This teaches the viewer two, somewhat conservative lessons: a never go anywhere else, because America is perfectly fine; and b celebrate Christmas at home, don't try to get all exotic. Kevin learns both of these lessons, as do his family members. Kevin doesn't ditch the wealthy Chicago suburbs for France—the Midwest and its variety of Christmas is good enough for him. This puts him in perfect position to defend his prosperous home—a veritable mansion—against Marv and Harry, who represent the depraved forces of social anarchy.
These are two guys who spend the Christmas season robbing houses. They're rejecting the whole spirit of Christmas, and consequentially, they require punishment…with an iron fist. Kevin, of course, is more than happy to doll out that punishment. Enemies surmounted, Kevin and his family are happily reunited at the home his parents never should have left—because home is where the heart, and the holidays, should be.
Thus, the forces of suburban prosperity and family values triumph over the dark, nihilistic criminality of Marv and Harry. Of course, this is just one interpretation of the movie's allegorical depths. But, hey: Home Alone has some deep messages. Who'da thunk it? Ever notice that every blockbuster movie has the same fundamental pieces?
A hero, a journey, some conflicts to muck it all up, a reward, MP3, and the hero returning home and MP3 applauding his or her swag? Yeah, scholar Joseph Campbell noticed first—in He wrote The Hero with a Thousand Facesin which he outlined the 17 stages of a mythological hero's journey.
About half a century later, Christopher Vogler condensed those stages down to 12 in an attempt to show Hollywood how every story ever written should—and, uh, does —follow Campbell's pattern. We're working with those 12 stages, so take a look. Want more? We have an entire Online Course devoted to the hero's journey.
When we first encounter Kevin, he's an eight-year-old kid who can't pack his own suitcase—it seems like an incredibly daunting task to him. He bothers his mom while she tries to prepare for the family's trip to France, and catches beef with his family members—trying to tackle his brother Buzz, after Buzz greedily devours a plain cheese pizza set-aside for Kevin, and inadvertently spilling soda on his Uncle Frank. He's a pest in everyone else's eyes, and he seems unable to fend for himself.
He also acts bratty, telling his mom that he wishes he didn't have a family and that he was completely alone. When they accidentally miscount the number of kids in the van headed to the airport, Kevin's family forgets to bring him along.
This provides him with an opportunity to fend for himself—exactly what he wanted. At first, he goes bananas, gorging on ice cream and watching violent movies. But, gradually, he realizes he needs to try to survive —he can't continue to be helpless and irresponsible. He has to become the Bear Grylls of suburban Chicago. When the burglars Marv and Harry come and try to break in, Kevin scares them away by turning on the basement light.
But, he also freaks out and hides under the bed. In a way, it's not that big of a "refusal"—he still got them to leave. Yet, at the same time, he feels like he was wimping out.
Summoning all his resources of courage, Kevin runs outside yelling, "I'm not afraid anymore! Is Marley Kevin's mentor?
Sort of…but not really. Kevin doesn't get to talk to Marley until later in the movie, when he realizes that Marley's actually a good guy. And Marley shares some wisdom with Kevin, and Kevin shares some wisdom with him. Yet Kevin's already learned most of his important lessons at that point: he misses his family, wants them back, and is preparing to defeat the two criminals. So, no one's ever showed him the ropes, or instructed him on how to fend for himself.
Rather, the challenges Kevin faces, and the need to survive, teach him everything he needs to know. After an initial "fun and games" period, Kevin gets down to the difficult business of survival. He raids his brother's life savings, and uses the money to buy food, toothpaste, fabric softener, and more.
He even does laundry and confronts the scary furnace in the basement—and later, he successfully orders a pizza although he stiffs the pizza boy on the tip. He's embraced the challenge of being home alone, and is on his way to becoming a real mensch. Meanwhile, the burglars are still waiting to make their move. Kevin fakes them out with the silhouettes from a mannequin Album) a cardboard cut-out in the window, and later uses the VHS tape of a violent movie Angels with Filthy Souls to make Marv think a gangster is killing someone in Kevin's house.
