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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 33.33%
Average: 19.54%
Pretty Bad: 5.75%
Total Crap: 6.9%

3 reviews, 69 user ratings

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Home Alone
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by Dan

"The ultimate childhood revenge fantasy."
4 stars

While often dismissed as a hack job responsible for the downfall of John Hughes-- and the success of this movie almost certainly influenced his decision to stick with the "kiddie slapstick" genre-- what most people neglect to take into account is that, when looked at critically, this is actually a pretty good movie.

The first act is used to set Kevin McAllister (Macauly Culkin) up as a typical neglected child. For the first half hour of the movie, every adult character that he comes in contact with, be it his mother, uncle, or even older brothers and sisters, is in some way abusive to him. Were this a Todd Solondz film, most audiences would be praising his genius if it degenerated into overdone darkness.

But writer Hughes and director Chris Columbus have other things in mind. Darkness for darkness' sake isn't art, and so the sad family situation at the McAllister household is only used to set-up a slapstick comedic affair.

Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern star as two burglars who are casing the McAllisters' neighborhood to rip off the rich folks while they're on vacations over the holidays. Since Kevin is... Home Alone (I swear, that's the first and last pun I'm using. Chirst, I feel dirty even including that one), it's up to him to defend the house from the pair. Without the vital set-up of the first half hour of the film, this movie would be nothing more than a live-action cartoon, like either of its far inferior and nearly unwatchable sequels. However, while it's unrealistic to the point of being totally unbelievable, that's forgivable because the first act established that Kevin needed a way to release the frustration of an alienated child. The audience sees the kid deal with a miserable time, and then gets to watch him release all of the pent-up agression on a surrogate target-- the burglars.

This is important, because in the final act of the film, Kevin's mother, after spending the majority of the movie trying to get home to her son, finally makes it back. Since he had the chance to release the anger he felt at the neglect of the adult in the beginning of the movie, as well as forming a relationship with an old man in his neighborhood (Roberts Blossom), Kevin can finally accept the love of his family, and return it without resentment.

There are flaws to the movie, certainly. Often, the violence is nothing more than a Tom and Jerry-like series of elaborate set-ups that should kill an ordinary man but that Pesci and Stern somehow continually survive. And it's not high art, but it's more than the ridiculous cartoon with an annoying kid as the lead that it's typically taken for.

In the end, Home Alone is like a parallel universe Solondz flick. One where poor family relations don't always end in misery for all involved. And if the viewer lets himself, he'll also find this to be a pretty amusing movie.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 10/24/99 18:38:29
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Trilogy Starters: For more in the Trilogy Starters series, click here.

