HOME ALONE —- this sadistic comedy became a box-office phenomenon. It was the top-grossing picture of 1990, making $477,561,000 worldwide, and was the #1 live-action comedy of all time (“Sad”, someone might Tweet). Not only that, but adjusted for inflation it’s the biggest Christmas movie ever. An estimated 67,700,000 tickets were sold in the US alone, who knows how much in video rentals and sales, and it coughed up four sequels, none of which I could be induced to watch with a blowtorch or any other kind of blow. I find this mean and empty movie, and its grossing success rather appalling.
An almost fully unpleasant family goes to Paris for Christmas and in a mix-up hurry they forget to bring along their put-upon 8-year-old, ‘Kevin’ (the sleepy-looking—to be kind—Macauley Culkin,9) who ends up defending the house against a pair of burglars (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) targeting the neighborhood to hit homes filled with holiday loot while residents are away (what a sweet concept from the get-go). Kevin’s variety of traps and weapons cause all manner of painful pratfall to the thieves. And audiences roar in laughter at the hurt.
I wasn’t impressed when I first saw it nearly three decades back, and the recent re-look, which was at home, alone, just reconfirmed and amplified my original sour response. Except for John Williams cagey title theme, I frankly don’t like anything about it. The gags are vicious, the characters are all unappealing, and I credit this movie for helping kick open the floodgate for trash-the-holiday shtick and an endless assault of mostly idiotic comedies revolving around people hurting each other. You can have it.
With Catherine O’Hara (who I normally like, but not here), John Heard, Roberts Blossom, Angela Goethals, Devin Ratray (as likable as his name), Gerry Bamman, John Candy and Kieran Culkin. Made for $18,000,000, screaming through 103 minutes. Oscar-nominated for Williams score and for the song “Somewhere In My Memory.” Directed by Chris Columbus, written by John Hughes. They both did better.
home, alonecontrast with Millions