In the year 1990, a child star was born. After featuring in a pivotal role in the comedy caper Home Alone, Culkin did a series of family-friendly movies where he played the mischievous but lovable kid, right until the 1994 Christmas movie Richie Rich. However, the magic of the Chris Columbus directorial was hard to repeat.
In Home Alone, Culkin plays Kevin McCallister (Culkin), an impish eight-year-old who gets punished by his mother (Catherine O’Hara), a night before the big family has to leave for a trip to Paris. A drowsy but elated Kevin wakes up in the attic, only to discover that his family has forgotten all about him and has left for the airport. But his ‘alone’ time is spoilt when two conmen Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern) decide to rob the house cold. Kevin devises an elaborate scheme and gives the bad guys a difficult time. And the child’s ruse to stay out of trouble is what makes up the entire movie.
As a child, it was a delight to see someone in control. Someone one-upping the adults and getting away with it. This, I believe, was the USP of Home Alone and one that was manufactured to perfection. Every booby trap that Kevin laid to trap Harry and Marv was a success. Even Kevin’s escape from his own house after informing the police of the duo’s deeds was wonderful to watch. Needless to mention that Macaulay Culkin was stupendous as the boy genius who refused to bow down and accept defeat. It was this subversion of a child taking charge that enthralled viewers. Of course, for an uncomplicated premise, Home Alone went on for a tad too long. Some editing would have helped the movie immensely. However, no harm done, since it still happens to be a great source of joy.
An interesting thing which jumped out at me during the credits was the name against the writer and producer of the film. Can you guess who? The king of coming-of-age teen dramedies, John Hughes. Which really explains a lot about Home Alone. Its comedy, despite being dramatic, was never slap-stick or tone-deaf. It was witty and wise, like Kevin himself.
There is not much to criticise here. And this is not because Home Alone was faultless. It had its share of hiccups, but those pale in comparison to the big space it still occupies in my memory. The Chris Columbus film is a nostalgia-ridden affair, as far as I am concerned. Nothing seems too loud, or too ‘big’ about it even in 2020. In fact, it is the kind of movie that I would recommend for these uncertain times.
Hollywood Rewind: Jerry Maguire | Brief Encounter | The Truman Show | The Deer Hunter | The Shining | Clueless | Ferris Bueller’s Day Off | Blue Velvet | Taxi Driver | The Lord of the Rings I | Zero Dark Thirty | The Godfather | Say Anything | Warm Bodies | Bright Star | Malcolm X | Stardust | Red Eye | Notting Hill | Fargo | The Virgin Suicides | The Breakfast Club | Enchanted | Walk the Line | Blood Diamond | Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban | Mortal Kombat | Bridges of Madison County | Edward Scissorhands | Breakfast at Tiffany’s | She’s Gotta Have It | Ever After | The Devil Wears Prada | The Matrix | Creed | Mulan | Ratatouille | Shutter Island | Her | Dead Poets Society | Sleepless in Seattle | Waitress | Pride and Prejudice | The Dark Knight | Before Sunset | School of Rock | About a Boy | A Few Good Men | 50/50 | Begin Again | Brooklyn | Drive | Chocolat | Batman Begins | 10 Things I Hate About You | The Departed | Freedom Writers | Pretty Woman | Dan in Real Life | Jurassic Park | Tangled | Meet Joe Black | Monster’s Ball | Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind | You’ve Got Mail | Half Nelson | Fight Club | Doubt | American Psycho | Julie and Julia | Forrest Gump | The Silence of the Lambs | Finding Neverland | Roman Holiday| American History X | Tropic Thunder | Before Sunrise | Scent of a Woman | Finding Forrester | Sixteen Candles
Home Alone is available to stream on YouTube.
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