BY KYLE LESNAK
Home Alone, produced by John Hughes, is the first in the long-running Home Alone series, laying the foundation that every film in the franchise would follow.
The McCallister family is getting ready to spend Christmas in Paris, with all of them meeting at Peter and Kate’s home in a Chicago suburb. Their youngest child, Kevin, is the subject of ridicule by his siblings. After a scuffle with his older brother Buzz, he ruins the family dinner and is sent to the attic as punishment. While complaining to his mother about how they always let the other kids pick on him, he wishes that his family would just disappear. After some heavy winds destroy the power lines, the family’s alarms are reset and the family wakes up in a panic trying to make their flight on time, but Kevin was accidentally left behind. When Kevin wakes up he believes his wish came true and now has the house all to himself. Kevin enjoys his newfound freedom but gets scared when he sees his neighbor “Old Man” Marley, who is rumored by the local children to be a serial killer who murdered his own family. He then meets Harvey and Marv, also known as the “Wet Bandits” who planned on robbing the McCallister’s house once they left, but Kevin tricks them by making them believe his family is still home which forces them to put their plans on hold. Kate realizes mid-flight that Kevin was left behind, but upon arrival in Paris learns that all flights are booked for the next 2 days, and the phone lines are still down from the storm so they can’t call the house. Peter and the rest of the family stay in Paris while Kate continues to try and find a flight home but only gets as far as Scranton, Pennsylvania. Harvey and Marv learn that Kevin is the only one home and Kevin overhears their plans to break into the house later that night and is now determined to protect himself and his home.
I think the most disappointing part about this film is that the iconic screaming face only appears once in the entire movie. But being serious, this movie is oddly relaxing to watch. Of course that feeling completely goes away once you get to the last half of the movie where you see the robbers get burned, bashed, and stabbed by the traps Kevin sets. It turns what’s supposed to be a serious moment into something out of a cartoon. It’s very odd how Kevin can go from not being able to pack his bag to buying groceries and setting up these elaborate traps. Even the movie points this out, but that’s just part of the fun. But it does have some truly heartwarming moments, specifically the scene where Kevin learns the truth about Marley and helps him reconnect with his family. Macaulay Culkin is entertaining the entire way through and gives off such a smug aura that it’s no wonder the bandits hate him so much. And Marv and Harry somehow make stepping on glass and being lit on fire funny. The casting was great and none of the actors felt like they didn’t fit the role.
Home Alone is a film that knows when it needs to be serious and when it needs to be funny, striking a perfect balance. This movie doesn’t make sense at times, but it isn’t trying to. It’s just supposed to be an entertaining movie, and I think it succeeds at that. It’s no surprise this franchise got as many sequels as it did, even if they might not be as great as the first.