Monday, November 16, 2015

Where are they now? Home Alone

By +Brad Naylor

Can you remember what was showing in movie theatres 25 years ago? I already gave you a blockbuster clue up there ^^^ in the title. Yes it's a quarter century since 8 year old Kevin McCallister was accidentally (?) left Home Alone and forced to protect his parents house from two bumbling burglars during Christmas. Yes I said Christmas, not 'The Holidays', not 'The Festive Season', 25 years ago we were allowed to call it Christmas and nobody got offended.

Home Alone - 25th Anniversary
The kid everybody wanted to slap is back
John Hughes had already started drifting from writing amazing movies, most of which featured Molly Ringwald. Home Alone is regarded as the middle of the beginning of the end of his 'great movie' phase. The story of little Kevin is a humorous one and had Chris Columbus gone in a slightly different directorial direction then maybe Home Alone wouldn't be such a big turd. The idea of a boy being left behind while his extensive family take a Christmas vacation in Paris is stretched to begin with, but when this suddenly precocious 8 year old defends the family home from two hapless criminals, using a series of simple and silly booby traps you wonder where the genius which created Ferris Bueller went. Needless to say young Mr McCallister defeats the bad guys and is reunited with his family who are worried sick and have been struggling to return to New York in a gap filling secondary plot line. If you haven't seen it yet, watch it once and then skip the 3 sequels.

With Macaulay Culkin we would never have had Home Alone, and without Home Alone we would never have had Macaulay Culkin. Personally I would have been OK with that trade off. To be fair he was in Uncle Buck and Jacob's Ladder before Home Alone and only made it in movies for as long as his 'cuteness' remained. Just like the annoying kid from Jerry Maguire. The fact that they made Home Alone 3 and 4 without him is proof of that.

Joe Pesci (pronounced Peshy or Pesky... who knows?) was a star long before he played bad guy Harry Lime in Home Alone, having been in Raging Bull, Once Upon a Time in America, Lethal Weapon 2, and Goodfellas. While the movie sucked, it was not because of Pesci's performance. A consummate professional, he kept a straight face knowing that this was just a hiccup on his career and that he had JFK and My Cousin Vinny just around the corner. Plus two more outings as Lethal Weapon's Leo Getz.

Daniel Stern played Marv Merchants, the other bad guy in Home Alone, and like Pesci, already had many credits under his belt before goofing off for some light-hearted physical comedy. Unlike Pesci, there were few opportunities in the world of serious acting after Home Alone. Daniel had to satisfied with a couple of City Slicker movies and a bunch of TV roles.

John Heard played Kevin's father, and I really don't remember much about him from the movie. Even looking at the still image from the movie, I can't think of a single scene in which I saw him. The crazy thing is that he has over 170 acting credits and I can't place him in any movie. He has one of those faces that makes him look like he could be someone famous, but you can't think of where you would know him from.

Catherine O'Hara played Kevin's mom, and I definitely remember her being in the movie. Catherine came from a TV background before making it big as Delia Deetz in Beetlejuice. Then after 2 Home Alones and a couple of cowboy movies she settled back to TV and voice acting, and is currently enjoying a run of success in Schitt's Creek with the Levy family.

Also in this movie was John Candy, a firm John Hughes favorite during this time period, which may explain why Hughes' movies went downhill. Candy was an average actor who only had two characters in his repertoire and did very little to add any comedy to this movie, or any other movie except maybe 'The Blues Brothers'.

When is the last time you watched Home Alone in it's entirety? Maybe it's time to curl up in front of the TV and remind yourself why you haven't watched it for more than a decade. Was it Macaulay Culkin's annoying voice/face/character? Was it because the movie is far fetched and full of holes? At least the bits where Marv and Harry are getting whacked by paint cans are still funny. Share your thoughts on Home Alone with us in the comments section below. Also, let me know if John Heard is actually in this movie.

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