My Alternative Xmas Movie Advent Calendar – Dec. 17th: Home Alone

Sticking with comedies, Chris Columbus and John Hughes make their second appearances on this list with the 90s classic, Home Alone. While I hesitated to include this because it’s a fairly obvious choice, it’s a great family movie and I just couldn’t resist. 

Directed by Chris Columbus

Written by John Hughes

Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Catherine O’Hara, and Daniel Stern

An eight-year-old is left to fend off a home invasion robbery attempt after his parents accidentally forget him when they go on Christmas vacation. This sounds like the start to an 80s style slasher flick (and I would love to see it remade that way), but it’s the crown jewel of the 90s kid-caper movies.

C’mon, the kid has a gun

Chris Columbus’ third directorial effort brought the situational comedic awareness of Gremlins mixed with the kid-centric approach of Adventures in Babysitting. I don’t think anyone could deny it worked out well. While it’s one of the more identifiable Christmastime movies, the holiday itself is mostly just the explanation for why this child is left to defend his home from burglars. This was another one of those movies that aren’t necessarily synonymous with John Hughes, but there’s no denying he is keenly aware of how to make balanced and entertaining comedies. Even though the gag spots throughout are pronounced, it still works wonderfully.

This movie launched Macaulay Culkin into stardom and he’s as good of a kid as you could have hoped for in the role of Kevin, but it’s the performances from Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern that really make the movie work. Even though the pair are mostly bumbling buffoons that exist solely to walk into traps set by this child that’s outsmarting them, Pesci brings his signature attitude and Stern’s physical comedy is fantastic. The supporting cast features good performances from Catherine O’Hara, John Heard, and John Candy in a much smaller role. 

Home Alone may be synonymous with the Xmas season but that’s a testament to its quality and staying power. You can revisit this piece of the 90s with a Disney+ subscription or rent it through video-on-demand services. 

Happy Holidays!

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