Home Alone

Christmas 2015

Life has been busy lately. In this holiday season Amber and I have been in the full grip of responsibility and life. There has been fortune, trouble, luck, and misfortune but all fits into the regular hustle and bustle of reality. We have an excellent movie on deck in Reservoir Dogs but I have been waiting for the right time to jump into that one. Nevertheless I was prompted with the most obvious of questions the other day. When “top five Christmas movies?” came through my text device this was my reply:

Life of Brian
Die Hard
A Christmas Story
Christmas Vacation
Home Alone

With special mention to Love Actually and The Ref. I also suggested Scrooged and Bad Santa as in consideration. Christmas is by no means my favorite holiday and with two daughters and a wife it has done nothing but raped my wallet as the years progress. Yeah, I’ve been raped by Christmas, I said it. This holiday has lost all meaning in today’s society and stands as nothing more than an excuse for all of us to go out and waste our hard earned money on many things that will undoubtedly end up lost in the darkness of closet corners everywhere. In saying so I am simply suggesting that this is not a holiday I necessarily associate beloved movies with. However it is the center point of so many movies and such a rating category is necessary. I dropped these titles off the top of my head with little consideration but now I will explain why they made that list.

Life of Brian

In my younger days, in a strange gap between relationship responsibility I used to frequent a local bar. At this particular establishment they has a tradition every Thanksgiving. They stayed open and served Thanksgiving food while playing this film, as well as Christmas Vacation on all the TVs. One year I found myself at my favorite bar on Thanksgiving evening and was quite taken with the tradition. I had seen this movie before but hadn’t considered it a Christmas movie. Nevertheless it made perfect sense qualifying, it starts on the inaugural birthday of Baby Jesus. This one is a classic and easily one of my favorite comedies of all time. Check out our review with the link above for more on the film.

Die Hard

As I mention regularly; I grew up in an action junkie household and family. This is the father of all action films and it take place at Christmas! It counts, and it easily stands above most others by both precedent and quality. This movie both set the bar and created countless others that tried to emulate it with moderate success. The tradition lives on even until today with seemingly every effort made by Liam Neeson. For more on this one follow-up with our link above.

A Christmas Story

Who doesn’t love this film about Ralphie and his experiences on what was once such a magical holiday? For me it reminds me of what Christmas used to be and what I hope it still is for my own children. We don’t own this one, because we don’t need to. It’s a seasonal movie I love but I’m good with it once a year for 24 hours on TV. Having it on in the background on this day is part of the tradition. I sincerely hope that it always airs for the entire day for the rest of my life. I have always been a big fan of that broadcasting. I don’t remember when it started but for as long as I can remember it has been going on.

Christmas Vacation

I’ll be honest, this one was actually swapped out for Bad Santa in the original response. I do not love this movie as I have simply seen it too many times and don’t find it endearing as much as most. For me, it’s the movie too many people LOVE. I like the movie and think it captures Christmas exceptionally well but it’s just not that far up on the list for me. I love Chevy Chase in this, Beverly D’Angelo is special to me for so many reasons, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is great, the kids are Johnny Galecki and Juliette Lewis, and the list goes on and on with special mention of Doris Roberts, she is so great. If I’m being totally honest it’s Uncle Eddie that brings it down for me. I have never been able to stomach Randy Quaid and this movie is the specific reason. His part is funny but the guy just rubs me the wrong way.

Home Alone

This one, the perennial film of my generation is really my favorite. With the adorable eight year old Macaulay Culkin this classic John Hughes film reminds me of home. This one is mine, my movie for the holiday for my generation. As I am prone to say, we never got enough of Joe Pesci and need to treasure everything we can. Even when his is desperately trying to mask his affluence for profanity. This is a great and hilarious movie that I love, for more of our thoughts on it click the link above.

Special mention Love Actually

I really hate to admit it but I do love this film. It’s funny and seasonal in exceptional ways. Even worse to admit, it always makes me cry. It’s one of the movies that reminds me I’m human and it brings out emotions I keep locked away in efforts to be a beacon of masculinity in a house full of females. It’s a wonderful and heart-felt movie I can’t deny despite my best efforts.

Special mention The Ref

This was actually intended to be our holiday based review for this Christmas but time did not allow. This is a really funny movie that we eventually intend to review in full. Maybe it will turn up next Christmas.

In consideration Bad Santa

This movie doesn’t have that warm and fuzzy Christmas feel but it’s all Christmas that’s for sure. I now cherish the movie most because of Bernie Mac. I thought he was a really funny comedian and we lost him too soon. This movie is a bit too crude and vile but it’s hard to deny how funny it is. Billy Bob Thorton uses the fuck word like great painters use a brush. He says it in a way that comes close but doesn’t quite match the capabilities of the greatest, Joe Pesci.

In consideration Scrooged

This is a really fun movie but it doesn’t make the list because it came to me too late. I don’t know how I managed to miss this movie over the years but saw it for the first time a couple of years ago. I love Bill Murray but I didn’t love this movie. I liked it just enough to keep it in mind when I suddenly threw together some titles though and if you are watching a Christmas movie you really can’t go wrong checking this one out.

This post was actually supposed to be up yesterday but the day got away from me. We had a truly wonderful Christmas this year that I think we will all remember fondly. I especially because in the mist of all the action this short list of Christmas reviews popped out of me along the way and I think it came out quite nicely. I have closed the door on the holiday the minute the clock struck 12 last night but for any of you who have lingering Christmas spirit any of these movies would great to check out while you ride that wave into the break. Merry Christmas 2015 and check us out next year when we will hopefully be able to publish a review for The Ref and with hope are far enough along in the collection to cover Scrooged as well.

 

 

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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.