Bonjour! Welcome back to Millennial Misremembers, where I reminisce about entertainment from my childhood. And learn that I have a pretty terrible memory. But, hey, maybe you do too! This time, I’m rewatching Home Alone.
So, I’ll tell you what I think I remember, and then I’ll rewatch and recap the classic movie. Home Alone was released on November 10, 1990. I was an itty bitty when it came out, but it was definitely on cable repeat throughout my youth. I hope you enjoy this walk down memory lane and use your newfound knowledge to impress your least-favorite relatives at your upcoming parties.
What I (mis)remember
The Macaulay Culkin 😱 face is the thing that sticks out most in my mind. Also, the Mouse-Trap-style snares he set to stop the robbers made me giggle. As I said, I know I watched Home Alone a lot as a kid, but I’m drawing blanks, except for how much I loved it. For the record, I didn’t rewatch this alone, and apparently, I’m not the only millennial whose memory is no longer topnotch. My brother didn’t remember anything, insisting he never watched Home Alone (LIES!) and though my sister-in-law loved and watched it often growing up, she couldn’t really get into specifics either
Opening credits: How did I not realize this was a John Hughes / Chris Columbus joint? That makes a whole lotta sense, though. Meanwhile, my brother wants to know why I’m not writing about how John Williams incorporated “Jingle Bells” into the overture. (I just did!)
We open on the movie proper. There is a boatload of children and other humans running around a garishly decorated house. Joe Pesci, dressed as a cop, waits patiently in the doorway for someone to talk to him. Clearly the villain.
Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) is a little hard to understand at first, but it seems he’s begging his mom (Catherine O’Hara) to let him watch a movie that has been deemed … by someone … as too adult for him. He’s a little bit of a turd.
His family is running around like chickadees with their heads cut off, packing suitcases. Why are there so many people here? OK. Kevin is also supposed to pack a suitcase. But, he’s freaking out cause he’s eight and doesn’t know how to do that.
Meanwhile, two of Kev’s … cousins? brothers? … muse about whether French girls shave their pits or if nude beaches are real. Great. They then decide to further scar Kevin by convincing him the elderly gentleman (Roberts Blossom) shoveling snow across the way is actually a murderer. Rude. The murderer is inside the house, y’all. Seriously. Pesci is still downstairs.
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Then, a pizza guy (D. Danny Warhol) arrives at Casa de Kevin, knocking over a sculpture as he parks. Inside, Pesci is still interrogating the kids about whether their parents are home. Pizza guy just wants to get paid. And the fee is $122.50. The family, who is flying a bazillion kids out to Paris, thinks this is too expensive for 10 pies.
Also, apparently, the family has to get up at like 8 AM for their flight. Then, for some reason I don’t quite get, Kev starts attacking his brother-cousin. They spill some soda, potentially ruining some passports.
Kev’s family stares at him and says things like:
“Look what you did you little jerk”
“Kevin, you’re such a disease!”
KEVIN IS EIGHT YEARS OLD.
Feeling attacked, Kev calls his mom dummy. Which, I get, but also, WTH calls Catherine O’Hara a dummy? Even though she’s not evil, because this is 1990, she banishes him to the attic. Because he spilled some soda. They exchange some further heated words. Kev wishes he never had a family, etc.
Overnight, the electricity goes out, thanks to a snowstorm, and the McCallisters almost miss their flight. It’s a rush to their airport shuttles. And again, because this is 1990 and there aren’t cellphones, no one’s alarm went off. Also, it’s amazing: none of the adults in this movie have patience for children.
So, everyone rushes out of the house, except Kevin. Who is still in the attic. When one of the cousins does a headcount, she accidentally counts a neighbor kid and so, someone is left Home Alone.
Next, the McCallisters (minus Kev) rush through the airport and make it to the plane for final boarding. “Hope we didn’t forget anything,” says Catherine O’Hara. Dun dun dun!
Back at home (alone), Kev wakes up to an empty house. He’s not even remotely upset. He wanders downstairs, turns on the TV, then thinks for a moment and calls out for his mom.
On the plane, the McCallister adults are in first class, while the kids slum it back in coach. Of course, no one notices Kevin is missing. Because the other kids would never. Am I right?
Meanwhile, Kevin is freaking out about being all alone. He sees his family’s cars and thinks they didn’t go to the airport. He thinks he made his family disappear. Then, he remembers all the bad things they said and smiles. Party time. He even finds a Playboy!