Also, a cop chases him after he Kevin steals a tube of toothpaste from a convenience store. But, there is at least one ally: when Kevin goes to church, he sees Old Man Marley. They talk, and Kevin tells him how he's sad about the way he treated his family. Turns out, Marley has an estranged son and Kevin urges him to reconcile with him. Kevin starts to regret making his family disappear he doesn't realize that they've gone to France without him and that his mother is trying to get back to Chicago.
Remorseful, he visits a Santa at a local Christmas display, where kids can come and tell Santa what they want. Although the Santa is eager to get to a holiday get-together, Kevin tells him to ask the real Santa to bring Kevin's family back.
The Santa assuming Kevin's family is dead or something says he'll do what he can, and gives Kevin some Tic-Tacs. After lodging his request with Santa and chatting with Marley at church, Kevin prepares for the burglars who are planning on coming back to his house at 9 p. Kevin overheard them plotting outside the house, after they realized that he is home alone.
Eager to defend his home and wreak vengeance on these two goons, Kevin crafts an elaborate maze of booby traps, complete with icy stairs, a boiling hot doorknob, a nail stuck on a staircase, and a clothing iron ready to smash you on the face. Kevin "seizes the sword" with the wrath of a Babylonian deity. He smites, he scourges—he nearly kills. As they attempt to break into his house, Marv and Harry barely have time to realize what hit them—Harry is burned on the head with an improvised blow-torch, after burning his hand on a flaming hot door knob and getting shot in the huevos with a BB gun; Marv slips down a flight of steps, gets smashed on the head with a clothes iron, steps on a strategically placed nail which sticks directly into the soft instep arch of his footand further shreds his feet by stepping on Christmas ornaments Kevin almost escapes the burglars, but they intercept him at the absent neighbors' house.
Harry's about to bite Kevin's fingers off, when Marley sneaks up from behind and smashes them in the head with the snow shovel. For some unknown reason, Marley lets him go back to his Kevin's house alone, where Kevin waits to see if Santa will bring his family back. And Kevin's mom is on her way, traveling with a polka band led by an amiable guy named Gus Polinski John Candy. Waking up on Christmas, Kevin runs downstairs to see if his family has arrived. Initially, it appears like they haven't, and he's disappointed.
But the polka band drops his mom off, she pops through the door, and they hug, all past grievances forgotten. Then, unexpectedly, the rest of the family comes through the door—they've all arrived from France, having taken a flight Kevin's mom didn't want to wait for. Kevin's survived his encounter with the burglar, and has become a real, competent man.
And his family's reappeared from the limbo or France into which Kevin had wished them. Everyone in the family's impressed by the way Kevin went shopping and managed to survive on his own for three days. They're all very complimentary.
There's something different about him: he's got the juice. When Kevin looks out the window, he sees Marley re-uniting with his and the son's family, picking up his granddaughter and hugging her. As he and Kevin exchange a wave and a smile, we realize that Marley found the courage to make-up with his son by talking with Kevin, who told him how to confront his fears.
Kevin's brought the fruits of his newfound maturity the "elixir" into the future, beyond just fending off the burglars. We know he's more than ready to face new challenges—the first of which will be dealing with Buzz after he discovers that Kevin trashed his room.
While Home Alone isn't specifically a Shermer movie—the McCallisters are said to be from Chicago, but appear to live in the suburbs—it still has the general vibe of the greater "Chicagoland" metropolitan area.
Also, they're clearly in a rich neighborhood: the McCallister house is practically a mansion, and Kevin's parents aren't doing too badly for themselves. Overall, the movie depicts the upper-middle to upper-class suburbs of Chicago circa or as being centers of familial warmth, places where the American Dream is thriving. But this prosperous area is threatened by—that's right—Christmas-hating burglars.
Kevin successfully defends of Chicago's wealthier suburbs against the forces of anarchy and societal decay, represented by Marv and Harry—wantonly destructive bandits who flood houses after robbing them.
We Alone At Home. And Feel So Good! - Der Ugin - Melodies For The Housewives (File see a lot of the McCallisters' neighborhood, but we get the sense it's pretty nice. The lady at the drugstore counter is eager to help Kevin determine whether the American Dental Association has approved his toothbrush, and the check-out girl tries to figure out if an adult is looking after him or not—she's nosy, but considerate.
