I Am Home Alone

Viking Views staffer Rory Galbraith dissects the popular Christmas franchise

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Niko Pitinii

Rory strikes the classic “Home Alone” pose while wearing his funny “Home Alone” shirt gifted to him by his mother during the writing of this review.

Rory Galbraith, Chief of News

Home for the holidays. Home is where the heart is. There is no place like home. The family household has held value in society since the dawn of the first Christmas. The heart and soul of these groups of people who all share relation is found in the home. The home is a sacred place, thus in a time of crisis, must be defended at all costs. Homes contain not only a family and your belongings but the beginning and end of your existence each day. One is born to the day in the home and return at night to sleep. No matter how large or small, the home is the foundation of the family.

Children spend a majority of time in their house. Their entire existence in their formative years usually revolves around the lessons and morals learned in the home. The parents serve as the guardians of the integrity and morals of the household. They set boundaries and limits that create a sense of order for the child. Once the guardian is removed from the home and the child is left alone with the freedom to do whatever they please, they will take advantage of the situation and goof off. However, sometimes in an emergency, even a child must step in and take action to defend their house, and by extension, the will and spirit of the family. This is the foundation for the series of Christmas movies known as “Home Alone”.

Starting in 1990 and continuing recently in 2021, the “Home Alone” saga has spanned decades. Arguably the most popular Christmas film franchise, many people fondly remember classic Kevin McCallister and his wacky antics in the first two films. However, all children grow up and when the heart of this series remains childlike, a new child star must rise into the shoes of the defender of the home. Tackling six movies of varying quality is no easy task, that is why I must first go into the first movie with a clear head. Like most people, I have watched the first Home Alone. However I must put myself in the shoes of a moviegoer Christmas 1990 and review objectively how much Christmas cheer and joy each film produces along with spoiling every “unique” plot of these movies… readers have been warned.

 

*ratings do not depict the film’s quality, rather how much the film demonstrates the spirit of Christmas*

 

Home Alone (1990)

The first entry into the “Home Alone” franchise, “Home Alone” explains everything in its title. Kevin McCallister acts out and gets into a fight with his parents, who then send him upstairs to the attic. The next day they all pack up and hurriedly make their way to the airport for their vacation in France, forgetting Kevin in the desperate rush. This series of unforeseen coincidences gives Kevin his wish and he soon goes wild with the house to himself. Circumstances escalate however when two cat burglars plan to break into the McCallister home while they are in France. The young 8-year-old must come to grips with reality and act on his own with no fear to stop these bandits from breaking into his home. The Christmas classic plays out from there, everyone knows “Home Alone!”

The focus of re-watching this pinnacle of the Christmas film genre is not to analyze its simple yet relatable plot, rather to focus on the human emotion, the drive and the Christmas atmosphere that people find joy in every year. Kevin reacts to every situation as the audience expects. The audience, especially children, have fought with their parents before. They have differing attitudes and beliefs or sometimes are just perceived as an annoying brat like poor Kevin. This movie is smart with this concept by giving Kevin a fear of his old neighbor, who is misunderstood by the community. After a talk in the church with the old man, Kevin realizes adults get in fights with their parents as well yet that does not change how they feel about them. This neighbor describes how he feels sorrowful that his son does not talk to him anymore. The movie is smart enough to not tell us why. It is up to the audience to project their problems to this character and give this once scary man a human and warm feeling. In the climatic showdown, Kevin uses his smarts and his wits to successfully outsmart the bumbling burglars. However, he is still a kid, so when they finally catch up to the boy they easily overtake him and plan their revenge.

The movie set up a dual narrative between Kevin and his mom attempting to get back to her stranded son. This foreshadows the resolution of his mom saving the day, finding him cornered but then forcing the bandits to back off, protecting their home. In a surprising twist, the old man bashes the pair of robbers with his so-called murder shovel and saves Kevin. This action is a revelation for Kevin who no longer allows his perception to influence how he feels towards others. Kevin now desperately awaits and longs for his family, a feeling only touched on briefly during his first days alone. On Christmas morning his mom finally returns with the help of multiple flights and a spirited polka group. She is shocked by the state of the home. Kevin had set up Christmas decorations and left no trace of his battleground. The mom and his family are completely unaware of what events transpired here a mere 24 hours ago as he chuckles and assures them he just “hung around.” The final shot, a now changed Kevin and respected anew by his family, opens up the curtain with a view of his neighbor, surrounded by his son and his family in a warm embrace. Kevin smiles and the old man waves, a quiet moment with the once lonely pair that now have their families back for Christmas. Family and Christmas are completely synonymous and this movie nails both aspects.

