Next year, Home Alone will celebrate its 30th anniversary.
As far as Christmas movies go, Home Alone is easily one of the most tolerable and pedestrianly enjoyable ones out there. It’s also one of those rare Christmas movies that is actually rewatchable outside of the Christmas season. There aren’t many—off the top of my head I’d make the case for Elf and maybe The Holiday only because once those Santa Ana winds are blowing, anything is possible.
There are rewatchable movies and then there are rewatchable movies that you only turn to during the Christmas season. The majority of Christmas rewatchables are existing via a sentimental loophole and there’s nothing we can do about it. Once Thanksgiving is over, it’s their time to shine.
The book on Home Alone has long since been established, and at this point, everyone is hip to what the movie is about. It is also generally agreed upon by everyone that the film is a hilarious family comedy.
But is it actually more than that?
When watching Home Alone as a grown-up with grown-up sensibilities, grown-up responsibilities, and a grown-up view of the world, the movie definitely raises a few questions—questions that are (at the very least) crumbling stumbling blocks on the road to holiday movie-watching enjoyment.
Here are 10 that I can’t get off of my mind still to this day.
Question 1: What Do The McCallisters Do For A Living?
Are they both high-powered lawyers or something? Is he in finance and is she a doctor (or vice versa)? Is one of them a real-estate hotshot or a land baron?
Are land barons still a thing? If they are, it’s definitely possible Peter and/or Katherine McCallister could be one of them, right? They do look like the kind of people who own property in a Chicago neighborhood that has since been gentrified and is pretty great these days.
I only ask because (let’s be honest) their house is sweet and if you found yourself (hypothetically) looking to rob a house you’d probably be eyeing it up as well.
But really, that house is stately.
To be able to swing that kind of house and provide for a family as big as theirs, you have to be doing something right. By my count, the McCallisters have anywhere from five to ten kids. It’s hard to keep track. There’s a lot of commotion in their house early in the movie.
As far as I can tell, there are Kevin and Buzz and then, like, one other boy and two daughters.
The bottom line is that I have questions about the finances based on their lifestyle, which definitely doesn’t look like it’s a cheap one.
And that leads us to that Paris trip.
Question 2: How Much Did It Cost to Fly Everyone To Paris?
Even in the pre-9/11 days that had to be an expensive trip.
Prior to the events of September 11th, you were able to save a few bucks thanks to fewer security fees. I’m sure that would have helped, but still, Chicago to Paris had to have been a costly flight around the turn of the 1990s.
It should also be noted that only in the pre-9/11 era would it be possible for them to make their flight. There is no way they’d be making that after September 2001.
Oh, and there’s also the amount of money you need to drop in order to book a last-minute flight to Chicago during the holiday season.
Again, what do the McCallisters do for work? Also, are they hiring?
Maybe they’re in the mob or something? Or maybe they are land barons, but like, shady land barons who are flush with shady land baron cash?
I just don’t think we can rule out anything at this point.
Question 3: Why Do The McCallisters Have So Many Mannequins?
No really, they have a lot of them.
Are Peter or Kate in the garment business? Do they own a chain of tailors called McCallister’s McMeasurements?
They’d have to own a few of them to make any real money from them, so it’d have to be a chain.
Maybe one of them is a clothing designer and all of the mannequins are leftovers from their early days of designing duds in their small apartment on the south side of Chicago? Perhaps those mannequins are still around because of the sentimental value they have and how they remind them of those early days when they were struggling to make ends meet and working hard to make their dream a reality.
Every dream has to start somewhere.
For instance, this piece started when my wife wanted to watch Home Alone again and I was paying attention maybe a little too closely.
Question 4: What The Hell Is Up With Buzz?
Hey Buzz, just stop being such a douche, okay?
Buzz is obviously over-compensating for his straight-up weird physical appearance. That’s unfortunate, but the reality is that he should stop fronting like he’s as cool as he apparently thinks he is and should instead spend some time working on being a good older brother.
Also, Buzz seems to be rocking a letterman’s jacket, which makes you wonder what sport Buzz is playing and also doing so at a varsity level. I bet it’s wrestling but I’m not ruling out swimming (or maybe track and field). He wouldn’t do any of the running events but I could see Buzz excelling at the shot put.
