Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) is an eight-year-old boy from an affluent suburb of Chicago. He's a normal, active kid, though he sometimes feels like his family notices him only when he's underfoot or in the way.During the Christmas holidays, his extended family comes to stay overnight with his already-large immediate family to prepare for their vacation to France (where more of their relatives are temporarily living). Of course, Kevin causes trouble during dinner, pushing his oldest brother, Buzz, in anger for eating his cheese pizza. As punishment, Kevin is forced into the attic where he was intended to sleep with his bed-wetting cousin, Fuller. Before he goes, he angrily tells his mother that he never wants to see her or anyone else in the family again.The next day, the family oversleeps due to a power outage, and they hurry to the airport to catch their flight to France, accidentally leaving Kevin behind. He wakes to find that he has the house to himself. After brief moment of panic, he exults in his new freedom, gorging on junk food and watching violent movies. However, a pair of burglars named Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern), the self-proclaimed "Wet Bandits" (after the fact that they flood the houses they rob), are planning to put a hit on his house for its valuables.The rest of the movie is about the efforts of the robbers to sack the house and the efforts of Kevin to foil them. Along the way, Kevin befriends an elderly neighbor who is rumored to be a serial killer. And of course his parents, realizing too late that they are missing a member, are frantically trying to get back home to find their son.A beloved family comedy, this 1990 film made Macaulay Culkin a celebrity. This movie is also noteworthy for being written and produced by John Hughes, who had previously worked on teen comedies like The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller's Day Off, as well as being directed by Chris Columbus, who would later direct Mrs. Doubtfire, Bicentennial Man, and the first two Harry Potter movies, among others.The movie, being such a success (it was the biggest hit of that year and finished its theatrical run only behind Star Wars and E.T. as the 3rd-highest grossing film in history), inevitably was followed by a few sequels.The first sequel, Home Alone 2: Lost In New York, was mainly a rehash of the original, only it was set in New York this time. It's generally considered to be respectful to the first movie and was the second biggest box-office hit of 1992.The second sequel, 1997's Home Alone 3, had a completely different cast and characters (i.e. Kevin was replaced by Alex Pruitt, played by Alex D. Linz), but was otherwise still similar to the first movie. In fact, many of the characters are very much like the characters of the previous movies, with one exception: the stupid burglars, wanted by the local police, were replaced with intelligent spies wanted by the FBI, making the traps less believable. John Hughes still wrote and produced it, but Chris Columbus didn't return to direct - that role was given to Raja Gosnell, editor of the first two films (and future director of Big Momma's House, the live-action Scooby-Doo movies, and Beverly Hills Chihuahua). It was not as successful as the original two (it grossed only $79 million, compared to the $476 million of the first film and the $358 million of the second). Though that was mostly attributed to the five year gap between movies, where many of it's fans had long since grown up. However the film was still considered a pretty good family flick overall.The third sequel, Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House is a 2002 Made For TV sequel (but any continuity is absent). It brought back the original characters, but they were again all recast with actors who often looked nothing like the original ones, like Buzz and Megan (originally late teenagers, now somehow preteens) and Marv (now played by French Stewart, who looks nothing like Daniel Stern, and ironically more like Joe Pesci). Much of the family is somehow missing, and Harry has been replaced with Marv's wife, Vera (Missi Pyle). Not even John Hughes had anything to do with this entry; Rod Daniel of Teen Wolf and K-9 fame took over the director's chair for this entry, which would prove to be the last thing he directed. This one was apparently afflicted by severe Executive Meddling, which heavily altered the original script in the hope of launching a TV series off the back of it. Unsurprisingly, nothing of the sort ever materialized.A fourth sequel, Home Alone: The Holiday Heist was released during ABC Family's Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas in November of 2012.The movies (especially the first two) have become something of a cultural meme in Poland. That's because since the restoration of independence in 1990, each year one of the main TV stations aired 'Home Alone' during Christmas. Today many Poles can't imagine Christmas without 'Kevin'. In the event that no station is planning to show the movie, stations are flooded with mail and petitions until one agrees to broadcast the movie. Eventually, a proverb was coined: "'Kevin' on TV? It must be Christmas coming." It's the Polish equivalent to It's a Wonderful Life in America. Ironically, It's a Wonderful Life shows up in Home Alone.
This film series contains examples of:
Actor Allusion: As Tim Curry playing the hotel concierge flees from the hotel room in the second movie when he is threatened by a recording of Kevin's uncle, the recording says "Sing it, Frankie"...an allusion to Curry's previous role as Dr. Frank N. Furter from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Adult Fear: Discussed, where Kevin talks with Mr. Marley about how being an adult doesn't mean that you're not afraid of anything.
Aesop Amnesia: At the end of the first movie, Kevin learns that it sucks to be alone (especially during the holidays), even though he told his Mom in the beginning he never wanted to see her and the rest of the family again following a disastrous dinner. At the beginning of the second one, Kevin does the whole "I wanna be alone" thing again after another catastrophe, and is once again separated from his family. Guess what he learns at the end: it sucks to be alone (especially during the holidays).
