For me the one movie that has always been Christmas viewing is Home Alone. Other then being set at Christmas there isn’t much Christmass-y about the film.
Still this and its sequel are two films that I watch religiously at Christmas time and Christmas just doesn’t feel the same without them.
I don’t think I need to remind anyone of the story of this one. One of the most famous movies in the world I believe. The story of a kid who was left alone over the Christmas period by accident and has to save his house from two inept robbers.
Macaulay Culkin plays Kevin McCallister the unlucky child who was left to fend for himself and Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern play the two home intruders (Harry Lime and Marv Merchants.)
Not only is the film extremely funny and intelligently done but it has a really lovely story running through it and shines a light on families and unconditional love and a mothers love.)
You might ask how could they possibly have got on a plane without realising that they’d left one of their children behind? Well this is the first part that showed it intelligently done. The reason behind it is simple, glaringly silly but also scaringly possible. It is as simple as a kid from the neighbourhood accidentally being counted in a head count determining whether or not all the kids are there. Having two van loads of adults and kids means that no one would bother asking where Kevin was, and then rushing to get on a plane means that they were too busy to realise not everyone was boarding until it hits the mother on the plane when it was too late.
We see the struggles that Kevin goes through as well. For such a young kid he goes from realising that he has a whole house to himself to having to figure out how to fend for himself (even a visit to the local shops) to having to save his whole home.
The traps he creates were clever but still simple in their ways. When he made them up you see how obvious each and every one of them are but you’d never think of doing it yourself. The results are some very funny slapstick moments starring the two main adults.
The whole time though you keep getting a glimpse into the angst of his mother doing her best to get home to her son at ever more difficult odds. Especially after a argument with her son it hits her hard having forgotten him. Seeing that the leaving him behind was done so well you always manage to keep feeling sorry for all the family.
So where does the Christmas come in?
As I said it is set at Christmas but the one thing I always noted was the family message. You see I hated family Christmases and I’m happy I get to decide whether or not I attend now I’m a adult. Home Alone’s beginning moments shows one reason I hated it. No one ever agrees, everyone is being themselves which rubs someone else off the wrong way, you want those sausages over there well tough because someone already ate them. Arguments, scuffles and tears.
At the beginning you can see why Kevin might hate his family but by the time he’d spent a few nights alone he was really missing all of them, regardless of how they’d treat him. You see because families don’t tend to mean it. Sometimes you have a really rotten family member who is just a dick but a lot of the time you’ll argue and make up within hours and its all good again. Christmas really is a time to spend with family and the thought for this kid of spending his Christmas on his own got to him. He genuinely seemed happy to see every single one of them show up right at the end.
It is probably Culkin’s best known hit and a film that I don’t think has aged a bit. It is still as funny and fresh as it was when I was a kid.
It also shows just how easy it is to be targeted by people. It shows just how easy things can go wrong for you. It is shows that you should never go to bed on argument because you don’t know what’ll happen by the time you wake up.