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Old 01-01-2005, 09:55 PM   #1
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The Tragedy Of Home Alone

A show of hands, who here remembers the first time they saw 'Home Alone' and 'Home Alone 2: Lost In New York'? Who here still feels like a holiday season is incomplete without a viewing of at least one if not both of these films? I rest my case. These two films are holiday classics, and countless people all over the world love them or at least respect them for what they are. These films are permanent milestones in the childhoods of the demographic of people who are now 18-25 years old, who were little kids when these films were new. That means something.

So, that said, why the hell can't these hollywood studios just let the series burn out rather than fade away? The series has been bastardized now not once, but twice.

First, in 1997, the studios/producers/whoever, decided that they wanted to squeeze some more money out of the series, by making a new film, 'Home Alone 3', regardless of whether it bared ANY resemblence at ALL to the originals. The plotline of this film stars Alex D. Linz(who is allowing a then-eight-year-old to already have his ego boosted by going with a middle-initial?). Already we have arrived at problem #1. One can't possibly enjoy Mr. Linz as the home alone kid after they've seen all that a home alone kid can be, in Culkin. That is to say, where as Kevin McCallistar was a kid who was mature for his age to a comical extent, Alex is pretty much just acting his age. Alex plays a kid, named Alex(kudos to the studios/producers for that awe-inspiring creativity, it really speaks volumes as to their motives for making this film) who has the chicken pox and as such must stay home from school. Dad is out of town, Mom has an office emergency, and alas, brothers and sisters are at school. The kid must stay home alone. Ding ding, we have arrived at problem #2. It's too believeable, too plausible. The original films thrived on being so un-believable that they were funny and, one might say, charming. In this, this film has already failed. Now, for the villans. The villans are a group of three, who are supposedly part of an international spy ring. Apparently, a small recording device of theirs is hidden in a toy that was accidentally sold to little Alex's parents. And they want it back. Here we reach problem #3. What made the villans in the first two films, brilliantly played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern as Harry and Marv, so great - indeed, a large part of made the films enjoyable - was that Harry and Marv were idiots. And they were not made out to be good at what they did. They were small time. They robbed houses for pawnable goods and toy stores for cash. They weren't international, in fact the only people who knew who they were were Kevin and the cops. The dynamic between bumbling, immature, idiot burglars and a kid who was about 50 times more more mature and resourceful than a kid of his age normally is, is what ultimately made the first two films work. When you put forth the notion that the spies/burglars/whatever have been the least bit successful, and that they're not complete idiots, THE PREMISE DOES NOT WORK!! If you can't figure out the rest from here, I don't know why you're reading this. Nevertheless, I will tell you. The spies try to break into Alex's house to get the toy back, and Alex defends his home by setting booby traps. However, the whole time this is happening, anyone with a brain is thinking, 'The kid could have just called his mother, and if his mother willingly stayed at work while her house was being robbed, she deserves it'. See, that was taken care of in the first two films by the fact that BOTH parents were out of the country(in the first one) and out of the state(in the second one).

So, after that disaster, you would think the powers that be would do everything in their power to bury film #3, and to make everyone think there were never anymore Home Alone films after #2. You would think that, but you would be wrong. In 2002, they did it again. I'll be honest, I haven't even seen this film, and I have no desire to waste two hours of my life on it. But I've read plenty of reviews, both professional and fan, and I can get the gist. In this film, the characters are those from the first two films. The characters, but not the actors. In short, Kevin's parents have split up, he spends the holidays with his dad at dad's rich girlfriend's mansion, and Marv tries to hit it. But that's besides the point. THEY GOT A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT CAST TO PLAY CHARACTERS EVERYONE ALREADY KNEW AND ASSOCIATED CERTAIN FACES WITH!! See, that was another great thing about the first two films: the characters were MEMORABLE. Kevin himself, the bland-as-can-be yet good-at-heart parents - Kate and Peter - and the burglars, Harry and Marv. Not to mention the secondary characters, the extended family, were memorable. The asshole older brother Buzz, the insensitive Uncle Frank, the bed-wetting little cousin Fuller, not to mention the adult friends Kevin made, the old man in the first film, and the penguin lady in the second film. To anyone that raised their hand for either or both of the questions posed at the beginning of this post, those characters are etched in memory. For these people to put completely different actors on the characters of the same names(some of them anyway), is an insult to everyone who has loved the first two films throughout the years. And that's just the family, don't even get me started on the criminals. Harry's not even in this film, yet they decided to recast Marv anyway - with French Stewart. If ever there were an actor who should not be playing villans of any kind, French Stewart is it. On top of the super-contrived plot and the travesty of marring characters that should've been left as they were, they did a terrible job of casting, judging from this.