5 out of 5 Spirit Points

 

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

The second entry in the “Home Alone” franchise is a direct follow up to its predecessor; however, only the subtitle explains everything as Kevin is not at home in this movie. One might think, does that defeat the point?

“Well yes but at least the sequel is not repetitive and derivative of the original, they want to try something new with this established brand!” – Reasonable Movie Enjoyer

With great sadness this optimistic quotation is false as the movie is a very familiar experience to the first, albeit with clever differences. A year after the events of the first movie, the year that they left their son at home, the McCallister family decide to fly down to Florida for the holidays. Kevin does not like this one bit, as he would rather be alone with his own money to buy his own vacation. Kevin, obviously forgetting the message of the first movie, squabbles with his family once again and is sent to the attic. At this point, a reasonable viewer would assume the movie is setting up the same premise as the first but this reasonable viewer did not read the subtitle.

In a “surprising” twist, Kevin successfully makes it to the airport with his family. They are still in a rush however, and instead of a series of probable and realistic coincidences separating him from his well meaning parents, they just leave the kid behind. Kevin then mistakes some random guy for his dad and proceed to board a plane to New York City. Fortunately, Kevin’s dad handed him the bag with all the money for the trip before they separated. Kevin now is alone with all the money in the world (in the form of a credit card) to have his own dream vacation.

This sequel movie is by no means more popular than the original; however, it is famous for referencing a famous president! Herbert Hoover is mentioned by name from one of the hotel’s staffers as a throwaway line (what sellouts!). The same plot as the first continues to churn along as Kevin visits a toy store, rides in a limousine and books a fancy hotel stay. The bandits from the first movie are back because they escaped prison and now they are in New York because the movie requires them to be. Kevin meets another scary person, this time a pigeon lady, and then goes to visit his uncle’s house which is undergoing repairs with no one home (this is important). This movie once again presents the perspective of his desperate mother, who is in a rainy Florida attempting to explain to the police how they lost their son once again.

Meanwhile, the “home” of this movie is brought to light. The toy store will be robbed by the crooked bandits on Christmas Eve but Kevin is going to stop them! A reasonable viewer would assume Kevin would just call the police, knowing that the bandits will be caught red-handed at midnight but then we wouldn’t get the classic “Home Alone” staple of slapstick comedy. Instead, Kevin throws a brick through the window of the store, setting off an alarm and causing the Wet Bandits to chase him after Kevin also takes a picture of the pair sure to be decisive evidence. Kevin then leads them to his uncle’s house, that is still under repair, where he has laid even deadlier traps involving explosions, 30 foot falls and paint. The scene really puts me in the Christmas spirit. 30 minutes of watching two men being killed five times over yet surviving because it is a family movie! Kevin leads them to Central Park, slips on ice and is captured once again due to the fact he is a child. This time the pigeon lady saves him and the bandits are foiled once again. His mother, desperately searching the New York streets, figures out with Christmas magic where Kevin is located and finds him early on Christmas morning at approximately 3 a.m. This moment and also the warm yet extremely familiar conversation Kevin has with the bird lady, give this movie that Christmas spirit found in the original. Because of the murderous stunts and repetitive nature of this film, it is a bit weaker than the original but still a fun time and a great representation of the Christmas season.

4 out of 5 Spirit Points

 

Home Alone 3 (1997)

The third entry in the “Home Alone” franchise is a soft reboot of the original story. In a way to compensate for the fact child actors grow up and to avoid repetition, the movie cast a new child star taking the role of clever 8-year-old Alex Pruitt. This movie takes a very interesting and high stakes direction. Rather than simple house robbers, the enemy this time around are four freelance criminals working for a terrorist organization to track down a military missile microchip. The high stakes are conveyed in the first minutes of this movie.

The opening shot starts in an airport following the mishaps of these professional thugs, rather than a bustling Christmas household (a staple of this franchise at this point). The criminals hide an important microchip inside a toy car but then lose the car in a shuffle during security clearance when boarding for their flight. After they board the flight and get their bearings, the thieves are forced to investigate the entire neighborhood where they believe the car is located. This is where we meet the new kid, Alex.

