
I’ll give this four and a half paint cans out of five. Both funny and sentimental, this remains in my heart as a modern day Frank Capra style story. It addresses a good holiday issue without becoming too sentimental. Home Alone is a great watch.