Catherine O’Hara

Home Alone

Year: 1990
Directed By: Chris Columbus
Written By: John Hughes

When we reached this movie in the collection months ago we tried to watch and review it but it just didn’t feel right.  It can be difficult to get into a Christmas movie as Halloween season approaches so we decided to postpone this review.  The season has arrived now and with Christmas just days away the time to review this movie has finally come.  This movie has everything needed to set the tone for the holiday.  Family frustration, lights, snow, Christmas songs, and a smoking Santa are all on board here.  What gives this one an edge over others is that it also has bandits, and the most bad ass kid of all time.

I was six years old when this movie came out and at my age Kevin McCallister was practically a God.  He did something that all kids around my age dreamed of but in reality would never be able to handle.  I specifically remember my mother telling me one time that could never do this after pointing out a major mess Kevin had made and then telling me I would never have cleaned it up as he appears to have done later in the film.  To that I now say “Ha! Yeah, that’s the thing I couldn’t have handled….” Kevin McCallister was a kid with the where with all to not only survive on his own and keep his house clean, but he also thwarted criminals. They may have been two of the dumbest criminals in the world but that just made the movie more fun. The criminals may have been stupid, but Kevin had some master planning skills when it came to setting booby traps.  Something else I think all kids at my age strived for in the early 90s.  The Goonies had seen to that.

When this movie came out it was an instant hit and went on to gross over $285 million. It topped Ghostbusters as the highest grossing comedy of all time. I don’t know that this movie was better than Ghostbusters but it is a pretty awesome movie in a completely different way.  John Hughes was a great filmmaker and had a knack for making movies that made their mark on society.  What I think is interesting in this movie is how you can see John Hughes in it.  The scene where Kevin is looking at himself in the mirror and talking is so similar to the one we saw in Ferris Bueller when Ferris is getting ready. Specifically the combing of his hair while giving a monologue to himself, and singing with the comb as a microphone. It was really unfortunate to lose Hughes back in 2009, but he left us plenty to remember him for and this movie is high up on that list.

I love the cast for this movie.  Macaulay Culkin was incredible in the role of Kevin McCallister.  He had a lot on his shoulders as the center of the film and the kid handled it with what looked like all the potential in the world.  America fell in love with him in this role but things never really panned out for him.  I am aware he has an unfortunate story to his career but I do not know enough to write about it.  I do remember once hearing that My Girl was what destroyed his career.  In that movie he played a part in which he died and I remember hearing somewhere that dying in that movie turned the audience off of him.  I don’t know if that is true or not but I think it sucks that things worked out for him the way they did. I saw a couple of his efforts to come back years ago in the movie Saved and the show Kings but those didn’t get him anywhere.  No matter what happens though he will always be remembered for this film and the role he played.  He is the biggest reason for how successful this movie was really.  I honestly couldn’t imagine any other kid playing this part and having the same kind of charisma and comedy that Macaulay Culkin had.

He wasn’t alone in being great in this movie.  I think Catherine O’Hara was terrific as the mother.  She has graced so many movies I loved and given the influence this movie had on me I always tend to think of her as a mother.  That same influence made me always think fondly of John Heard as a father too but the only other thing I have seen him in was The Sopranos and his role in the show killed that image. I think Joe Pesci is awesome and respect the fact that he can star in a family comedy like this.  That man has played some of the most savage characters ever and he drops the F-bomb like nobody else, except maybe Billy Bob Thorton. Pesci was great in this movie but Daniel Stern should not go unmentioned.  He is the goofier of the two idiot criminals and he was very funny in the role.  Speaking of people who shouldn’t go unmentioned, John Candy had a role in this film.  John Candy was a great actor and a very funny personality.  He died when I was a teenager and every time I see him now I wish he had lived longer and given us more movies.

This is not my favorite Christmas movie but nevertheless it is one of the best.  I think it is right up there with A Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation, and Die Hard. All of those movies are really old now and that says something about the Christmas movies they make these days.  If you are looking for a movie to get you into the spirit of the holidays I strongly suggest this one, or any of the others I just mentioned.  It takes a special movie to get you in the spirit for this holiday and this one does that in spades.  This was a movie that set the tone for the decade to follow and it will be remembered for all time. You don’t need me to tell you this movie is worth your time because you undoubtedly already know.  I hear that the younger generation is confused by the movie because today we are all so connected through technology that it would never happen and that is a shame.  I hope today’s youth can still find something to appreciate about this movie because it is awesome and deserves to be appreciated.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I have always loved this movie. This is the first film I remember watching when I was a little girl and I remember laughing the hardest that I had ever laughed at the time. This is a classic Christmas movie and very close to my heart, along with almost every other person my age.

homealoneI actually really like this poster. It has the window in the back, with the robbers peeking through, and then Kevin is front and center in his signature hands-to-the-face scream pose. They even created a very recognizable logo for this movie. That doesn’t always happen, but I do like when it happens and it works.

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Beetlejuice

Year: 1988
Directed By: Tim Burton
Written By: Michael McDowell & Larry Wilson

RYAN’S REVIEW

I love this movie, it is one of my favorites of all time.  It’s such an imaginative story and the movie is so well made.  Tim Burton had a great cast to work with and Danny Elfman added the magical touch with a great musical score. The afterlife is life’s ultimate mystery, this movie offers a unique view of what comes after death. This is one of those movies that is really one of a kind, you won’t find any others like this.  That was what made Tim Burton great, that he could make something so different and interesting.

This movie was made when Tim Burton was red-hot, coming out right before Batman in 1989.  This is one of those movies where everyone was really great.  Winona Ryder was great as the young gothic Lydia.  Michael Keaton was fantastic as the title character, he has said before that this was his favorite character of all that he played.  Catherine O’Hara is perfect as the snobbish and über stylish Delia.  Jeffery Jones, I always liked him as an actor, his fall from grace has been disappointing and unforgivable.   Alec Baldwin was so young in this movie that he is nearly unrecognizable. I am a Geena Davis fan and like many of her movies but I have never thought she was especially good in this one.  Anybody could have played her part.  Danny Elfman delivers big time for Burton with his score on this film, he is a great composer.  The rest of the soundtrack is great too and the “Day-O” dance scene is classic.

I remember watching the Beetlejuice cartoons as a kid which were inspired by the film and also produced by Tim Burton.  Maybe it’s that show that endeared the character to me so much but I have always loved the character and this film.  If you have never seen Beetlejuice then you should give it a shot.  It comes on ABC Family on a regular basis.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This is one of my favorite movies of all time. I don’t mind having it playing in the background and I don’t mind watching it a million times. There is something so intriguing for me when there is a movie about the after life, whether it is serious or not. I am a huge fan of the idea that you still live among the living to either haunt them or whatever. Michael Keaton does a great job as Beetlejuice in this movie. I think it shows his diversity. I also think his Batman voice was a lot better in this film than in the Batman movies.

I also have to point out Wynona Ryder here in this post. Isn’t she just so cute and innocent. Before all the wierdness and shoplifting. I really thought she was going someplace when I was younger, it is sad to see how that turned out.

What is your favorite scene in this movie? Mine is definitely by far the dinner scene when they are all forced to sing “Day O.” How awesome is that scene, for real…in fact here it is for your entertainment. If you haven’t seen the movie it should give you the motivation to see it.

NEXT MOVIE: Beverly Hills Cop (1984)