He is a perfect child with no flaws whatsoever. In the first two movies, Kevin’s wishes to be away from his family make him believe that is why his family does actually disappear. It adds to the lesson of the films and also showcases his still young and naïve mind. Alex has a perfect family who all love and care for him and he has no negative character traits. He is not even left at home for long, as the parents only leave for work and his siblings go to school everyday. The reason he is home alone is due to chicken pox rather than his family leaving him behind. He eventually receives the toy car from his neighbor who is upset about losing her luggage in the airport. The microchip to potentially start nuclear war is in an 8-year-old’s hands.

This creative setup is interesting yet creates many problems that the McCallister duology never contained. Alex has done nothing wrong and calls the police multiple times when he sees suspicious activity. The police, finding nothing because of the professionalism of these crooks, assume this kid is lying, every time he calls. This creates a feeling he has to act as a vigilante and catch these crooks himself, which is a bad message to be spreading to children. The difference in Kevin’s movies was that every time he would call the cops, they would help and catch the crooks. It was after the fact and he had already beat them up with his wacky traps but the cops were only seen as a positive entity in these movies. The cops in “Home Alone 3” would not even keep a lookout of the neighborhood just in case Alex was in fact right, which creates a bizarre “boy cries wolf” scenario.

The worst part of this film, however, is this plot is not relevant to Christmas at all. The family does not take a family vacation nor do the robbers even come on Christmas Eve. Rather it is some random day in December they decide to assault the Pruitt household to get back the microchip for the terrorists. One unrelated Christmas song plays and sparse amounts of decorations litter the neighborhood. Unfortunately, the writers missed the point of the movie that is about Christmas and family joy and togetherness and rather just have a conclusion where Alex receives a bunch of money as a reward from the FBI because he did their job. Other than the snow, this movie only put me in a sad, irritable mood that is not usually associated with the Christmas season.

1 out of 5 Spirit Points

 

Home Alone 4 (2002)

The fourth entry in the “Home Alone” franchise, “Home Alone 4” returns back to the classic character Kevin McCallister. Played by a different child actor due to the passage of time, this movie plays an interesting role in the grand narrative and daresay timeline of this “Home Alone” universe. Rather than discuss the fairly monotonous and nonexistent plot of this direct to DVD sequel, let’s delve into the “Home Alone” timeline.

 

Timeline Tangent

This information has yet to be released and is largely based on my analysis of these films but I am sure of these facts. When searching for any source to back these claims up online, I received an outdated Fandom article from the 90s about the first three films but this fourth film is where this timeline gets flipped around. So let’s start with the first movie.

“Home Alone” takes place a few days before Christmas of 1990 in Chicago. We know this because the film released that year and the technology and events in the movie make no reference of any other time. We can also assume that the movie spans two or three days because Kevin’s mom remarks she had been without sleep for “48 hours,” on the day before Christmas. Kevin is finally reunited with his family on Christmas morning and all is well.

“Home Alone 2” is very clear direct follow up to the previous film, as it is frequently brought up that “Kevin got left behind last year.” The viewers can reasonably assume then, this film is set in the Christmas of 1991, even though this movie was released in 1992. Therefore, the actor who plays Kevin, Macaulay Culkin, has aged two years since his appearance in “Home Alone” so in the movie they say Kevin is now 10-years-old. He was eight in the first film. Now, I assume this is a small goof from the writers rather than an intentional opening of this “Home Alone Multiverse” so I will excuse it for now but obviously the boy cannot have aged more than one year if he was eight on the Christmas of 1990 and ten on the Christmas of 1992.

He is left behind for two days as well due to the timeline of events in the film—he lands in New York City and stays at fancy hotel, then is on the streets the next day which is explicitly Christmas Eve. He is reunited with his mom early Christmas morning and all is well.

“Home Alone 3” takes place in assumedly the Christmas of 1997 because of its release date. Of course, as mentioned in the review segment, this movie shows no actual Christmas activities, so we can reasonably assume that the plot occurs in the early days of December. The new boy, Alex Pruitt, also lives in Chicago but this is simply an homage to the first two films as Chicago represents the “Home Alone” franchise to this point. Chicago is at least where the titular home belongs in a majority of this series’ plots. Alex does his stuff for the movie and all is well.

