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Home Alone (1990, Macauley Culkin, Joe Pesci)

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Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) has problems – he’s just eight and at the bottom of his large family’s pecking order – when the pizzas arrive, his simple cheese and tomato is scoffed by his siblings. Added to which, his family are all off to France for Christmas. But on the day of departure, everyone assumes that somebody else has woken Kevin and he’s in another part of the 20-strong group…

Kevin awakes alone in the house and, at first perturbed, soon begins to revel in the quiet and his independence – his own pizza is delivered, he gets to buy his own toothbrush and watch what he wants on TV. But two burglars, Harry Lime (Joe Pesci) and Marv Merchants (Daniel Stern), have fingered the family home as ripe for pillaging. Little do they know that Kevin’s in residence and even less do they know the fiendish booby traps he can devise to foil their plans…

The teaming of Columbus, then with only two features under his belt, and Hughes, a veteran scriptwriter of huge box-office hit comedies including Pretty in Pink, the National Lampoon series and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, was inspired, but it was Culkin who stole the show. The concept originated from the Hughes-scripted Uncle Buck, where Culkin’s role (alongside the deadpan QandA of John Candy, who has a cameo role in Home Alone) convinced Hughes to write him a lead part. Columbus was less impressed – he screen tested dozens of child actors before admitting that Culkin was the perfect choice, which he was, mixing maturity, child-like terror and gleeful hysteria at the plight of his opponents.

And credit also has to go to Pesci and Stern, with the former, best known for roles as a gangster in Goodfellas and Once Upon a Time in America, showing a brilliant turn for comedy that was to re-surface in My Cousin Vinny. The film made Culkin the highest paid child actor of all time (although he has since encountered problems), launched Columbus’s career and established Hughes as one of Hollywood’s top writers. Nobody would argue that this film is thought-provoking, life-changing or deep, but what it is is a crafted, laugh-out-loud classic comedy.

production details
USA | 103 minutes | 1990

Director: Chris Columbus
Script: John Hughes,

cast
Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister
Joe Pesci as Harry
Daniel Stern as Marv
John Heard as Peter McCallister
Catherine O’Hara as Kate McCallister
Devin Ratray as Buzz McCallister
Mike Maronna as Jeff McCallister
Hillary Wolf as Megan McCallister
Kieran Culkin as Fuller McCallister
Roberts Blossom as Marley
Peter Siragusa as Lineman
Larry Hankin as Officer Balzak
Ken Hudson Campbell as Santa
Billie Bird as Woman in Airport
Angela Goethals as Linnie McCallister
Gerry Bamman as Uncle Frank McCallister
Terrie Snell as Aunt Leslie McCallister
Daiana Campeanu as Sondra McCallister
Kristin Minter as Heather McCallister
John Candy as Gus Polinski
Ralph Foody as Johnny – Gangster #1
Michael Guido as Snakes – Gangster #2
Hope Davis as Receptionist
Bill Erwin as Man in Airport
Jeffrey Wiseman as Mitch Murphy
Virginia Smith as Georgette McCallister
Ray Toler as Uncle Rob
Clarke Devereux as Officer Devereux
Dan Charles Zukoski as Pizza Boy
Matt Doherty as Steffan
Jedidiah Cohen as Rod McCallister
Senta Moses as Tracy McCallister
Anna Slotky as Brooke McCallister
Gerry Becker as Officer #1
Victor Cole as Officer #2
Porscha Radcliffe as Cousin
Brittany Radcliffe as Cousin
Alan Wilder as Scranton Ticket Agent
Dianne B. Shaw as Airline Counter Person
James Ryan as Stock Boy
Mark Beltzman as Stosh
Ann Whitney as Drugstore Clerk
Jim Ortlieb as Herb the Drugstore Clerk
Monica Devereux as Flight Attendant
Lynn Mansbach as French Woman
Tracy J. Connor as Check Out Girl
Sandra Macat as Santa’s Elf
Richard J. Firfer as Store Manager
Kate Johnson as Police Operator
Michael Hansen as Airport Driver
Peter Pantaleo as Airport Driver
Jean-Claude Sciore as French Gate Agent
Edward Bruzan as Polka Band Member
Frank Cernugel as Polka Band Member
Eddie Korosa as Polka Band Member
Robert Okrzesik as Polka Band Member
Leo Perion as Polka Band Member
Vince Waidzulis as Polka Band Member

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