d. Chris Columbus / USA / 1990 / 103 mins
Viewed on: Region 2 DVD (UK)
As far as Christmas films go, Home Alone is pretty darn good. And you’d be hard pressed to find anyone in the 25-35 age bracket for whom this film doesn’t bring back fond memories.
Being more or less the same age as Master Culkin, I distinctly remember viewing Home Alone through Kevin’s eyes, wondering what it really would be like to be left all alone at Christmas. Although I probably thought he was a bit of a pansy really, since I also remember my parents not bothering with babysitters and leaving me in the car when they were in the pub. Ahhhh…God bless them good ole days!
Anyway, reminiscences of child neglect aside, I do have a few beefs with this classic Chris Columbus/John Hughes vehicle…
Firstly, what is the deal with that ridiculous lower-case ‘e’ on the logo? I’m sure there’s some junk there about how it’s meant to represent poor defenceless, little Kevin McCallister, but it looks like a typo: always has, always will.
Also, I completely understand the appeal of doing sequels (especially since the first film made squillions) – and hey, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York was pretty swell considering its cartoonish violence and the fact that Kevin comes across as just as much of a baddie as Harry and Marv – but what the hell were they thinking replacing Culkin for number 3. Sure, he would have been 17 by that stage, and more than capable of looking after himself, but c’mon!
Just don’t go blaming Columbus or Hughes, since it was 20th Century Fox who foiled their plans to shoot 2 and 3 back-to-back. I guess the joke was on them though: the first two Home Alone‘s were box office dynamite, the third was an unmitigated disaster. That said, I do have some kind of perverse admiration for the fact that the baddies in Home Alone 3 are working for a North Korean terrorist organisation.
As for that abysmal excuse of a fourth film, which was shot in Cape Town, South Africa (I know, I don’t get it either), this is Kevin McCallister in an alternate universe where children really, really can’t act and everyone is extremely irritating. It was directed by the singular(ly bad) Rod Daniel – he of such classics as Beethoven’s 2nd and Disney Channel’s Alley Cats Strike.
Okay, so I’m being a bit harsh, he did also direct Teen Wolf and the brilliantly scatological man’s-best-friend comedy K-9, but he has got progressively worse since then (ABC would have been better off hiring these guys). Plus, a quick glance at his filmography suggests a strange obsession with canines, high school athletes and/or a combination of the two.
It probably wont come as a surprise that Daniel hasn’t directed anything since his farcical (in a bad way) Home Alone venture in 2002. Speaking of which, whoever decided that this bottom-feeding straight-to-DVD dog mess deserved a place in the Home Alone box set should take a long hard look at themselves. Preferably whilst applying aftershave…
Speaking of which, there are worryingly large number of images on the interwebs featuring people imitating a gurning Culkin, not least this intriguing rendition by an unknown Norwegian artist, who seems to have transported Kevin to a seaside resort:
Home Alone 5: Lost in Blackpool anyone?
Actually, I think we’d all prefer to see this sequel:
Or, perhaps we’d all just settle for a peek at the best film never made, Angels with Filthy Souls:
As for me, I’ll be happy if I never, ever have to watch Daniel Stern step on a nail…never, ever again. Please.