“Home Alone 4” is where this timeline becomes very important and seems to be an intentional confirmation of a “Home Alone Multiverse.” This fourth film follows a Kevin McCallister as well, played by a different actor. The year is 2002, when the film released on DVD, and is clearly Christmas as Kevin decorates the tree with his dad and catches the robbers, or rather kidnappers, on Christmas day with his family. The robber named Marv is one of the original characters from the first two movies and has full knowledge of the new Kevin as a kid who has foiled his plans in the past. With this limited information, the movie has led us to believe that this fourth movie is a continuation of the first two films plots or at least an alternate reality as there is a new Kevin and he is 9-years-old. Obviously, this movie cannot be a direct continuation of the first two as it is the year 2002 and Kevin is nine. This means that alternate reality Kevin was not even born when the events of the first two movies took place.

Given this, the movie very clearly defines the relationship between Kevin and Marv. Other similarities with the first two films include his siblings named Buzz and Megan yet those are the only siblings present in his house. The original Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) had many more siblings and relatives. These differences are only slight yet contribute and stack together to make this idea more than a simple accident.

My theory for this movie is that the new Kevin has experienced his own version of the first two film’s plotlines and therefore has dealt with the home robber named Marv before. Marv is much more like his original counterpart Harry from the original. With the short stature, quick temper and black knit hat covering a bald head, Marv perfectly plays the role of Harry from the original as his wife plays the role of Marv from the original (slow-witted and clumsy). Harry is never mentioned in this fourth movie, so no speculation can be made about the existence of a Harry in this universe. The film only demonstrates that Marv’s wife in this movie is new and Kevin is surprised to see her when they first meet. So we can safely assume that this fourth movie takes place in a separate timeline unless somehow there are two McCallister families with similar names in Chicago both experiencing numerous encounters with criminals named Marv every Christmas in the span of ten years. You may believe this detail is not important or is not intentional but these are the concrete facts of this franchise and way more interesting to discuss than the fourth actual movie. Unfortunately, for the sake of completion and for a reader that has ventured this far in, here is the review of “Home Alone 4.”

 

Home Alone 4 (2002) (cont.)

The fourth entry in the “Home Alone” franchise stars the new, recast Kevin McCallister. The movie opens in a classic fashion, a bustling McCallister household. The movie soon addresses the absence of a key character, Peter McCallister, the father of Kevin. A very interesting theme of divorce is brought up continuously in this movie. The subject matter is geared for an audience of children and is handled quite maturely yet is not the best fit for a Christmas movie.

Kevin wishes he could be an only child and his wish is granted in classic “Home Alone” fashion as his dad offers Kevin to spend the week of Christmas at his giant mansion. Kevin leaves his siblings and mom behind to have a luxurious Christmas with the royal family and his future stepmom. His future stepmom has connections with the British royal family so they are planned to fly in on Christmas Eve to spend the holiday with the group. Kevin makes the decision to spend Christmas only at the mansion with only his father. This is because the two Christmases concept for children of divorce is too reasonable of a solution for this movie’s forced conflict.

The hilarious part of this movie, other than the grand alternate reality narrative discussed previously, is that Kevin is never left home alone. This mansion is staffed by a butler and maid who are always present in the estate even when his dad leaves for the day. This baffling decision for the child never to be left alone is a complete disgrace to the series namesake and a clear example of how all the writers have run out of ideas for this franchise.

The mischievous traps that the bandits go through are expected but Kevin never really plans these events out. A great first example of these lucky and circumstantial traps is when the house is flooded by Kevin as the bandits first enter the home in broad daylight. The parents soon come home to realize the mess. They are angry and do not believe anything Kevin is “making up” in classic “Home Alone 3” fashion. This movie is definitely a continuation of the themes and messaging of the previous works yet this movie does not contribute anything new to this franchise except the timeline.

My theory for why this movie is called “Home Alone 4” without the kid actually being home alone is because I alone, am the only person in existence who has watched this entire movie. If your low budget, direct to DVD Christmas movie is only known for the multiverse it inexplicably created, that is a terrible movie. His old parents actually rekindle their love and remarry at the end so all is well.

