by Kevin Carr
|| MOVIE: **** (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5 stars)
Macaulay Culkin as KEVIN
Joe Pesci as HARRY
Daniel Stern as MARV
John Heard as PETER
Catherine O’Hara as KATE
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Directed by: Chris Columbus
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Forget the grown up Macaulay Culkin. Forget his drug bust. Forget his eerily loyal defense of Michael Jackson. Forget his bizarre high-school marriage to Rachel Miner. Remember him from the good old days when he was grilling the late John Candy in “Uncle Buck.”
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“Home Alone” was the little film that could in 1990. It came out of nowhere to gross more than expected front-runners “Pretty Woman” and “Dances with Wolves.” It was the textbook example of a sleeper hit which found an audience in young and old.
The reason “Home Alone” was so good was because it was honest with itself. It ended up being a huge movie, but it was still made to be just a simple family Christmas movie. This is also the reason why its subsequent sequels could never live up to the original.
The film tells the story of young Kevin McCallister (Culkin), a nine-year-old boy whose family accidentally left him at home when they left in a rush for a vacation in France. At first, Kevin thinks it’s party time (as much as a nine year old outside of Hollywood could party), but soon he learns to take care of himself. While his mother (Catherine O’Hara) frantically tries to get home to be with him, Kevin must defend his house from two bumbling burglars.
“Home Alone” is director Chris Columbus at his best. These were the days when he was still under the wing of John Hughes, long before he fell into mediocrity and made gut-wrenching movies like “Bicentennial Man” and “Stepmom.” These were the days that he was not too far from writing scripts for films like “Gremlins” and “Young Sherlock Holmes.”
I remember seeing “Home Alone” when it hit the theaters originally in 1990, and I fell in love with the movie. I was only 19, but the movie was so well put together that it touched me both as an adult and as a child. Several years ago, I stumbled across my videotape of the movie and started watching. I couldn’t turn it off. It was still good after more than 15 years.
Now, I have kids, and they love movies as much as I do. This Christmas, I put in “Home Alone” and showed it to them. They’re only 3 and 5, but they loved the film. It’s a bit slow at the start for kids that young. However, once the slapstick started at the end, as Kevin defends his home with Rube Goldberg devices designed to maim the burglars in a Three Stooges style, my kids loved it.
FOX has recently repackaged “Home Alone” in a new DVD. This new disc contains an assortment of special features, both old and new. There’s an audio commentary by director Chris Columbus and Macaulay Culkin as well as 15 deleted scenes. New featurettes cover everything from the stunts of the film to the genesis of the gangster film “Angles with Filthy Souls.”
New behind-the-scenes footage shows us where some of the characters might have gone, and there is a humorous gag reel to round out the features. Several set-top games are also included.
There are few movies that can be described as never having a dull moment, and “Home Alone” fits in this small group. It’s the perfect family holiday film.
Specifications: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Widescreen (1.85:1) – enhanced for 16x9 televisions. French and Spanish language tracks. Spanish subtitles. English subtitles for the hearing impaired.