Perhaps his parents just made him one as a way to help him deal with his funky appearance and to help him be accepted at school? Perhaps they used their background in tailoring and made it to boost his self-confidence only to have it tragically backfire because Buzz became too self-confident.
It’s like when scientists make a robot but give it too many human emotions and then the robot lashes out because it feels held back by its robotness when it just wants to be human and it ends up killing the scientist that made it.
It’s exactly like that.
And is Buzz his real name? It can’t be. No one’s real name is Buzz.
So you then have to wonder what his real name is (my money is on either John or William). I suppose the nickname Buzz comes from his hairstyle, but at the same time, I don’t care. Buzz was an asshole and I don’t care for assholes as a general rule—especially assholes who treat their younger siblings in such a terrible way.
Actually, the whole family should stop treating Kevin so poorly. He’s also obviously an “oops” baby given the perceived age gap between Kevin and his siblings.
Cut him some slack for crying out loud.
Not everyone can be a winner like Buzz.
Question 5: Are The Wet Bandits New At Being Burglars?
I only ask because they are terrible, terrible burglars.
How have they not been caught before?
No, that’s crazy. They’ve definitely been caught before. They’re probably on parole or recently off parole or quite possibly skipping parole as they were arrested in Florida, got out of jail, and got out of town.
Either way, they are just not good at what they do.
Also, I would think any respectable burglar would abide by two rules, both of which the Wet Bandits break.
Respectable Burglar Rule Number 1: Take care of what you are stealing
While robbing one of the other houses on the McCallister’s street, Marv is just recklessly going along and knocking stuff into his sack with a crowbar. Stuff that is very clearly breakable just gets pushed off shelves and into the bag with no regard for whether or not the stuff stays intact.
Then, as if everything wasn’t already busted and worthless, he just tosses his sack in the van when they’re done, with the loot crashing on top of other stolen merchandise.
How are you going to fence any of that stuff if it’s all broken, Marv?
I’m not a burglar but I’d have to think one in such an occupation would take special care in making sure that that what they are burglarizing doesn’t get broken. Because, you know, then what the hell is the point of stealing it?
Respectable Burglar Rule Number 2: Try and work at night
I know half the neighborhood is on vacation, but still, I’d exercise a little discretion.
Be at least a little stealthy, guys. Try and keep the noise down to a minimum.
And even if you are robbing someone at night—as they do with the McCallister’s house—try and be quiet for God’s sake. Everyone knows that noise travels further in the dead of night.
When you do all kinds of yelling and whatnot you’re getting bopped in the noggin by a shovel.
And you would have no one to blame but yourself.
Question 6: Do Burglars Usually Leave Calling Cards?
Serial killers do but I’ve never heard anything about burglars leaving a calling card behind. I feel like it kind of goes against the whole idea of being a burglar and the anonymity that presumably comes with it. Serial killers tend to crave attention at some point, whereas burglars want to live on the margins.
At least that’s what I’m assuming.
Marv does say that “all the great ones” leave a calling card behind and that’s why he floods every house they hit, but from where I sit, that’s just ridiculous.
I think that’s because it is ridiculous.
Again, the Wet Bandits are not good at what they do.
Question 7: How Many Concussions Did The Wet Bandits Sustain?
I don’t have an exact number but the Wet Bandits were most likely rocking multiple concussions by the time Kevin was done with them. It was probably so many concussions that even the NFL might even feel compelled to intervene.
An iron to the head? Concussion.
A paint can to the head? Concussion.
Those are just two instances I can think of. I would say that by the time they got arrested, they each had at least a half-dozen.
They also very well could be dead so the concerns about concussions might be pointless.
If anything, they could have been concussed when they died and that’s just a bummer.
Question 8: At What Point Does The Idea Of Acting in Self-Defense Become a Moot Point?
You’d have to assume that when the Wet Bandits were arrested and taken into custody looking completely beat to shit, no one probably thought much of it. If anything, they were most likely impressed at the damage young Kevin was able to do. Game recognizes game.