The movie at least, for all of its faults and annoying nonsense that rips off an established franchise, represents the season of Christmas. Kevin uses toys he receives for Christmas to fight off bandits, they watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” and decorate the tree. The family is reunited on Christmas as Kevin’s mom and dad get back together and invite the royal family into their old home to celebrate the holiday together. The feeling of Christmas is present throughout even with the cynical, corporate stench of unoriginality plaguing this pathetic movie.

3 out of 5 Spirit Points

 

Home Alone: The Holiday Heist (2012)

The fifth entry in the “Home Alone” franchise finally drops title number in exchange for a subtitle. This is a smart move considering the previous numbered “Home Alone’s” have not had many connections with the exception of the first two. In exchange for the numeral, this movie is dubbed “The Holiday Heist” implying both the season and the actions taken by the bandits in this “original” film. However, in reality, the titular “heist” is simply a robbery of my time watching this painfully mediocre made for TV movie.

This new “film” covers a new kid, Finn Baxter. He is a 10-year-old boy who only has two personality traits, fear and gamer. He is obsessed with gaming and is constantly scared. The movie makes a large effort convincing the audience that both Finn and his older sister Alexis are absolutely consumed by their technology and devices. With this bizarre messaging, one can assume this movie takes place in 2012 which clues us in to this expansive “Home Alone Multiverse.”

Other notable elements of this movie include the setting, a small town in Maine. For the first time in this franchise the character is not living in the Chicago suburbs, rather a random “haunted” house in Maine. For this reason and others, I believe this movie was never intended to be a “Home Alone” movie and rather adopted it’s name in the final seconds of production.

This theory is not true but the decisions made in this movie at least show how little care was given to the project. Many blatant references are made about the superior first film, like Finn putting on the aftershave (in a surprise twist he doesn’t scream!!!). This movie feels like the scraps from a cancelled Hallmark Christmas movie.

Everything in this movie feels like it is on a budget and made strictly for business reasons. The acting is mediocre at best with Finn delivering the most lifeless performance. Usually the case for child actors but in a franchise where the first two movies spoiled us with a good child actor, the sequels should also deliver on those expectations. The movie also contains bizarre shaky cams, terrible audio mixing and awful pacing.

The timeline and pacing of this movie is so incredibly terrible that the fundamental plot is nearly incomprehensible but this is my best attempt. The movie starts on December 16th of 2012, with the family moving all the way from California to Maine. A cross-country road trip that most likely took a few days but that detail is not mentioned or acknowledged so it is of no importance. The mother receives an invitation from her boss (surprisingly portrayed by the late Ed Asner) which details the plans for a Christmas party on the 18th of December. The family spends the day marveling at the haunted house and unpacking while Finn is gaming online and Alexis is texting and portraying the “rebellious teenager” trope. On the 17th, the family has a fun Christmas day where they miraculously manage to decorate their entire house with lights, cut down and decorate a tree and coincidentally miss the bandits invading their home in search of a valuable painting.

Funnily enough for a majority of the movie both Finn and the robbers believe the house to be haunted by ghosts and is a prevailing theme throughout this Christmas movie.

Anyway on the 18th that is where the movie’s pacing and timeline are struck down as the majority of the film takes place on this day. Ignoring exceptions to the hour by hour timeline but the course of events after the parents leave the kids home makes no logical sense. This is obviously due to the writing team’s lack of care and effort but it is pretty hilarious how many things and events occur between the hours of 6 P.M. to around midnight (most likely).

What happens exactly? Finn uses his gaming knowledge to “outsmart” the bandits. The bandits, who believe the house to be haunted until 15 minutes remain in this feature, fall prey to many of these violent mechanations. He manages to rescue his sister trapped in the basement and protects the sought after painting. Of course, with his sister being present in the home all night, he was never home alone so the title is once again a lie.

Plenty of forced themes persist in this movie including parent pleasers like “the best game” is real life and granting plane tickets to strangers from the internet so they can see their family. One theme prevails above them all however, as the idea of fear and overcoming fear is the central theme once again in a “Home Alone” movie.