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Next, Kev does some BB gun target practice in the kitchen. Then, it’s on to delicious sundaes and old gangster movies (that were created specifically for Home Alone). Kev keeps talking to his imaginary family, telling him all the bad things he’s doing like he’s taunting them to come back to him. But really he is still scared, you know?
On the plane, Catherine O’Hara starts to have a bad, bad sinking feeling. She forgot something. She knows it. It wasn’t the garage. It wasn’t the coffee pot. Oh right. Kev.
And that’s something she should be worried about. Mr. Kev himself is sledding down the stairs. How fun! I wanna play.
Ruh-roh. Joe Pesci wasn’t a cop. He and his buddy (Daniel Stern) are gonna rob some joints. They clink crowbars. And get on their way.
Kev is watching The Grinch (the good one), or rather, asleep in front of the TV while The Grinch is playing. He’s asleep and Pesci and Stern arrive to do some damage. Their shadows and whispers wake Kev up. He turns on the light in the garage then runs to hide under the bed. Smart kid. Then, the robbers … leave?
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At the airport, Catherine O’Hara hijacks a phone from a French lady and gets to calling home. O’Hara even tries to call the police to get help, but they’re as incompetent as you’d expect cops to be. But, eventually, they do agree to send an officer over to check on Kev. He doesn’t answer the door, so the cop just … leaves, deciding that McCallisters must just be wrong?
Mom and Dad (John Heard) can’t get a flight back to the US. Catherine O’Hara is on standby while the rest of the McCallisters head on to Paris.
Back in ‘Murica, Kev has decided he’s no “wimp” and needs to get out from under the bed. He’s still terrified of old Blossom’s shoveling. HA! Macaulay Culkin’s infamous Home Alone scream is from Kev putting on aftershave? LOLOLOLLOL.
Next, Kev tries to scale some shelves. The whole wall crashes down on him, releasing a
Meanwhile, while the robbers are ransacking some other place, Daniel Stern overhears John Heard call and leave a message about how out of town they are. Our robbers are going back to Casa de Kevin. Tonight.
Now, Kev’s at a corner store, where the internet would have been super useful. He wants to know if the toothbrush he’s purchasing is ADA approved. Of course, the shopkeep doesn’t freaking know, but Karven isn’t OK with that. While he’s dealing with that, Ole’ Blossom comes up next to him and in his fear, Kev accidentally shoplifts. Then ice skates. Some things aren’t making total sense.
As they leave their latest robbery, Daniel leaves the water running. Pesci thinks it’s a sick thing to do, but Danny Stern thinks they need a calling card, calling them the Wet Bandits. While they’re arguing about it, they almost run into Kev. Literally. With their truck. Pesci engages and Kev has a flash of recognition. He bolts. The WB follows him to see which house he goes to.
My brother speaks: “John Williams is just effing reusing the Jaws score.”
So, Kev hides from the WB in a nativity scene. Righhhhhhht. Cut to that night: Kev tricks the robbers into thinking his house is full of people by using dummies and cutouts, or as my brother put it, John Hughes recycled his Ferris Bueller trick.
Over in Paris, Kev’s family is still smack-talking him. Why? Is he really that terrible? He’s eight.
And that eight-year-old boy uses the fake movie from earlier to have a conversation with the pizza boy, err mess with the pizza boy? There are gunshots. CALL THE POLICE. SAVE KEVIN. Side note: Little Nero’s Pizza, slogan: No fiddling’ around.
Catherine O’Hara finally gets on a plane by begging and paying a LOT in exchange for one ticket.
Oh, I love this next touch. Kev is back in his parents’ bed and cuddles up in the center. For comfort. The next morning, Kev is getting dressed up again. This time, the tarantula hears his after-shave screams.
Next, at the grocery store, Kev, the eight-year-old, acts all adult while buying very kid food. Cute. Unfortunately, his two grocery bags are too heavy for his lil arms. They rip. Back home, he does his laundry, which like, good for him. Many adult humans don’t or can’t do that.
The WB doesn’t understand the occupancy at Casa de Kev, since it looks totally empty now. Kev tries his TV trick again, using the gangster movie and some fireworks to trick Danny. I call shenanigans. No robbers would be this invested in a house.
Back in the US, Catherine O’Hara still can’t get a plane home. She’s in Scranton by way of Dallas from Paris. John Candy thinks he can help her out. He’s part of a poker team, but he’s also a musician? His group’s plane is canceled and they’re driving to Milwaukee, but can drop her off, if she doesn’t mind poker players. I don’t have a good feeling about this.