So, we get the sense that this community is full of friendly Midwesterners. It's an idyllic setting for sure. We also get to see Paris, where the movie implies the McCallisters never should've gone—Christmas is meant to be celebrated in the good old U.
We don't really see much of Paris, just the McCallister kids looking bored at their uncle's apartment, as they watch It's a Wonderful Life dubbed into French. They quickly head back from France to enjoy what will probably be a merry Chicago Christmas with Kevin. They're reunited, and it feels so good. There a jolly polka bandleader—Gus Polinski John Candy —offers her a ride with his band, as they head to Milwaukee. Chicago's on the way. Although Scranton is the noble home of the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company the company from The Office TV showKate's being there is sort of a joke: she's in an out of the way place, and Scranton is a byword for "nowhere.
As for the movie's micro-settings, Kevin's house immediately springs to mind—considering it's the place where most of the action is set. Director Chris Columbus told Entertainment Weekly:. It's the kind of house if you were a kid it would be fun to be left home alone. The house's features—like a laundry chute, steps down to the basement, and a tree house—help Kevin construct his booby trap maze to defeat the robbers.
As they try to storm this apparently peaceful house, it's transformed into a war zone—a fortress of terror. When the McCallister home is threatened, Kevin knows what to do. Setting isn't just about place; it's about time as well. Home Alone' s set during the Christmas season, but it's not a Santa-focused or religious Christmas movie. It's more about the joy of being together with family during the holidays, and how it's not so awesome if you're separated and alone.
Technically, Kevin could've been left at home alone at any time of year, and burglars could've tried to break it. But, by setting the movie during the holidays, there's more urgency—it's more important for the McCallisters to share this time together and be reminded of how much they mean to each other.
Kevin's jonesin' for that homey "gingerbread feeling" referenced in the soundtrack. There's not much narrative technique in Home Alone— it's the simple tale of a child inadvertently abandoned, who proceeds to save his home from robbers. No one's at risk of confusing its technique with, say, the disjointed narrative in Pulp Fiction. We follow one story—Kevin's. Even Kevin's mom's journey is essentially about Kevin and the fact that he's been left home alone.
Briefly, we see the other McCallisters hanging out at their uncle's apartment in France—but still, they're talking about how they're worried about Kevin.
So, the story sticks entirely to developments with Kevin and with his family, as they first forget him and then realize he's missing. For one thing, it takes place during the Christmas season. That's the first prerequisite. But is it about Christmas? Technically, it's about a kid being left alone at home, but since he ends up yearning for family togetherness, and even asks a fake Santa to tell the real Santa to bring his family back home for Christmas, it's thematically a very Christmas-y movie too.
It's also a kids' movie. Technically, almost everyone likes watching a burglar step on a nail or burn his hand on a doorknob—but slapstick violence appeals to children in a very special way. Kids love violence. Don't believe us? Peep The Lord of the Flies.
Plus, Home Alone empowers children, in that it shows a child attacking grown men and successfully beating them to a bloody pulp. It says to kids: hey, maybe you can shop for your own toothpaste, and also smash burglars with paint cans. Be self-reliant. Finally, it's a comedy because—it's funny. If you step on a nail, it's not funny. But if someone else does it, and it's fictitious—that's instant comedy. We enjoy watching characters go through painful experiences, especially if they're bad guys or clowns.
Maybe this is because, back in the day, we used to be entertained by acts of actual violence—throwing garbage at people in the stockades or mocking criminals who were about to be publicly executed. Now, instead of engaging in this less civilized behavior, we displace the impulse and get it through movies.
Being "home alone" is both a childhood fantasy and a childhood fear: you're free from your parents' rules, but you're also without their protection. There's something both exciting and scary about the idea. Most little kids would probably say that'd it would be fun to be MP3 alone—but if it actually happened? Cue the waterworks. For Kevin, that's how the experience plays out. He reacts first by celebrating his newfound solitude—eating a gigantic bowl of ice cream, tobogganing down the stairs, and watching violent movies—but then he starts to freak.
He's frightened when the burglars try to get into the house the first time, though he manages to scare them off by turning on the basement light.
And he's irrationally afraid of old Mr. Marley, the snow shovel guy. He doesn't have any parents to guide him through these fears. He has to become self-reliant. Contact us at editors time. By Melissa Locker. Get The Brief.
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