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Home Alone (film)

Home Alone is a 1990 christmas film written and produced by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus. It stars Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister, an eight-year-old boy, who is mistakenly left behind when his family flies to Paris, France for their Christmas holiday. While initially relishing his time alone, he is later greeted by two house intruders. He eventually manages to outwit them with a series of booby traps.

Plot

The movie opens with the McCallister family rushing around their huge home preparing for their holiday to France. The audience is introduced to eight-year-old Kevin McCallister who is constantly teased by his older siblings and believes he is mistreated by his family, to which he screams "I'm living alone!" whilst jumping up and down on the landing in temper. The audience is then introduced to a policeman (Joe Pesci) trying to get people's attention but is unsuccessful. The family does not know that he is a cat burglar named Harry Lyme who is trying to break into houses by obtaining as much information from them as possible about the security of their homes.

After a squabble with his bullying older brother, Buzz, who has eaten his pizza, Kevin ends up spilling milk and soda all over his family's passports and airplane tickets for their next day trip to Paris for Christmas vacation. As punishment, he is sent up to the third floor of his house for the night without anything to compensate for his stolen pizza, while Buzz is not punished in any way for his cruelty. Disgusted by his family's unfair and neglectful treatment towards him (being "treated like scum", according to Kevin), he wishes that his family would simply disappear.

An electric power-failure occurs in the middle of the night that in turn neutralizes the alarm clocks to echo, and the family oversleeps. Consequently, this compels them to leave late for their vacation. Kevin ultimately ends up being left home alone when the eldest child, Heather, miscounts, due to a neighbor child being in the way. At first Kevin is pleased, and thinks that his wish has come true. He begins to commit things he would not have been permitted to do otherwise, such as jumping on his parents' bed, going into Buzz's room and going through his personal belongings, eating junk food, riding down the stairs on a sled, shooting action figures down the laundry chute with a pellet gun, and watching an R-rated gangster film called Angels with Filthy Souls. However, a shooting in the film scares him and makes him shout for his mother, perhaps implying that the whole situation wasn't good after all. Several hours later, while still in flight, Mrs. McCallister wakes up, realizing she forgot Kevin.

Meanwhile Harry, armed with all the information he received, and his partner Marv Merchans (Daniel Stern) begin to scout the neighborhood looking for which houses to hit, focusing strictly on the McCallisters' home and calling it the "silver tuna" (meaning out of all the houses in the neighborhood it's Harry's favorite and the most valuable target). The two then begin robbing the houses, which are easy to access because all the families are away on vacation, and then decide to head to the McCallisters'. Unfortunately for Harry and Marv Kevin notices their shadows and scares them off by turning the lights on. He then hides, and when the Chicago Police Department try to investigate the house for him upon his parents' request, he refuses to answer the door.

The next day Kevin uses adult shampoo and puts on some aftershave, causing him to let out his famous scream. Next he goes shopping with some money that he steals from Buzz's room, and unintentionally shoplifts a toothbrush after being scared away from the drugstore by "Old Man Marley", a man in the neighborhood that, according to a rumor Buzz told Kevin, killed his entire family with a snow shovel. On his way home he is nearly hit by Harry and Marv's van and is warned by them to be careful. Harry then wishes Kevin a Merry Christmas and smiles at him, flashing his gold tooth. Kevin recognizes the tooth from when Harry, dressed as a cop, was in the house and runs away (thinking that he is now being followed for shoplifting). Harry and Marv trail Kevin for a few blocks until he hides to get away from them.

Later that night the burglars return to see the house full of people, which Harry can't believe considering that the McCallisters are supposed to be on vacation. In reality Kevin has loaded the living room with mannequins and cardboard cutouts and is moving them around with strings to throw the two burglars off track. The next morning the two burglars scout the house again, this time finding it quiet and arousing Harry's suspicions. Marv decides to try and break in himself, but Kevin plays the same gangster movie at full volume and adds more noise during the gunshot scene by lighting some firecrackers he found in Buzz's room, which scares Marv away.

Meanwhile, in Paris, Kevin's mother is desperately trying to catch a flight back to Chicago as soon as possible, although her husband is only able to book a flight leaving two days later. Eventually, she manages to swap her Rolex watch, $500, and some more jewelry for an economy seat back to Dallas. Her next flight puts her in Scranton on Christmas Eve, where her journey home is halted because there are no flights out of Scranton to Chicago. Fortunately for her a stranded group of polka musicians on their way to Milwaukee for a polka festival are willing to help her get home in a van.

