December 29, 2017

Home Alone

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Well, it's finally time to pack up #HolidayMoviepalooza for another year, but even though Christmas is past, and we had to skip a week, the guys went ahead and recorded a commentary for the movie you, dear reader/listener, chose from our polls: the 1990 classic, Home Alone.

Home Alone is essentially Die Hard for kids.

With Macaulay Culkin in the Hans Gruber part.
It's a few days before Christmas, and the McCallister family is preparing for a trip to Paris, where the patriarch of the family, Peter (John Heard), has been temporarily transferred for his job.

The night before they are scheduled to leave, a policeman (Joe Pesci) shows up to check on the house, claiming he is making sure that that people in the neighborhood are taking steps to combat break-ins that have been taking place. After Peter makes assurances to the officer that there are timers on the lights and an alarm system--there is also an overlong bit about paying a pizza delivery guy--the cop leaves, and the family dives into the pizza, including young Kevin (Macaulay Culkin), who gets upset at his older brother Buzz (Devin Ratray) for eating all the cheese pizza.

A fight ensues, and Kevin's mother, Kate (Catherine O'Hara), banishes him to the attic, telling him he can sleep there for the night. Kevin, being a snotty eight-year-old, argues with her and then says he wishes the whole family would disappear, the storms off upstairs.

Where he proceeds to invent his own family from random objects around the house.
The next morning, the family wakes up late, and in the frenzy to get to the airport on time, they accidentally leave Kevin home without realizing it. Later, when he wakes up, he sees there is nobody else in the house, and he assumes, quite naturally, that his wish came true.

And so, Kevin starts enjoying the heck out of life. He watches movies he is not normally allowed to watch, eats nothing but junk food, jumps on his parents' bed, and rides a sled down the stairs and out the front door.

High above, on a Paris-bound jet, Kevin's mother comes to the realization that they have left their youngest son at home, and she immediately freaks out, quite reasonably.

Meanwhile, the "cop," who is really a burglar named Harry, and his partner, Marv (Daniel Stern), are  using information Harry got from the people in the neighborhood to determine which ones are out-of-town for the holidays. Harry shows Marv the McCallister house, and they both decide that that one will be the big score. But when they go for a closer look, they are spotted by Kevin, who, thinking quick, pretends his parents are still there, causing Harry and Marv to leave the place alone for the time being.

Which is just as well, as it turns out that they are both idiots.
Kevin continues his own questionable activities by ransacking his brother Buzz's bedroom in order to steal his life savings (about $25), and orders a cheese pizza all for himself. In order to convince the pizza guy that there are adults in the house, Kevin uses a VCR to play audio clips from an old gangster movie, which conveniently has perfect dialog for the pizza guy to perform the entire transaction without actually seeing another human being. To top it off, Kevin uses part of a murder scene to scare the guy off once and for all. And one has to wonder, why didn't that guy call the police?

The kid goes shopping the next day for some essentials, only to almost get run over by Harry and Marv while those two argue about whether or not it's a good idea to continue calling themselves the Wet Bandits, whose signature move is to plug the kitchen drains in the houses they rob, and leave the water running, thus flooding the houses. After the brief run-in, Kevin continues on to the store, where he asks a lot of questions before "accidentally" shoplifting a new toothbrush after seeing old man Marley (Roberts Blossom), whom the kids int he neighborhood believe to be The Shovel Killer.

Now a hardened criminal, Kevin heads home, where he comes to the conclusion that he needs to beef up security with his own special plan. He does so by setting up an elaborate and improbable machine using dummies, mannequins, and a Michael Jordan standee mounted on a train to make it look like there's a big party happening at the house, causing Harry and Marv to again put off robbing the house.

Again, because they are idiots.
Over in Paris, Kate is trying desperately to get call friends back home, as well as the police, to go and check on Kevin to make sure he's not dead or, worse, eating too much junk food and not changing his underwear. The police send a patrol car out, but Kevin refuses to answer the door, so the police immediately wash their hands of the whole situation. Your tax dollars at work, folks!