User Comments

7/02/18 Suzanne so unbelievable, but so funny 4 stars
3/25/18 morris campbell overrated & unfunny imo never liked this movie 1 stars
8/03/14 Sarah Morgan Best Christmas movie EVER 5 stars
11/21/11 cr a awesome christmas movie with lots laughs and culkin is cool! 4 stars
1/12/11 Matt Stilwell An absolute Christmas classic. Right up there with the Patrick Stewart in Christmas Carol 5 stars
11/07/09 WouldntULikeToKnow Classic, Old But Still Growing In Popularity 5 stars
8/15/09 Jeff Wilder If someone calls it crap I can't argue. But it's ENTERTAINING crap. 3 stars
4/11/09 Dane Youssef Hughes perfectly captures that age and creates a beautiful throwback & escapist fantasy. 5 stars
11/17/08 Samantha Pruitt this movie is a lot of fun, so much fun to watch as a kid! 5 stars
10/16/08 Screwball I always wanted to be left home alone as a kid. Fun movie ! 4 stars
3/08/08 Pamela White one of my holiday classics I see every year 5 stars
11/25/07 jared I've loved this movie since I was 10 years old. Seventeen years later, it still rocks 5 stars
12/22/06 Reviewer Classic Christmas Movie 5 stars
12/15/06 Stanley Thai A very good family comedy. Very funny and heartwarming. 4 stars
12/13/06 EMINA HERCEG a fun kid comedy with a good story 5 stars
12/10/06 David Cohen Proof that "high grossing" is not a synonym for "good" 1 stars
12/06/06 David Pollastrini very funny 5 stars
7/12/06 Marty Aw Buzz! Your girlfriend! Woof! 5 stars
5/06/06 Ashley Hinz I love it. Want it on DVD. 5 stars
11/26/05 cr a fun kid comedy with a good story, a fun time and a booby trap knockout 4 stars
11/15/05 mike palmiter great holiday-type entertainment, but check-in your brain at the box office. 4 stars
10/05/05 Jesse Taylor This is a movie you can only watch about twice. Then it starts to get annoying. 3 stars
8/26/05 Michael Idiotic 1 stars
7/23/05 Quigley a great comedy with a good john williams score. the traps are cool and pesci & stern rule. 5 stars
4/12/05 scott einig the burglar booby trap sequence is awesome! 5 stars
1/27/05 Jeff Anderson Sorry, I liked HOME ALONE 3 a lot, lot better, thank you very much! WAY OVERRATED & SO-SO!! 2 stars
8/02/04 Raf Milis Its got this whole Christmas spirit around it. I like it. Great score too 4 stars
7/21/04 Sean Scanlan At least it is better than the sequels 3 stars
7/17/04 Mina Elias gay 1 stars
5/21/04 Puspa Allamanda Good act from Macaulay Culkin 4 stars
5/04/04 la reina this is one of the best movies i saw in 1990 5 stars
2/17/04 Daveman Entertaining film, with a good natured mesage, but not much wit or inventiveness.. 3 stars
11/24/03 Samuel a decent little film... 4 stars
8/01/03 Double G Awesome Movie, I 1st saw it at 4 and remembered about it. 5 stars
4/01/03 Luke Skywalker This is one sorry film. God i *** that sucker. 1 stars
12/28/02 Sarah Marf and Harry are the worlds funniest crooks! Wet Bandits rule! 5 stars
11/04/02 BA Dope 5 stars
10/28/02 tontetion la peli es muy guay 5 stars
10/27/02 MarktheShark6 It was great when it came out and I was 12, now it's even better! 5 stars
8/27/02 Monster W. Kung Somewhat enjoyable, if you forget how hyped it was. 3 stars
8/27/02 alex exelent film worth watching, and the sequals are just as good except home alone 3 5 stars
7/05/02 R.W. Welch Often on the edge of absurdity but consistently entertaining. 4 stars
6/21/02 Film Dude One of my favorites as a kid. 5 stars
12/05/01 mollie brenner funniest movie yet 5 stars
11/03/01 Andrew Carden This Movie Still Makes Me Laugh Today, It Is So Damn Funny! 5 stars
8/07/01 Mr. Hat (formerly Joe Zappa) Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern are hilarious. They're kinda like one of the better MGM cartoons 4 stars
7/28/01 Henry Ginsberg macauly kulcin is a total twat 2 stars
5/30/01 Chevy Murray good stuff 5 stars
4/24/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) Strictly holiday fare, funny, but a little syrup-sappy at times. 4 stars
3/28/01 Jesse L It's funny! No one dies. Its mind candy. 4 stars
2/16/01 James You'll have to wait for the last 20 minutes if you want to laugh. 2 stars
2/13/01 Richard Wright Culkin's big breakthrough is (apart from a few slushy scenes) still worth watching. 3 stars
12/27/00 Turtle A live-action Looney Tunes cartoon. 5 stars
11/20/00 The EVIL Penguin enjoy the show 5 stars
10/22/00 YOUR Movie Expert Hughes Before: Ferris Bueller, Planes Trains & Automobiles...After: The 8th Deadly Sin. 5 stars
6/01/00 danilo classic comedy - a childhood favorite! 5 stars
5/12/00 Steve Layne Unfairly bashed years after Its release. Its a fun and funny movie for the whole family. 4 stars
3/09/00 David Rogers A laugh here, a laugh there. Just not enough. 2 stars
1/11/00 dr.d hysterical 5 stars
1/09/00 John Markham A hangover from the 80's, not at all funny, in fact, it's very annoying. 1 stars
6/15/99 Dylan Its not that bad. Hasnt matured all that well with age though. I loved it when i was a kid. 3 stars
5/14/99 pretty sadistic for (supposedly) a "family-oriented" movie. 3 stars
10/29/98 Silent Rob Hughes lost the ability to think and feel RIGHT FUCKING HERE! 2 stars
9/29/98 katherine this was my favourite as a kid. 4 stars
9/15/98 Negative Creep When my Brother gets to be voting age this film willbe fondly remembered. He even quotes it 4 stars
8/24/98 The Capital City Goofball When this got huge I knew Ferris was dead. I miss him so. And Molly, Judd and Emilio. 4 stars
8/16/98 {{{OZ}}} The beginning of the end of John Hughes as a talent. 3 stars
8/16/98 J-Guy Good movie for the under 10 crowd. 3 stars
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  16-Nov-1990 (PG)
  DVD: 21-Nov-2006



Directed by
  Chris Columbus

Written by
  John Hughes

  Macaulay Culkin
  Joe Pesci
  Daniel Stern
  John Heard
  Roberts Blossom
  Catherine O'Hara

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