Back in Chicago Harry and Marv are still trying to figure out what is going on and spot Kevin cutting his own Christmas tree. Harry then gets out, goes around to the side of the house, and spots Kevin mantling the tree, deducing that he is in fact home alone and an easy target. Kevin overhears Harry and Marv plotting their next move, which is to come back that night at 9 PM.

In the meantime, Kevin decides to try and do whatever it takes to try to get his family back home, first going to the town's Santa Claus and then to church for one of their Christmas Eve services. While there he once again comes across Old Man Marley, and the two strike up a conversation. Kevin learns through the course of the conversation that none of the rumors about Marley are true- and in fact that he is a pleasant person once one gets to know him. Kevin also learns that Marley's granddaughter is in the choir and that he has come to watch her sing, but he won't be at the later service because of a falling out he had with his son years ago. Kevin suggests to Marley that perhaps he should try and get in touch with him if he can just to see what would happen, and the old man agrees to try.

By the time Kevin leaves the church it is 8:00, and he runs home to set up a series of traps around the house, all of which succeed in tripping the burglars up. Kevin is able to escape the house and cross the street to a neighbor's house that Harry and Marv had hit earlier in the day, but the burglars capture him. Just as they are planning to take revenge, Marley appears and knocks them out with his snow shovel. He then returns Kevin home safely. The police arrive, and arrest Harry and Marv.

Kevin wakes up the next. She enters the house, then finds and hugs Kevin. Only a few seconds later, the rest of the family arrives home, having caught the flight his mother refused to wait for. Kevin does not tell the family about his encounter with the intruders, but he does impress them by telling them that he went shopping. In the final scene, Kevin sees that Marley has been reunited with his son and granddaughter. The family returns back and they spend Christmas together. Then Buzz screams, "Kevin what did you do to my room?!" and Kevin makes a run for it.

Production

As with most of Hughes' films, Home Alone was set, and most of the film was shot, in the greater Chicago area. Any other shots, such as those of Paris, are either stock footage or movie trickery. The scene where Kevin wades through the flooded basement when trying to outsmart the burglars, was actually shot in a swimming pool in the former New Trier West school. A mock-up of the McDonnell Douglas DC10 business class was also put together in the school, on the basketball courts.

The Home Alone House, or more precisely 671 Lincoln Avenue, is the three story detached house that was used while shooting the movies Home Alone (1990) and parts of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992). It exists in Illinois in the inner-ring North Shore suburbs of Chicago, in the village of Winnetka which is located around 19 miles (30km) north of the city in New Trier Township, Cook County. The private property is worth just under $2.3 million as of August 2008, and was purchased by a single family on December 15th, 1988, who still own the house today. It was built in 1920 and boasts 5 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, a fully-converted attic, a fireplace, a detached double garage and also a greenhouse. It is listed as a Chicago-area tourist destination, as well as being cited as an example of "How to Get Your Home in the Movies".

Cast

The movie made Macaulay Culkin a world-renowned actor. The film also features Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern as the "Wet Bandits". Catherine O'Hara, John Heard, and Roberts Blossom also co-star as Kevin's parents and next door neighbor.

Minor roles are played by Gerry Bamman, Devin Ratray, Kieran Culkin (Macaulay Culkin's younger brother), Michael C. Maronna, Hillary Wolf, and Angela Goethals. In addition, the late John Candy, a frequent collaborator of Hughes, has a supporting role as Gus Polinski, the "Polka King of the Midwest". John Williams created the musical score, which was nominated for an Oscar.

Official Soundtrack

  • Label: Sony Music Entertainment [Released in 1990]
  • Composer: John Williams
  • Home Alone Main Title ("Somewhere In My Memory") (4:53)
  • Holiday Flight (0:59)
  • The House (2:27)
  • Star Of Bethlehem (Orchestral Version) (2:51)
  • Man Of The House (4:33)
  • White Christmas (2:40)
  • Scammed By A Kindergartner (3:55)
  • Please Come Home For Christmas (2:41)
  • Follow That Kid! (2:03)
  • Making The Plane (0:52)
  • O Holy Night (2:48)
  • Carol Of The Bells (1:25)
  • Star Of Bethlehem (2:59)
  • Setting The Trap (2:16)
  • Somewhere In My Memory (1:04)
  • The Attack On The House (6:53)
  • Mom Returns And Finale (4:19)
  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (3:05)
  • We Wish You A Merry Christmas/ End Title (4:15)

Video games

The first Home Alone game was released in 1991. Home Alone video games were released for the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Sega Genesis, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and Sega Game Gear, the Game Boy, the Sega Master System, the Amiga as well as personal computers. The Home Alone game on the SNES system used still images and character's voices from the film in its gameplay. It also features the characters from the movie as well as new enemies created for the game including a fat gangster, ghosts, large rats and very large tarantulas.

