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30 Years Later: Home Alone

16 December 20 words: Hollie Anderson

It’s been a whole thirty years since Macauley Culkin first scampered onto screens as Kevin McCallister - Hollie Anderson looks back to see if this festive flick still deserves to be called a Christmas classic...

Director: Chris Columbus
Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern
Running time: 103 minutes

In case you haven’t watched Home Alone yet (where have you been?), it’s a film that follows the huge McCallister family who are preparing to spend the holidays in Paris. Problem is, a family argument and last-minute rush means they forget one thing; their youngest child, Kevin who is now left to fend for himself.

As you can well imagine, chaos soon breaks out. But the film settles around three main narratives, which bring together the quintessential elements of any winter movie. 

First up is Kevin’s initial argument with his whole family, during which he angrily wishes they’d all disappear. When he wakes up to find everyone gone the eight-year-old assumes his dream has come true. Despite the initial fun of shooting an air rifle, eating ice cream and jumping on the bed - featuring Culkin’s adorable monologues about life - Kevin soon realises he misses his mother (played by the wonderful Catherine O’Hara). The film follows her strange journey across the world to be reunited with her boy – making sure the whole film has a warm heart.   

Secondly is the mysterious neighbour – Old Man Marley, who local kids believe to be an axe murderer. As the story develops, Kevin’s initial fear of the imposing old man melts away and the message of togetherness and familial love is repeated again, with Kevin encouraging Marley to reunite with his estranged son and granddaughter.

It has stood the test of time and still will in decades to come

Finally, of course, is what the film is best known for: Kevin’s battle with local thieves the “Wet Bandits.” Kevin’s wild array of booby traps is both hilarious and ingenious – combining mild threat with slapstick humour… Home Alone is an entry-level Indiana Jones or Die Hard, which will keep any child entertained.  It’s also this battle that has prompted so many well-loved lines that now adorn Christmas jumpers across the world. 

In a nutshell, this film is perfect. Drama, action – and the pure, sentimental core that’s needed in any Christmas watch. It has stood the test of time and still will in decades to come – so get watching… and Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal!

(As a side note, I also re-watched Home Alone 2 for research purposes – equally, there’s not a thing wrong with it. It follows a similar plot pattern, and is full of wonderful innocence – aside from a cameo from Donald Trump. However, Home Alone just tops its sequel… second time round it’s very hard to believe any parents would be daft enough to turn off their alarms before a trip and lose their child yet again)

Did you know? Robert De Niro was initially approached to play one of the bandits, but the role instead went to his GoodFellas co-star Joe Pesci when De Niro declined. Pesci was allegedly quite difficult to work with; on one occasion, he took a producer by the collar and demanded that his call times were pushed back by two hours so he had time to play golf before shooting.

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