Home Alone (1990)

home alone poster 1990 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 8/10

Macaulay Culkin, Christmasy feel

Some slapstick is too over the top, feels unbalanced

Movie Info

Movie Name: Home Alone

Studio: Hughes Entertainment

Genre(s): Comedy/Family/Seasonal

Release Date(s): November 16, 1990

MPAA Rating: PG

home alone aftershave kevin macaulay culkin scream

Scream if you love Christmas movies!

Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) sometimes hates his family. They all see him as problem, and all he wants for Christmas is to be left alone. When a missed alarm clock leads to a fast trip to the airport for an international trip to Paris, Kevin gets his wish when he is accidentally left behind. Kevin doesn’t realize his house is being targeted by the Wet Bandits Harry Lyme (Joe Pesci) and Marv Merchants (Daniel Stern) who expect the house to be empty. Now the Wet Bandits have Kevin trapped, but they might be the ones in trouble.

Directed by Chris Columbus, Home Alone is a family Christmas comedy.  The John Hughes movie was released to positive reviews and became a massive box office hit .  The film received Academy Award nominations for Best Original Song (“Somewhere in My Memory”) and Best Original Score.

I was one of the few people who didn’t see Home Alone in the theater.  I just missed it.  It wasn’t that I didn’t want to see it, but I just never made it to the theater (probably not being able to drive didn’t help).  When I saw Home Alone, I enjoyed it, but it was just a goofy comedy.

“Am I a bad mother?”
“Lady, if we had cellphones, I’d be calling CPS on you”
“If we had cellphones, this movie would be over”

The film teeters between being too dark and too family friendly.  You have Kevin (who admittedly is kind of a jerk at points) surrounded by a family who are definitely jerks at points.  He then goes to battle with criminals who instead of just knifing Kevin and leaving him for dead (or abandoning their robbery attempt for an easier house) they continue to fall into Road Runner type traps that could potentially be deadly or maiming…and probably led generations of kids to try to kill their families around the holidays.

Macaulay Culkin was the perfect choice for the film.  Cast from his experience on Uncle Buck, Culkin had a devilishness to his delivery and seems more like an Eddie Haskell than the kid your parents would want you to bring home.  Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci play the bumbling thieves which is really ironic considering how extremely violent Pesci’s characters generally are (and you really question why they just don’t “silence him” forever).  I like Catherine O’Hara as Macaulay’s exasperated mother trying to get home (and teamed with John Candy).  Macaulay’s brother Kieran Culkin gets into the mix as the “accident” prone cousin Fuller.

home alone wet bandits harry marv joe pesci daniel stern macaulay culkin

While we could just stab you and leave your body hanging here, we’re going to delay until you can be saved

The movie’s gags are the big draw.  Some of them are realistic and dangerous like nails on the step, ice on the stairs, and a heated door handle while other things like goo on the floor are so over-the-top and cartoonish that it isn’t realistic when compared to other attacks.  Like many of John Hughes films, the setting is the northside of Chicago around Northwestern so it has become a popular tourist attraction for those visiting the area.

Home Alone is now a classic holiday film.  It has heart at points and is heartless at other points.  It is kind of unbalanced in that sense, and it isn’t as family friendly as some might think.  I can only stomach Home Alone every once in a while as a result…but it does bring back some good memories.  Home Alone was followed by Home Alone 2:  Lost in New York in 1992.

Related Links:

Home Alone 2:  Lost in New York (1992)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response