However, once a lawyer—even the absolute worst public defender—saw Harry and Marv then you’d have to think that they had some questions about how much danger Kevin legitimately found himself in. If anything, it might look like Harry and Marv should have been the ones who needed self-defense.
Now those questions, when asked of a judge, would probably initially be dismissed. Kevin is a young kid, was scared, and wanted to protect himself. Kevin was acting in self-defense, plain and simple.
But come on. Kevin acting in self-defense would make up, like, a fraction of everything Kevin did to Harry and Marv. I am admittedly not a lawyer, but at some point, the idea of self-defense has to get thrown out and replaced with something like attempted manslaughter.
Don’t be fooled by Kevin’s cuteness and innocence. He could have killed those dudes.
Question 9: Who’s Worse: Uncle Frank Or The Airport Lady?
Of course, you remember Uncle Frank. Uncle Frank was a massive dick.
Uncle Frank was cheap and a petty thief (he stole china from the airline). He is best known for capping off the whole pizza/spilled soda debacle with the now-infamous line, “Look what you did you little jerk.”
Hey Uncle Frank, that little jerk is eight years old and also your nephew. Maybe ease up a little bit. Also, shouldn’t Kevin’s parents have stepped in there by defending their son and telling Uncle Frank to take it easy and not call their son a jerk?
Uncle Frank is definitely bad.
But hold on now. Do you remember The Airport Lady?
Kate was haggling with Airport Lady in Paris and trying to get her to give up her seat so Kate could get home to her young son. Airport Lady was driving a hard bargain, though, and before her husband intervened, the offer was pretty good.
- (2) first-class tickets
- (1) ring
- (1) watch
- (1) pocket translator
- $500 (in cash, presumably in American dollars although this was never made clear)
- (1) pair of earrings
In return, Kate would get their spot (or both, as it seems like they’re a package deal.)
That’s a damn good deal.
Of course, Airport Lady has every right to barter with Kate, but at the same time, Kate’s reason for wanting her ticket does cast Airport Lady’s negotiating in a very bad light. It also seems as if Airport Lady knew what was going on, because when it looks like all hope is lost and a deal won’t be made, Kate pleads with Airport Lady “as a mother to a mother.” This implies that they’ve introduced some context to the situation. Airport Lady knows what’s up but she’s squeezing her anyway.
That’s a pretty garbage move if you ask me.
This poor woman (Kate) is frantically trying to get a flight home to get to her young son who was accidentally left behind (it was the older cousin’s fault, by the way, as she was the one who was in charge of making sure all the kids were accounted for). She is an emotional wreck and is scared and desperate, frustrated with her situation and looking for help.
At the very least, Airport Lady could have wrapped things up after the two first-class tickets.
Instead, she kept driving the price up. She was taking advantage of Kate. That’s not cool.
That’s why Airport Lady is the worst (although Uncle Frank is definitely a close second).
Question 10: How Many Kids Were Inspired To Booby-Trap Their House After Seeing Home Alone?
Kids are impressionable. They see something, they want to do it. We’ve all been there.
I remember seeing Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves when I was younger, and when I got home, I wanted to fill our backyard with zip lines just like they did in the movie. I got one up, and on the first test run, I damn near broke my neck.
Don’t even get me started on how after seeing Men at Work, the Charlie Sheen/Emilio Estevez movie where they play not just garbage men, but, like, cool garbage men, my friends and I spent the rest of the day flinging trash can lids around the neighborhood.
The bottom line is that when you’re young, you see something super awesome on television or in a movie and you want to replicate it.
So I would then be curious as to how many reports there were in the weeks following Home Alone’s release of eight-year-olds trying to thwart robberies via booby traps. There had to have been some, if not several.
I’d also think that parents across the country were super stoked to find their kid trying to secure a tripwire in the hallway of their home or encouraging them to leave them home alone because they know how to defend themselves now by pouring cold water on the steps in the middle of winter because slipping and falling is hilarious!
I don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun here. Home Alone is still a solid movie, and if you’re going to watch a Christmas movie (assuming it’s not Elf or Christmas Vacation) you could do a lot worse.
Maybe just check your grown-up sensibilities at the door first.
You’ll be glad you did.