Kevin makes some attempts to not be a terrible person, even going to church for mass, where he runs across old man Marley, who is there watching his granddaughter's Christmas choir concert. Marley tells Kevin that he knows what everybody thinks about him, but insists it is not true. He's just a sad old man who is estranged from his son. Kevin, being only eight-years-old, believes him completely, and the two discuss the difficulties of dealing with family. They part ways after kevin offers the sage advice that Marley should probably ought to talk to his son. You know, just in case his son doesn't actually hate his guts.

Back home, Kevin decides that he has to defend his home, and he begins setting up several dangerous and increasingly complicated traps, as well as a zip line so he can escape to his treehouse for a dramatic Last Stand.

When Marv and Harry show up, Kevin shoots Harry in the dick with a BB gun, and then shoots Marv in the face. To be honest, Kevin takes entirely too much joy in assaulting these guys with a potentially deadly weapon, even if they are trying to break into his house, but it's Christmas! So we guess that makes it okay.

And, of course, there is the fact that they are idiots.
Their resolve strengthened, Harry and Marv split up to find an easier way in. Marv heads for the basement, where he first slips and possibly suffers a concussion because Kevin coated the outside basement stairs with water, which froze into ice. When he finally manages to get inside, he heads for the stairs, which are covered with tar and shingles with nails pounded through them, adding to Marv's potential health risks with tetanus and possible infection! Harry does not fare much better, burning his hand on a heated doorknob, and then having his head set on fire with a torch.

Did we mention that this is supposed to be a comedy?

Now back in the United States, Kate is trying to get a flight from Pennsylvania to Chicago, where Kevin is, no doubt, dead from a sugar coma, and probably still wearing underwear from two days ago...Any mother's nightmare. And although there are no flights available, she is offered a ride by Gus Polinski (John Candy), the Polka King, and his band. This sounds sketchy, but she accepts, dooming herself to hours of terrible polkas as they drive through the night.

Kevin causes further trauma to Harry's and Marv's craniums by smashing them in the face with paint cans when they both finally make it inside the house. It is very likely these two will not escape alive, and if they do, they will still suffer from debilitating brain damage at the hands of this rambunctious, psychopathic scalliwag.

After what feels like several more hours of abuse at the hands of this tiny psychotic, the two of them manage to chase him to his escape point, where he uses the zip line and openly mocks them from his treehouse after calling the police and giving them the address to a neighbor's house. Harry insists the crawl along the rope to get to him. Marv, now terrified of this small child, does not think it is a very good idea, but he's not the brains of the outfit, so he has to follow Harry. This, of course, results in them being further injured when Kevin cuts the rope as they are halfway across, causing them to swing across the yard and smash faces-first into the brick wall of the house.

Kevin escapes to the neighbor's house, where Harry and Marv catch him. But before they can take their revenge on him for the assault, they are stopped by old man Marley, who assaults them himself by pounding their heads with a snow shovel.

That they even survived is a miracle. Also, as previously noted, they are idiots.
Will Kevin get the house cleaned up in time for Christmas? Will Harry and Marv, now taken into what can only be considered protective custody, survive through the night after the brutal beatdown administered by a small child and an elderly man? Will Kate make it home without being raped by a group of lonely polka musicians, or will she end up in jail herself after killing them all when Gus shouts "ONE MORE TIME!" as they enter into hour fifteen of their journey? You'll have to tune in to find out!

Larry loves this film, as he was twelve when it came out. Also, his mother was obsessed with it, so it was a family tradition, and so there are all kinds of soft, squishy memories attached to it, which is understandable. He also thinks Joe Pesci is hilarious, which is also true. He does, however, think Kevin is an unstable and psychotic human being. This, too, is also understandable and most likely true.

Derek does not care for this one, mostly because Kevin is a horrible little turd of a human who takes entirely too much joy and satisfaction in injuring people, regardless of whether or not it is done in the course of protecting one's home. This kid has issues, and will suffer for it some day, most likely in some sort of institution. If not, he will probably grow to be a criminal himself, or possibly an addict of some kind.