Editor’s note: Do the Christmas classics still hold up in 2020? We take a look.
“Home Alone” is one of those movies we’ve all been watching for the past 30 years, but it surprises you to realize it’s actually 30 years old.
The film came out on Nov. 16, 1990. It earned $17 million during its opening weekend, which was just under its $18 million budget. But it wasn’t until the next weekend — it earned $20.9 million during Thanksgiving weekend in 1990 — that the film saw a run of success that still makes it a relevant film in 2020.
“Home Alone” is a story of young Kevin McCallister, who finds himself home alone after his parents leave on vacation without him. Soon after, a pair of robbers — Marv (Daniel Stern) and Harry (Joe Pesci) try to break into his “silver tuna” of a house.
And now it’s been considered an all-time Christmas classic. It’s one you watch every year, admiring the beautiful score of John Williams and the hilarious hijinks of Kevin McCallister against the Wet Bandits.
But this film probably means more in the year 2020 than any other. It’s packed with actors and actresses you’ll recognize today for their modern roles. And it’s constantly in the cultural lexicon, often discussed for its plot holes and Easter eggs along the way.
Let’s breakdown why “Home Alone” is actually the perfect 2020 Christmas movie, considering everything we’ve been through.
It’s full of 2020 superstars
“Home Alone” is pretty unique when you consider it in the context of 2020 since it features actors, actresses and cameos from people who have a life of their own in the modern pop culture.
Let’s start with the big one — Catherine O’Hara. The actress has new-found fame due to the successful “Schitt’s Creek.” Her character Moira absolutely steals the show in every episode. But O’Hara had an entire career before that show, including her role here in “Home Alone” as Kevin’s mom. Before “Home Alone,” she starred in “Beetlejuice” as well.
Then, consider the entire Culkin family. Macaulay Culkin has become somewhat of a cult figure because of his return to fame in Christmas commercials and internet viral stories. And then there’s Kieran Culkin, who appears in “Home Alone” as cousin Fuller. Kieran Culkin stars in the wildly successful show “Succession” on HBO, which has catapulted him into a new game. “Home Alone” also makes you think of their brother Rory Culkin, who has had a few roles in “Scream 4” and “Signs.”
And don’t forget Joe Pesci, who was nominated for best supporting actor for his role in the Oscar-nominated film “The Irishman.”
Donald Trump shows up in the sequel, too. Trump — at the time just a real estate mogul in New York City — became president in 2016.
Seriously. That’s such a powerful list of people who have found new lives in their careers since these films came out. So it’s one of those films where — in the context of 2020 — you can find actors and scenes that stand out again.
It’s literally a quarantine film
“Home Alone” is probably the perfect Christmas movie for the pandemic. It features a child locked up in his house, trying to make the best of his day as he stays away from going outside and facing off against the bandits. We see Kevin eat bowls of ice cream in front of the television. We see him experiment with a BB gun inside his house. We see him go to the grocery store and try not to spend too much time there. He legit runs out of the convenience store with a toothbrush because he’s worried about adults.
We’ve all been like Kevin for the past nine months in some way or another. Stuck inside — except for walks here and there — in world that is so different from what we’ve considered normal. We’re trying to survive against the unknown. And at the same time, a looming threat lingers outside our door (in our case it’s a virus).
Watching “Home Alone” again reminds us of those first days of the quarantine and how we would literally do anything to stay interested and engaged with our daily lives.
But now everyone is pointing out the plot holes
“Home Alone” is one of those films that doesn’t age well when you really look into it. And now we analyze almost everything to the point where it makes you dislike almost anything. Not because of any of its dialogue or treatment of others — though it is objectively full of white people and has little to no diversity — but because there are so many plot holes in the film.
For one, the film would be solved with a cellphone. In 2020, Kevin would just text his parents that they forgot him. Case closed, no movie.
But let’s just pretend we’re still in that early ’90s world. OK. For one, there’s no way the McAllisters would get that far into the airport — literally when they’re on the plane — before realizing Kevin is gone from the group. That’s horrible parenting. But I’m not sure a troubled kid like Kevin, who causes so much disruption, would be forgotten so easily. If anything, wouldn’t his parents make sure he’s first on the plane?
OK, let’s say it all goes down and Kevin stays home alone. Great. Well, maybe not so great. Apparently, the McAllisters don’t have any friends to check in on Kevin at their house, which seems odd for such a rich family. Wouldn’t they have someone nearby to look after their kid? I mean, their money would likely attract some friends, right? The McAllisters could afford a dozen plane tickets to Paris — they’re loaded. I imagine there would be some friends nearby who would want to check in on the house.
“The McAllisters don’t know ANYONE in Chicago who can check on their kid? Not one friend? Neighbor? Teacher? Only the police? Heavens,” wrote New York Times best-selling author and NPR pop culture reporter Linda Holmes on Twitter.
The police don’t fare well, either. The police officer shows up to the house, knocks and rings the doorbell, and no one answers. The officer leaves right after, saying no one’s home. That’s a ridiculous situation. You’d think a law enforcement officer would seek out more chances to find the missing child.
These are simple plot holes that can actually ruin the film if you look too closely.