The next morning, Kev is trimming trees. And using the tree cuttings to create a kid-sized Christmas tree. Kev sees Pesci in the reflection of an ornament and …. Pesci tells us he’s been ready to sack the McCallister house since he first laid eyes on it. Interesting. So this is now like an obsession.
Omg! POLKA, not poker.🤦
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Out and about in town, Kev finds “Santa” and tells him to send the Real Santa a message. He tells Santa all he wants for Christmas is his family back. Santa misinterprets that and feels awful, so he shares his Tic Tacs with Kev. And then, gets into his car. It won’t start. It’s such a beautiful moment. Like, that’s the true spirit of the holidays, right?
Kev walks home and seeing the togetherness of other families saddens him. He stops into the church, where the choir is singing “Holy Night.” It’s gorgeous. I love Christmas carols so much, especially choral ones. “O night, O holy night. O night, divine.”
Kev sits down in the pews and gets nervous when he sees Ole Blossom chilling near him. Blossom says “Merry Christmas” and asks to join him. Of course, he’s just a nice, old man. He tells Kev that murderous rumors about him are false. Kev and Blossom therapy it out. Look, definitely don’t trust all strangers and people can be super evil. But, like, most people just aren’t?
Anyway, turns out Blossom spends Christmas all alone because he once had an argument with his son, and they decided never to speak again. Kev is having none of it and tells his neighbor to reach out if he misses his son. He says Blossom is too old to be scared and that the only way to get over your fears is to walk down to the basement. They chat it up. About getting beat up. Then, they shake hands and Blossom sends Kev home.
Some swelling music plays. Apparently “it’s just like a climactic, dramatic allegro.”
The clock strikes … something … and Kev runs home to defend his house in hopes the robbers would soon be there. He gets out his battle plan. The tarantula watches as Kev wets some stairs, others he tars with care. Basically, he booby traps the whole house.
Next, Kev says grace over his Easy Mac. But then, the WB knock on the door. They tell him they know he’s there and that he’s alone. They pretend to be “Sandy Claws” and while they’re being annoying, Kev shoots them with BB guns through the dog door (did the McCallisters even have a dog?).
Pesci shouts, “The little jerk is armed!” He and Danny hurt their backs by slipping on the icy stairs. Honestly, it’s physical, slapstick comedy at its finest. For example, Danny fights with the basement door for like five hours, only to find it open. Pulling the wrong rope lands him smacked in the head with an iron. But these dudes keep persisting.
I mean, Pesci gets his hair singed off when he opens the backdoor. Kev is a mastermind. The WB gets attacked with feathers and Christmas ornaments … Kev asks if they’ve given up yet. They haven’t. Dudes are determined to rob this house, and they get whacked in the face with some paint cans for their efforts.
Kev finally, finally calls 911, but … pretends to be an adult? I get it, the police have been useless, but still. Now, Kev Ziplines out of his window into his treehouse, which, COOL! Danny makes an awful joke about mental health. Then the robbers try to Zipline. Danny is not into this, which, fair. Especially since Kev cuts the line. Brutal. The WB runs smack into the side of the house. OK. No way they’re not concussed by now.
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But, because they’re adults, they finally catch up to Kev. And they plan to hurt him. But here comes Ole Blossom to save the day! Yay! Don’t judge a book by its cover, y’all. And don’t forget your kid at home when you’re headed to Paris.
Back home, which is magically clean, Kev gets his gramps on in a dressing gown and sets out some munchies for Santa and the Reindeer. In the morning, Kev wakes up and it’s snowing. It’s a new day. Is Catherine O’Hara home? Not quite yet …
Meanwhile, she and J. Candy have a lovely chat about leaving kids in terrible places, like funeral parlors. But O’Hara finally makes it and comes home to see the lovely Christmassy Things Kev has done.
When mom and kid finally meet again, it’s sweet and cute. She apologizes, and he gives a big, wide smile. They hug it out. Surprise! Everyone else came home from Paris too! These people must be loaded.
No one can believe that Kev went grocery shopping for the house, and he doesn’t get into the nonsense with the WB. But, John Heard does find Pesci’s gold tooth under the piano.
Across the way, Kev watches as Blossom makes up with his family. They wave to one another.
I love the message. Don’t trust cops. Trust your neighbors. Home Alone is still so much fun, both from a nostalgia POV and just as a movie. I will say, I am not a huge fan of the way they used Macaulay Culkin in this film. That whole way-too-smart-wise-ass kid is not my cup of tea, but I’m not faulting him as an actor. I 1,000 percent recommend it. Fun times. All right, see you next time and happy holidays, folx! Content Warnings
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