We Love… Christmas: ‘Home Alone’

Santa's Night In

Illustration by Adeline Pericart

Throughout December we’ll be adding more Christmas films we love – so keep an eye on the website and feel free to add any of your own…

Home Alone

Gemma Creagh

 

What’s not to love? Home Alone has extreme violence, some adorably funny acting and is laced with just the right amount of shmultz so it fits in nicely into the Christmas Movie genre! So surrounded by the remains of my first selection box of the season, I sat down to watch one of the most memorable Christmas movies of all time. And what a movie… I honestly enjoyed it as much in this sitting as I did when I caught it as a nipper in the early nineties.

There’s nothing that spreads xmas cheer quite like a male in a large building who’s defending it from threatening invaders by picking them off separately – all while missing his family. The film’s title could easily have been Die Hard Jnr. ; and so, like its Bruce Willis equivalent, Home Alone has some pretty nasty bad guys. The brilliantly creepy villains, played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern, are so good that both young kids can hate them, and the adults can fear them breaking into their home. In fact, some careful marketing would see this film’s TV sponsors as being Eircom Phone Watch.

Lord knows how this kid’s film managed to wrangle its PG cert, what with all the gruesome brutality. More than once I found myself flinching from the eerily authentic-looking injuries which the young protagonist afflicts on the ‘Wet Bandits’. Fair play to IFCO for not putting up the rating after the nail-in-the-tar scene through. Yikes.

There are so many laugh-out-loud moments throughout Home Alone; most of which stem from the excellent casting of wee Macaulay Culkin and his unnatural adultness; his cheapskate uncle Jack and his brutish brother Buzz – who reminds me of a young Biff, the baddy from my other childhood favourite, Back to the Future. John Candy’s brilliant cameo as the lovable Polka-obsessed Gus Polinski couldn’t go without a mention. His long list of musical hits still have me chuckling.

Some truly superb writing is evident; not just in the excellently observed characters; but in the fact that in the film a family made it all the way to France while BELIEVABLY forgetting their youngest son. These are the two most fundamental things missing from Hollywood films at the moment; in which everyone’s a two-dimensional (or 3D as the case may be now) stereotype who plod in and out of the laziest of plot devices. Home Alone is just outrageous enough to be ridiculously relatable, and that’s why it’s just so goddamn great.

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