Ripping straight from the original, Finn is scared of the basement. He believes it is haunted and filled with ghosts after finding the secret room. Unlike the original, this fear is characterized as Finn’s only personality. Kevin in the first “Home Alone” is a believable character, not only from the quality acting but also the nuance to his character. He is not perfect yet he has many traits. He is the youngest, a smart-mouth and sometimes takes his family for granted. He is also 8-years-old, so he is reasonably afraid of a dark basement and bandits attacking his home. Every scene with Finn contains him either with a gaming setup or screaming and running away. Only towards the conclusion does he magically overcome his fear and traps the invaders in the secret room for the police. The film ruins any possible message of overcoming your fears for a lazy “go outside” quote for the new generation of technology obsessed Gen Zers.

The Christmas elements of this movie are quite barren. Other than the decorating and snowstorm, this plot could have happened in July. The robbers don’t even rob the house on Christmas Eve or Day, the film dedicated barely any time in its resolution actually covering the joys of Christmas Day. Unfortunately, this film’s Christmas theme is yet another afterthought in the minds of the writers as they focus on the bland, uninspired ghost and haunted house theme. Overall, this movie is a waste of time because the creators did not give enough time to this project.

2 out of 5 Spirit Points

 

Cultural Impact

Before reaching the final movie in this deep dive of the “Home Alone” franchise, one must understand the impact and standing power of the first film. This film is still played today and beloved by adults and kids alike. Few things have aged poorly in this classic and it remains a staple on its current home of Disney Plus. When starting this project, I did not even have to look up the original film with the search bar as the streaming service headlined their Christmas category with this film.

With a successful movie like “Home Alone,” there are bound to be ripoffs and merchandising. Many spoof and spinoff movies were made with slight twists to the classic formula, including the sequels I have spent thousands of words explaining. The funniest one of these spoofs includes a movie named “Alone for Christmas” or its more recognizable title of “Bone Alone.” This movie stars a dog defending its house from evil bandits with classic dog inspired traps like a slingshot. What a Christmas miracle! This movie came out in the dark days of the “Home Alone” franchise, as the fifth entry had recently released to largely negative and mixed reception. People just wanted something new, something fresh. And then finally, in 2018, that wish seemed to be answered.

Two major “Home Alone” events occurred in 2018. First, Ryan Reynolds was slated as the producer on an upcoming R-rated spoof of the classic “Home Alone.” The original director of “Home Alone,” Chris Columbus, called this possibility “an insult to the art of cinema.” Unfortunately this movie never made it out of production but a commercial took its place. In 2018, Google released an advert for their Google Home series of products. In a minute long advertisement, Macaulay Culkin reprises the role of Kevin but as an adult. He does the classic alone at home routine as the production team behind this commercial expertly recreate scenes from the film. This commercial is a testament to how relevant the original movie is. Of course, with relevance and money, here comes “The Mouse.” With their acquisition of 21st Century Fox, Disney had to capitalize on this market and yet again reboot the franchise.

 

Home Sweet Home Alone (2021)

The sixth entry in the “Home Alone” franchise is another modern retelling of the same tired idea. This iteration of the child that is left home alone stars Max Mercer, a 10-year-old boy with a British accent in Chicago. He lives with his mom, dad and sister in a large estate within a quiet suburb.

For the first time since “Home Alone 3,” the kid actually is left alone with the house all to himself. With no rules, the kid takes advantage of this opportunity by playing with LEGOs and gaming. The typical routine for a kid, so why is it special being home alone? He eats a lot of candy yet it seems weird that they heavily compare this scene with the original “Home Alone” routine (which is famous enough to receive its own commercial), by even going as far as to use the same music in this scene. The score of this movie largely consists of the first movie’s classic tracks, which are iconic but do not fit the “comedic” tone. Even though this movie is the sixth entry, other than the obvious sequel that was the second movie, this Disney Plus original feels the most trapped in the past and nostalgia. The twist of this movie is the bizarre focus on the bandits. The writers of this movie finally realized the kid should not have character growth, rather have the villains learn a lesson.

This movie dedicated almost half of its runtime on this family struggling to keep their house and attempting to sell it because they no longer can afford the mortgage. They are not criminals nor have they ever broken the law yet Max Mercer pushes them over the edge as the father (the worst performance in this movie) believes that the boy stole this rare and valuable antique doll which would save them from financial turmoil. This is the only twist the movie provides, showing the descent into madness, the “Joker” arc per se. Of course this movie navigates this character arc a million times worse than 2019’s “The Joker” but the concept of a typical person crossing that line, “breaking bad” per se, is very intriguing and a large interest in pop culture today. But for a Christmas movie, it feels out of place and a very shallow attempt to humanize the villains.

