It’s been 25 years since I sat in the movie theater with my little brother roaring with laughter at the attempts of pint-sized Kevin McAllister, played by Macaulay Culkin, protecting his home from dimwitted burglars Marv and Harry, aka The Wet Bandits. Since then, Home Alone has become a holiday classic.
Written by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus, it grossed over $285 million. We all know the story about a family who forgets their youngest member in the hustle and bustle of leaving for the airport. While the mother frantically tries to make it back to her son, Kevin enjoys every child’s fantasy: snooping through his brother’s room, sledding down the stairs, eating a ton of ice cream and putting on his dad’s aftershave. When local criminals scope out the McAllisters' stately home, Kevin booby traps the house, thwarting their attempts, which results in their arrest. The family is reunited at the end. (They reunite again in the sequel, Home Alone 2.)
A lot has happened in 25 years. John Candy died. John Hughes died. Daniel Stern wrapped up narration of The Wonder Years. Joe Pesci acted in some more good movies. And while Macaulay Culkin made several other memorable films as a child, as an adult, he has been in the news more for his off-screen antics than on. He also wrote a book, Junior.
Watching the movie as an adult, I discovered that, like me, it has aged well. Sure, I find Kevin to be kind of annoying, and I cringe at the physical comedy I laughed so hard at as a kid, but the pranks are still over-the-top funny, the quotes are still relevant and the message is still strong: Be grateful for your family. Also, your creepy old neighbor is probably not a murderer.
Check it out to watch again (and again) this holiday season and compare notes with this Time article about how things would be different if Kevin were left home alone today.