Holiday movie pick: Home Alone (1990)
The title says it all: An 8-year-old boy gets accidentally left home alone during the holidays, while his family flies off to France. As if that isn't bad enough, he does battle with two burglars, played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern ("The Wet Bandits"). Written by the late John Hughes, Home Alone contains memorable characters and plenty of pratfalls that probably wouldn't work in the hands of a lesser writer. Macaulay Culkin creates a kind of 8-year-old counterpart to Ferris Bueller, with his wise-beyond-his-years asides to the audience, while also seeming to maintain his innocence.
Then there are the supporting roles. Catherine O'Hara hits the perfect notes as a mother who will do anything to get home to her son. We watch her go through her own version of (another John Hughes classic) Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, finally hitching a ride with John Candy and his Polka band when she can't catch a flight.
But it's Pesci and Stern as "The Wet Bandits" who really deliver, especially as they do battle with Culkin in the third act. Just listening to Pesci issue his nonsense-swearing after being hurt by Culkin is worth the price of admission -- especially if you've seen him in something like Goodfellas. And like Robert De Niro, Pesci seems equally comfortable in comedy and drama.
Home Alone was directed by Chris Columbus, who would go on to direct (among other films) the first two Harry Potter films.
Best moment: When Culkin uses a mobster movie's soundtrack (the fictional Angels with Filthy Souls) to scare off Pesci and Stern. "Keep the change ya filthy animal!"
Take a tour of the Home Alone house!