For a movie filled with comedians, this movie pulls no punches and is not funny. Every other actor is a comedian. The boy who portrays Max Mercer, Archie Yates, was the funniest character in this small indie film known as “Jojo Rabbit” (2019). These actors and comedians like Kenan Thompson and Jim Rash are funny and entertaining yet this awful script and directing failed them and their potential comedic contribution. This is the only “Home Alone” movie I did not even offer a pity laugh to, maybe due to the fatigue of this project. Maybe though, this movie is so painfully unfunny that any attempt at irony or self-aware humor fell flat as I watched this utter cash grab of a product.

Imagine the “Home Alone” plot, the twists and turns, the pacing and flow, minus the old man character (because no one likes emotional movies), minus any humor or wit from the characters—you get “Home Sweet Home Alone”. The biggest contribution in the saga of films this entry provides is a canonical look at the lives of the original Kevin and Buzz characters (sorry “Home Alone 4” fans).

This entry is canonical and confirmed in the original reality of “Home Alone” films as it portrays Buzz McCallister as a cop in Chicago and heavily references the fact McCallister Home Security is owned and founded by Kevin McCallister. Assumedly, the plot takes place in December 2021. A small time skip occurs later in the film that advances to supposedly the Christmas of 2022 but that is a small, forgettable portion of this greater narrative.

30 years after the plot of “Home Alone 2,” Buzz is living as a cop and maintains no romantic connections. The movie explicitly points out how Buzz is alone, a fact which he is content with. Kevin is implied to still be a trickster when Buzz states that Kevin makes prank calls as payback for the two times his family left him home alone. Kevin is supposedly successful in the home security business but the exact fate of Kevin we may never know as Macaulay Culkin had no involvement in this film and hopefully this is the last “Home Alone” franchise film. Please I beg you Disney. Please let this franchise end.

After Max is simply forgotten by his mom when they leave for Tokyo, he has the home to himself. Hijinx and some regrets ensue as the robbers plan to take back their doll to save the family house. After the wild “death maze”, the criminals beg Max for the doll back when Max insists he never took it. Realizing their fall from grace, the father and mother realize their mistakes and offer to take Max into their home since he is home alone. Max agrees to go to with the strangers who broke into his house and finally is reunited with his mom on Christmas Day. It turns out one of the kids at the robber’s house had the rare doll and almost breaks it but Max catches the doll before it shatters. The robbers never discuss the events of this movie with the mom and they become best of friends as both families live in luxury when the doll is sold. They share a Christmas meal together, and all is well.

This movie definitely contains Christmas elements. The original score used from “Home Alone” admittedly gives me nostalgic and warm Christmas vibes yet everything in this movie is soulless. There are so many references, so many pathetic attempts at appealing to a “hip” and young audience, the movie feels corporate and marketed only as a reason to sell more subscriptions. In the spirit of this capitalist holiday, this unfortunate excuse of a movie feels like a Christmas movie simply due to the materialistic nature of the holiday and by extension this corporate product.

4 out of 5 Spirit Points

 

What is the point of all of this? If you have read to this point, clearly you have a reason so why don’t you tell me? This project started as a Christmas version of my Mario movie retrospective yet I did not intend to discover the “Home Alone Multiverse” nor be the first ever person to watch “Home Alone: The Holiday Heist.” Long, tangent driven, repetitive and strangely philosophical—this retrospective is the definition of taking things too far. However, I am not alone in the idea of “taking things too far.”. A solid premise is one thing, writing a little script about that idea is great! Great ideas start from somewhere. Sometimes though, there are limits to how far a concept or idea can be stretched and fleshed out. The best ideas are a culmination of love and passion yet forcing an idea to reinvent itself in the interest of hitting a deadline and speaking to a new audience is a common practice in the film industry today and also a typical habit of my own writing.

This review had to end somewhere but I could have easily examined every scene from one of these six movies and write thousands of words more. Deadlines end those hopes though. “Home Alone” and I share this deadline. “Home Alone” is me. I am “Home Alone.” “Home Alone” for the holidays. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Keep the change you filthy animal.

5 out of 5 Spirit Points