The point of this long-winded rant is this: Macaulay Culkin was a once-in-a-generation(if that) child actor(and he's not bad at all as an adult actor). He managed to portray Kevin as, almost, a badass. Of all the little kids who saw the first two films in the early 90s, how many of them didn't want to BE Kevin McCallister/Macaulay Culkin? Zero? That's what I thought. Culkin made the character 'cool', and that isn't easy for an 8-10 year old to do. You can't just replace that with a run-of-the-mill cute-kid child actor, which is what they did in both #3 and #4. Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern were great as Harry and Marv because they were able to act genuinely stupid. Every five minutes in the original films, they'd be high-fiving each other about a great new idea that in actuality was a dumbass idea. But their stupidity came across as genuine and real, whereas the villans in #3 and #4 are like charactures, trying their damndest to look and act stupid. 'Home Alone' and 'Home Alone 2: Lost In New York' became larger than anyone involved with them ever imagined they would. They made ridiculous amounts of money, spawned toys and board games, and were even advertised on cereal boxes and candy boxes. I'm sure I'm not the only 20 year old who remembers being 10 and eating Life Cereal while working out the 'Home Alone 2' maze on the back of the box, or being 10 and getting a Talkboy for Christmas after seeing Kevin play with one in 'Home Alone 2'. Those are the kinds of memories those films created and still hold, at least with me, and I would imagine with other people my age. Unfortunately, what created memories for so many kids, only created money for the powers that be. Money is addictive. These studios desperately wanted(want?) to recapture what they had with the first two films. They would be wiser to just, in the words of Paul McCartney, 'let it be', to let the flame burn out and not fade away. Please stop tarnishing the memories of this prematurely Cynical-ized 20 year old, 10 year old at heart.
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Old 01-01-2005, 10:12 PM   #2
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I had Home Alone and Home Alone 2 for SNES... really wierd games
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Old 01-01-2005, 10:21 PM   #3
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I never really cares for the Home Alone movies. Guess that makes me a weird ass scrooge. I can live with that.
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Old 01-01-2005, 10:47 PM   #4
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I can't believe somebody managed to write a highbrow dissertation on the Home Alone films. I've seen it all now.

As a member of the aforementioned demographic, I can safely say that Macauley didn't speak to me.
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Old 01-02-2005, 09:01 AM   #5
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Old 01-02-2005, 09:58 AM   #6
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I did see HA 3 and didn't hate it. I liked the fact that the kid at the end was acknowledged for his help with the bumbling bad guys, something that didn't happen in the first 2 films.

Also, I know some critics actually though HA 3 was better than the first two films!

I never knew a HA 4 was made though - sounds ridiculous.

However, I get your rant - the first two in the series were cute and had a great charm. It can't be repeated.

Hence why I often hate remakes or sequels. Sometimes it's great to see the "next chapter" in a series (works best for comic book films). Other times, it flops. For example, "Willie Wonka" is being remade. Why? Johnny Depp may be brilliant as Wonka, but the original is a classic that still stands (even if the author of the book hated the film). It's like remaking "Wizard of Oz" (although that was attempted with "The Wiz"). But I digress...


Oh, wanted to say, in your post, you wrote "penguin lady". You mean "pigeon lady". I'm 100% positive she didn't have penguin guano all over her.
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Old 01-02-2005, 12:42 PM   #7
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Re: The Tragedy Of Home Alone

Quote:
Originally posted by namkcuR
A show of hands, who here remembers the first time they saw 'Home Alone' and 'Home Alone 2: Lost In New York'? Who here still feels like a holiday season is incomplete without a viewing of at least one if not both of these films? I rest my case. These two films are holiday classics, and countless people all over the world love them or at least respect them for what they are. These films are permanent milestones in the childhoods of the demographic of people who are now 18-25 years old, who were little kids when these films were new. That means something.

So, that said, why the hell can't these hollywood studios just let the series burn out rather than fade away? The series has been bastardized now not once, but twice.

First, in 1997, the studios/producers/whoever, decided that they wanted to squeeze some more money out of the series, by making a new film, 'Home Alone 3', regardless of whether it bared ANY resemblence at ALL to the originals. The plotline of this film stars Alex D. Linz(who is allowing a then-eight-year-old to already have his ego boosted by going with a middle-initial?). Already we have arrived at problem #1. One can't possibly enjoy Mr. Linz as the home alone kid after they've seen all that a home alone kid can be, in Culkin. That is to say, where as Kevin McCallistar was a kid who was mature for his age to a comical extent, Alex is pretty much just acting his age. Alex plays a kid, named Alex(kudos to the studios/producers for that awe-inspiring creativity, it really speaks volumes as to their motives for making this film) who has the chicken pox and as such must stay home from school. Dad is out of town, Mom has an office emergency, and alas, brothers and sisters are at school. The kid must stay home alone. Ding ding, we have arrived at problem #2. It's too believeable, too plausible. The original films thrived on being so un-believable that they were funny and, one might say, charming. In this, this film has already failed. Now, for the villans. The villans are a group of three, who are supposedly part of an international spy ring. Apparently, a small recording device of theirs is hidden in a toy that was accidentally sold to little Alex's parents. And they want it back. Here we reach problem #3. What made the villans in the first two films, brilliantly played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern as Harry and Marv, so great - indeed, a large part of made the films enjoyable - was that Harry and Marv were idiots. And they were not made out to be good at what they did. They were small time. They robbed houses for pawnable goods and toy stores for cash. They weren't international, in fact the only people who knew who they were were Kevin and the cops. The dynamic between bumbling, immature, idiot burglars and a kid who was about 50 times more more mature and resourceful than a kid of his age normally is, is what ultimately made the first two films work. When you put forth the notion that the spies/burglars/whatever have been the least bit successful, and that they're not complete idiots, THE PREMISE DOES NOT WORK!! If you can't figure out the rest from here, I don't know why you're reading this. Nevertheless, I will tell you. The spies try to break into Alex's house to get the toy back, and Alex defends his home by setting booby traps. However, the whole time this is happening, anyone with a brain is thinking, 'The kid could have just called his mother, and if his mother willingly stayed at work while her house was being robbed, she deserves it'. See, that was taken care of in the first two films by the fact that BOTH parents were out of the country(in the first one) and out of the state(in the second one).