A video game simply titled Home Alone was released for the Playstation 2 in 2006. It was not released in the United States.

Reception

In its opening weekend, Home Alone grossed $17 million in 1,202 theatres, averaging $14,211 per site and just 6% of the final total. Home Alone proved so popular that it stayed in theaters well past the Christmas season. It was the #1 film at the box office for 12 straight weeks, from its release weekend of November 16-18, 1990 through the weekend of February 1-3, 1991. It would remain a top 10 draw at the box office until the weekend of April 26 that year, which was well past Easter weekend. It would make two more appearances in the top 10 (the weekend of May 31-June 2 and the weekend of June 14-16) before finally falling out of the top 10. The film ended up making a final gross of $285,761,243, the top grossing film of its year

By the time it had run its course in theatres, Home Alone was the third highest grossing movie of all time, according to the home video box. In the year 1990 the film was the highest grossing film. In total, its cinema run grossed $477,561,243 worldwide.

Though the film was a great success in theaters the film received mixed reviews from critics. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times felt that the plot was too implausible, and the entire movie too contrived.

On Rotten Tomatoes the film got a "Rotten" score of 47%, although the user section on the site was much more positive with a "Fresh" score of 83%.

Sequels

The film was followed by a sequel, the 1992 release Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, which brings back the original cast from the first film. Home Alone 3, release in 1997 has completely different actors, and a different storyline. A fourth film followed in 2002, Home Alone 4: Taking back the House. This film features some of the same characters featured in the first two films, but with a new cast and storyline that does not fall into the same continuity.

Parodies

In a comedy scene entitled Home Alone Again with Michael Jackson on the sketch comedy television series, In Living Color, Tommy Davidson as Michael Jackson performed the blunder scenes of Marv and Harry. Jonathan Taylor Thomas played the role of Macaulay as Kevin McCallister.

In the spy-parody film Spy Hard, the role of Kevin was parodied by a kid named McCluckey (performed by Mason Gamble). His booby traps backfired on him when he was chased by goons.

In the movie Dogma, a muse named Serendipity tells a woman that she inspired 19 out of the 20 top grossing movies of all time. When asked why it was nineteen out of twenty, she replies "Yeah, the one about the kid, by himself in his house, burglars trying to get in and he fights them off? I had nothing to do with that one. Somebody sold their soul to Satan to get the grosses up on that piece of shit".

The 1995 Goosebumps episode "The Cuckoo Clock of Doom" had a scene where Michael Webster realizes he becomes six years old, looks in the mirror at his now-young reflection, and turns to the camera and does Kevin's famous scream and pose.

In the animated series "The Critic", Jay Sherman reviews the movie "Home Alone 5". The scene then cuts to Kevin's parents on a jet. Kevin's mother then states, "We left Kevin home alone– and he's only 23!" The next scene shows an adult Kevin, with a 5 o'clock shadow and a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, bringing his hands to his face and screaming. He looks at his reflection and recreates the scene when Kevin puts on aftershave in "Home Alone". The scene the cuts back to Jay Sherman where he gives his opinion on the movie, "It stinks."

Angels with Filthy Souls

Angels with Filthy Souls, a parody of the 1938 Warner Bros. film Angels with Dirty Faces, is a fictional gangster film that appears within the movie.

The film acted dramatically within Home Alone, as Kevin used it repeatedly to make outside characters think that there were adults in the house by either playing the whole tape or fast forwarding to the useful parts.

In the Home Alone sequel Home Alone 2, Kevin rented and watched a film titled Angels with Even Filthier Souls.

Plot

The film involves several gangsters who apparently have business to be dealt with. Snakes enters Johnny's office and questions him about the money owed for getting the stuff. Johnny smugly replies that Acey no longer has any authority, and implies that he isn't about to give Snakes any money. Snakes shows discomfort when he finds out that Acey is "upstairs, takin' a bath" and almost immediately Johnny takes out his Tommy Gun.

Johnny tells Snakes to get out before he counts to 10, however, Johnny cuts the count short and fires repeatedly while laughing maniacally. Snakes' body is shown lying dead on the ground, while Johnny continues to fire.

At the end of the clip, Johnny says, "Keep the change you filthy animal!"

Characters

The main characters include:

  • Johnny — (Ralph Foody) new mobster boss that wastes no time in informing Snakes that he isn't welcome anymore.
  • Snakes — (Michael Guido) dressed in a coat and hat, he has come to collect his 10% dues from Johnny and Acey.
  • Acey — repeatedly referred to by Snakes as the man in charge who owes him money. It is implied that he is dead.

References

External links

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