HOME ALONE (1990)
THE GIST: Eight-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) is supposed to be in Paris with his huge family for Christmas. But instead, they forget him at home. Alone. Of course, that’s just what he wanted all along – for his family to disappear. And when two crooks, or should I say “Wet Bandits,” think the house is empty for the holidays and try to break in, Kevin thinks he can handle it on it his own and booby-traps the entire place. Meanwhile, his mom realizes partway through her flight that it’s not that they forgot to close the garage door that’s making her uneasy, it’s her missing son.
NAUGHTY OR NICE?: Santa would say naughty. I mean, Kevin watches mobster flicks, eats ice cream for dinner and tells his mother after she’s grounded him in the attic, “I don’t want to see you again for the rest of my whole life!” But in reality, it’s far more nice than naughty.
WHY IT GETS US IN THE SPIRIT: What kid wouldn’t love to live by his own rules for Christmas? Rummaging through his brother’s things, eating junk all day, jumping on the bed. Haven’t we all wanted that? Ah, the Christmas gift of ultimate freedom at an age when we most want to break the rules.
MAGIC MOMENT: The staged Christmas party, psyching out bandits Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern). When Kevin finds out he’s being watched, he sets up a faux party scene behind his living room curtains and blares the Christmas music to trick the crooked duo into think everyone is still home. And it works. For a bit.
SANTA SIGHTING!: The Santa in this flick is actually unnerving. He’s a wreath on the door that rattles when the wind howls, as the electricity flickers out and the full moon rises, while Kevin sleeps alone in the creepy attic. So not Christmas-y.
ACCOMPANYING CAROL: How could it not be the classic “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee, Kevin’s song of choice for his fake party. It’s not possible to hear the song and not be reminded of this film.
PERFECT PRESENT FOR: Your cousin Fuller. A bit nerdy, a bit goofy, but you know you love him.