No film manages to make light of child abandonment, burglary, and many, many cases of attempted murder quite like Home Alone. Set around a series of events that would normally be considered tragic and terrible, the film somehow manages to make things like a child being left to his own devices versus a pair of (admittedly moronic) burglars downright hilarious. Yet, it’s also pretty damn feel-good, in the way only family movies from the late 80’s/early 90’s can be.
When 8-year-old Keven McCallister (Macaulay Culkin, in the role that would basically come to define his life) is accidentally left behind in suburban Illinois by his giant family, he takes it much better than 8-year-old me would have. Granted (in true movie style) he had wished for his family to disappear the evening prior, so waking up to find them gone (and with no one to boss him around) seems like a pretty sweet deal.
Naturally, life gets in the way of his childhood fantasy, both in the form of the fantastical (worrying about a murderer fabled to be living next door) and the actual. The real threat comes a-knocking early on, with the arrival of the “Wet Bandits” (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern), a pair of bungling crooks robbing houses left vacant for the holidays. With nothing but his toy box and whatever else he can scrounge up the suburban house to save him, he’ll have to get creative if he wants to stop the dastardly pair.
dir. Chris Columbus