In November 1990, John Hughes’ and Chris Columbus’ film Home Alone, which starred Macaulay Culkin, became a cultural phenomenon. Kevin McAllister, who was inadvertently left behind when his family flew to Paris for Christmas, is living the childhood fantasy of every kid by having the house to himself. In addition, he must defend his residence from two intruders (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern).
As a holiday staple for more than 30 years, Home Alone ranks alongside National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Die Hard, and Batman Returns. What else makes this movie a holiday favourite besides the fact that it takes place during the season? Here are five reasons to watch Home Alone with some eggnog, which will be available on Disney+ with the release of the new film, Home Sweet Home Alone.
The movie opens with the McAllisters rushing to get ready for their trip to Paris. Uncles, aunts, grandparents, and cousins occupy every square inch of the house. At first, it appears obnoxious that everyone in the family ignores or picks on Kevin for his behaviour. With “Christmas tinted glasses,” you see what Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation had been longing for. The spirit of the season revolves around bringing loved ones together. Even if they decide to abandon one of them, at least they did so AS A UNION.
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Even though the holidays are meant to be a time of joy and festivity, Hollywood has demonstrated time and again that they can also be a time of terror. Okay, so it’s not quite on par with the frights of the Halloween season, but it’s still terrifying. From Silent Night, Deadly Night to Black Christmas (pick one of the three versions! ), Christmas horror films are just as popular as ones that spread the spirit of goodwill.
As far as I could tell, Hughes was aware of this. Even though it’s a family film, he managed to weave in some creepy elements. Kevin dreaded going down to his basement for fear that his furnace would devour him. The neighbor who lived next door to the McAllisters was suspected of being a psychotic serial killer. Fortunately, this was not the case for Kevin. There’s also the “home invasion” itself, which serves as the film’s premise. With just minor changes to the script, the third act of Home Alone would be an entirely different film, deserving of a much lower score.
Whether or not certain films should be classified as holiday fare is a hotly contested topic during the holiday season. Not all holiday movies are created equal, even if they take place during the season.
That Home Alone doesn’t fit this description is borne out by the soundtrack. Every song in the movie—11 in total—is a Christmas song if you remove the John Williams score we never want John Williams score to go away permanently). Most people are familiar with standard holiday fare, but lesser-known songs also use music to tell a story in a more subdued way. When the family is attempting to board the plane, they are playing “Run Run Rudolph.” The song “Please Come Home for Christmas” serves as a metaphor for Kevin’s journey through the film. These carols help usher in the holiday season and advance the plot of the Christmas story.
Located in suburban Chicago, Home Alone takes place in the heart of the Midwest. Snow in the movie isn’t just accurate; it may be a little understated if you grew up in Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, or Ohio, where the movie was shot.
Hughes and Columbus used Christmas lights to give the audience a sense of what it would be like to live in one of these neighbourhoods during the holiday season. Almost every house in the McAllisters’ neighbourhood has been decked out for the holidays, as you can see if you look closely. Most likely, there was a competition to see whose house had the best lighting before everyone went on vacation. However, even in scenes where Kevin is simply walking down his street, the “holiday feeling” is maintained thanks to this subtle trick.
A Christmas Carol’s final act shows Ebenezer Scrooge realizing the true meaning of Christmas, taking the necessary steps to rectify his past mistakes in any version, from Scrooged to The Muppets.
Kevin goes through the same thing in Home Alone. To set the tone for the film, he declares his “hatred” for his family and expresses his Christmas wish that they all vanish. When he comes to the terms with the fact that his wish has come true, he realizes that it is the best thing that has ever happened to him and wishes that his family was back at home. For Christmas, it was the only thing he requested. Either Ebenezer Scrooge helps tiny Tim, or Kevin learns the importance of family for his growth. The holiday season’s message is always the same: grow up and be a better person.
In Home Alone, you’ll find everything from Christmas carols to Christmas lessons, making it a must-see during the holidays.