Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.
Sunday, 12 September 2010
Eight-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) lives in a very well off neighbourhood in Chicago and is preparing to fly out to Paris with his parents (Catherine O'Hara and John Heard), siblings (Devin Ratray, Hillary Wolf, Angela Goethals and Michael C. Marrona), aunt (Terrie Snell), uncle (Gerry Bamman) and cousins (Kristin Minter, Jedidiah Cohen, Senta Moses, Daiana Campeanu, Kieran Culkin and Anna Slotky) to spend Christmas with his uncle Rob. However, the evening before they leave Kevin has a massive argument with the whole family and is sent to sleep in the "scary" attic bedroom. The next morning the family oversleep and, in their rush to get to the airport in time, leave Kevin behind. Kevin wakes up to find his family gone and is overjoyed, while, in horror, his mother realizes their mistake half way to Paris. Kevin loves the freedom of being home alone, however, crooks Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern), a.k.a "The Wet Bandits" are targetting the neighbourhood, and Kevin realizes that their next target is his house. Kevin starts planning how to stop them and boobytraps the entire house in order to do so, while his frantic mother is fighting non-stop to get home to him.
If you're older than twelve then there are two ways that you feel Home Alone could turn out to be, particularly if you haven't seen it. It could either be another low budget, poorly made American comedy, or, it could be a witty, well-written comedy that will entertain children and adults alike. It is the latter...
The film starts off on a strong comic note with Kevin trying to fight his older brother Buzz (Ratray) over pizza, which causes the whole family to get involved and for food and drink to go flying everywhere, where, particularly if you and a group of friends/family have got into a frantic mini-domestic, you can't help but laugh at the sheer absurdity of it all. From there the comedy just gets bigger and better. Kevin's taking advantage of being home alone is hilarious - he trashes Buzz's room and steals all his money, pigs out on junk food, while watching gangster films, and has a lot of fun with Buzz's BB gun. However, the most hilarious part of it all is how he uses film within a film Angels with Filthy Souls - a black-and-white gangster film his parents have on video - to scare away a pizza delivery boy (Dan Charles Zukoski) and Marv, whose trying to get in the back door for the first time, who can't see that Kevin's playing a video as they're outside and Kevin's inside, and naturally their frantic attempts to run is hilarious, the physical comedy from them slipping in the snow and tripping over the bins to escape what they think is machine gun fire making great slapstick.
This all builds up to the wonderful, hilarious climax where Harry and Marv go for their big break in/robbery of Kevin's house, only to face booby-trap after booby-trap. It's hard to judge who gets the worst luck - Marv, whose hand is burnt by a door knob that had been greatly heated up and later has his head set alight by a blowtorch, or Harry, who is forced to remove his shoes and socks when he ends up stepping onto stairs coated in wet paint, then steps onto a rusty nail and then jumps through the open window into the house, only to land on glass Christmas decorations. Although for some of them you will wince slightly, just because wincing is a natural instinct when you see cartoon style violence happening to live action flesh and bone you will laugh your socks off at the physical slapstick, the tantrums coming from the amazing Joe Pesci, best known for his comic tantrums/violent fits he displayed in GoodFellas that same year - I can't describe why the tantrums from Joe Pesci are so funny, but he's one of the only actors who can make it so - but most of all you will laugh at how Macaulay Culkin always maintains that air of innocence and childishness, even after he shoots Pesci in the crotch with Buzz's BB gun, and no matter how much grown-up stuff he does.
In short Home Alone is a wonderful comedy film that will entertain the entire family, and will cause you to laugh your head off thanks to brilliantly written slapstick and verbal comedy. It's just a shame its reputation has since been tarnished by the disappointing first sequel (1992) and dire second and third sequels (1997 and 2002).
Stars: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, Catherine O'Hara, Roberts Blossom, John Heard, Devin Ratray, Hillary Wolf, Angela Goethals, Michael C. Marrona, Gerry Bamman, Terrie Snell, John Candy, Kristin Minter, Kieran Culkin, Jedidiah Cohen, Senta Moses, Daiana Campeanu, Anna Slotky.
Oscar nominations: Best Original Score (John Williams), Best Original Song (Somewhere in my Memory - John Williams, Leslie Bricusse).