So, after that disaster, you would think the powers that be would do everything in their power to bury film #3, and to make everyone think there were never anymore Home Alone films after #2. You would think that, but you would be wrong. In 2002, they did it again. I'll be honest, I haven't even seen this film, and I have no desire to waste two hours of my life on it. But I've read plenty of reviews, both professional and fan, and I can get the gist. In this film, the characters are those from the first two films. The characters, but not the actors. In short, Kevin's parents have split up, he spends the holidays with his dad at dad's rich girlfriend's mansion, and Marv tries to hit it. But that's besides the point. THEY GOT A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT CAST TO PLAY CHARACTERS EVERYONE ALREADY KNEW AND ASSOCIATED CERTAIN FACES WITH!! See, that was another great thing about the first two films: the characters were MEMORABLE. Kevin himself, the bland-as-can-be yet good-at-heart parents - Kate and Peter - and the burglars, Harry and Marv. Not to mention the secondary characters, the extended family, were memorable. The asshole older brother Buzz, the insensitive Uncle Frank, the bed-wetting little cousin Fuller, not to mention the adult friends Kevin made, the old man in the first film, and the penguin lady in the second film. To anyone that raised their hand for either or both of the questions posed at the beginning of this post, those characters are etched in memory. For these people to put completely different actors on the characters of the same names(some of them anyway), is an insult to everyone who has loved the first two films throughout the years. And that's just the family, don't even get me started on the criminals. Harry's not even in this film, yet they decided to recast Marv anyway - with French Stewart. If ever there were an actor who should not be playing villans of any kind, French Stewart is it. On top of the super-contrived plot and the travesty of marring characters that should've been left as they were, they did a terrible job of casting, judging from this.

The point of this long-winded rant is this: Macaulay Culkin was a once-in-a-generation(if that) child actor(and he's not bad at all as an adult actor). He managed to portray Kevin as, almost, a badass. Of all the little kids who saw the first two films in the early 90s, how many of them didn't want to BE Kevin McCallister/Macaulay Culkin? Zero? That's what I thought. Culkin made the character 'cool', and that isn't easy for an 8-10 year old to do. You can't just replace that with a run-of-the-mill cute-kid child actor, which is what they did in both #3 and #4. Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern were great as Harry and Marv because they were able to act genuinely stupid. Every five minutes in the original films, they'd be high-fiving each other about a great new idea that in actuality was a dumbass idea. But their stupidity came across as genuine and real, whereas the villans in #3 and #4 are like charactures, trying their damndest to look and act stupid. 'Home Alone' and 'Home Alone 2: Lost In New York' became larger than anyone involved with them ever imagined they would. They made ridiculous amounts of money, spawned toys and board games, and were even advertised on cereal boxes and candy boxes. I'm sure I'm not the only 20 year old who remembers being 10 and eating Life Cereal while working out the 'Home Alone 2' maze on the back of the box, or being 10 and getting a Talkboy for Christmas after seeing Kevin play with one in 'Home Alone 2'. Those are the kinds of memories those films created and still hold, at least with me, and I would imagine with other people my age. Unfortunately, what created memories for so many kids, only created money for the powers that be. Money is addictive. These studios desperately wanted(want?) to recapture what they had with the first two films. They would be wiser to just, in the words of Paul McCartney, 'let it be', to let the flame burn out and not fade away. Please stop tarnishing the memories of this prematurely Cynical-ized 20 year old, 10 year old at heart.


So funny, I wanted it to be posted again.
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Old 01-02-2005, 06:06 PM   #8
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My earliest memory of the first "Home Alone" movie was seeing it with a day care group way, way back when I was about...let's see, it came out in 1990, I believe, and I saw it in the winter of that year, so I would've been 6 then (I actually remember crying at the end of that movie, too). I did like that movie-it's been an awfully long time since I've seen it, but yeah, it was cute. Don't remember a lot of the memorabilia and all that associated with it, though.

Haven't seen the second, third, or fourth ones (and I agree, changing the cast lineup is just stupid).

Angela
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Old 01-02-2005, 06:11 PM   #9
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first one was decent
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Old 01-03-2005, 04:50 AM   #10
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All I will say, just this once, is that Home Alone was not Joe Pesci's finest hour.
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Old 01-03-2005, 05:03 AM   #11
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he stole someone's hat , that's for sure
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