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Home Alone Premiered 30 Years Ago Today

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Home Alone Anniversary20th Century Studios

One child, two goons, a world of Christmas pain; Home Alone premiered 30 years ago today. 

‘Somewhere in my memory’, I vaguely remember watching Home Alone for the first time. As a young boy, Kevin McAllister (Macaulay Culkin) was a hero, a confident little rascal who loved cheese pizzas, ‘eating junk and watching rubbish’.

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That said, its legacy doesn’t really come from those initial watches – it’s how ubiquitous it became, how quotable it was (‘Keep the change, ya filthy animal’), turning into one of the festive season’s best, most recognisable movies for every generation.

Home Alone Harry Marv20th Century Studios

The premise is simple: Kevin is abandoned by his eye-wateringly massive family (enabled by a lack of hobbies and his dad’s nondescript big-ticket job). They disappear not by magic, but after a perfect storm of faulty alarms and head-count blunders.

From there, he lives out all his wildest fantasies; watching inappropriate gangster movies, raiding his brother Buzz’s collection of toys and magazines, sitting himself down to a tasty microwave macaroni cheese dinner, ‘washing every body part with actual soap, including all my major crevices… including in between my toes and in my belly button’.

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Home Alone Kevin20th Century Studios

His world comes crashing down with ‘Wet Bandit’ burglars Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern), who’ve been planning a heist while the McAllisters are away. Unfortunately for them, their young adversary is a far mightier threat than they could have ever imagined.

Everyone is on top form here. Culkin, whose earlier appearance in Uncle Buck secured him the role, catapulted to worldwide fandom, starring in the (superior, in my opinion) sequel and other films like My Girl and Richie Rich. Stern and Pesci, one of two Goodfellas considered for Harry next to Robert De Niro, are an all-time comic pair.

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Catherine O’Hara is unforgettable, at the very least for screaming ‘Kevin!’ at the top of her lungs. A notable star is John Candy, who did one day of shooting for just more than $400 as a favour to legendary producer-scribe John Hughes. All of his scenes as the jolly polka player are entirely improvised.

Home Alone’s popularity was unprecedented. Racking up more than $476 million worldwide, it was the number one film at the box office for 12 weeks straight, far on from Christmas.

Home Alone 199020th Century Studios

It’s not hard to see why; the slapstick is dynamite, there’s killer one-liners, Christopher Columbus’s set-pieces (orchestrated with amazing production design in an empty swimming pool) land every single time, and particularly with Old Man Marley, there’s a lasting festive message.

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Towards the end of the film, Kevin says, ‘Will you please tell Santa that instead of presents this year, I just want my family back.’ They can be right b*stards, but at the end of the day, when all’s said and done, family’s family.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Topics: Film and TV, Christmas, Christopher Columbus, Film, Home Alone, Macaulay Culkin, Now

Cameron Frew
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