Not exactly; the second time he just wanted to go somewhere other than Florida for Christmas, and finding he was in New York decided to milk it for all it was worth. It still follows this trope- he still ends up missing his family- but he wasn't actually complaining about not being alone, just that their were better places to holiday on Christmas.
Affably Evil: Don't piss him off, and Harry can be a perfectly nice person. (Ironic, given that he is played by Joe Pesci.)
Also illustrated in the first movie - when Kevin absentmindedly walks in front of the Wet Bandits' van and almost gets run over, both Harry and Marv make a point of telling him to be more careful in the future.
More likely they were more concerned with how much trouble they'd be in for accidentally running him over than Kevin's safety.
You can only make out a few sentences like "That's it, you little..." and "I'm gonna rip his head off!"
Director Chris Columbus suggested Pesci focus on saying the word "fridge"; Pesci joined this film after wrapping Goodfellas, where his character set the gold standard for Cluster F-Bomb-ing , and Pesci had a tough time shaking off the word during his Angrish rants.
Averted by Marv, who utters an S-bomb at one point (and if you can't hear it, it's in the subtitles on the DVD). It's right around when he loses his shoe through the doggy door.
Ash Face: In the second film, after Harry soaks his burning head in a toilet full of kerosene, the entire first floor of the house blows up, but luckily Harry survives with only a burn on his scalp and a damaged hat and ash on his face.
Big Damn Hero: Old Man Marley in the first film, and the pigeon lady in the second.
Bigger Bad: The North Korean terrorist in the 3rd film.
Big "NEVER!": Marv, although in a context that just makes him look foolish.
Or does it make him just a tiny bit awesome? Guy can take a lot of damage.
Big "NO!": Harry screams one in the second film while Kevin throws a rock through a window to trip the toy store alarm, and expose the Bandits.
Bilingual Bonus: When the leader of the bad guys in the third movie learns that Alex took the chip from the toy car, he gets angry and starts yelling at the boy in Polish: "I'm gonna crush you like a cockroach! Where's the disk?" (Yes, he actually called the chip "disk".)
Bloodless Carnage: The Wet/Sticky Bandits get hit by all sorts of painful traps, but not a drop of blood appears in the movies. Not really noticeable except for a few cases, like when a nail goes through Marv's foot.
In Home Alone 3 one of the spies has a running lawnmower dropped onto his face. We hear agonizing screaming and the scene cuts away. The next time we see him, all he has is a wacky new haircut.
And before that, two of them get a desk full of books dropped on them from a floor up. They act more like they were each hit in the head with a single book.
"You got hit with a book?"
Boisterous Weakling: Harry clearly thinks of himself as a tough guy and often picks on Marv but Kevin's traps reveal Harry to be every bit as big a wimp as his co-burglar.
Booby Trap: One of the big draws of the movie is watching Kevin (or Alex) set up some fiendishly ingenious traps for the bad guys. A lot of these traps would likely kill if these were anything other than comedy movies.
Boom, Headshot: One of Kevin's methods of dispatching the Wet Bandits involved him shooting Marv in the forehead with a B.B. gun when he poked his head through the doggie door. Unsurprisingly, the best it did was leave a stinging sensation on his forehead rather than killing or even injuring him.
Bowdlerise: Channels like ABC Family and Cartoon Network seem to love editing out certain parts of the final act of the 2nd film like Kevin hitting Marv three times with bricks for example which was scaled back to one brick being used instead.
The aforementioned Angrish Harry mutters whenever Kevin injures him.
Brick Joke: The first two end with this. In the first movie, Kevin climbs up his brother Buzz's storage shelves, which collapse under his weight, thereby destroying his brother's room and releasing his pet tarantula, which turns up later at an opportune moment during the climax. He then goes grocery shopping with Buzz's life savings and the movie goes on as planned. At the end of the movie all seems right until the very end of the movie when after the family has come home, Buzz yells "KEVIN!! WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY ROOM?!!!!!!?" The second movie has Kevin, having been lost in New York, uses his dad's credit card to check into the Plaza Hotel, where he enjoys the room service. After Kevin escapes the concierge having called the credit card 'stolen', the movie continues on with Kevin befriending the pigeon lady and his family is given a complimentary suite once they arrive in New York. At the end of the film Kevin gives the pigeon lady one of the turtle doves he got at Duncan's Toy Chest (because friendship is valuable), Buzz gets something from the bellhop that is also high in price: Kevin's room service bill. Kevin then hears his dad yell out "KEVIN!! YOU SPENT $967 ON ROOM SERVICE?!!!!!?"
In the second movie, right before the goons are set to invade the trap-infested house that Kevin has set up, Kevin throws several bricks down at the pair, with all of them hitting Marv. After the pair have made it through the gauntlet to the top of the house, with Kevin now on sidewalk, Marv attempts to get revenge on him by tossing a brick at him.
In the first film, Harry chews out Marv when the latter flooded the house again, who counters that, as the "Wet Bandits," they need a Calling Card. In the climax, the Wet Bandits are arrested, and the police tell them they know which houses they robbed due to the floods, with the strong implication of serving a lengthy prison sentence.
When Harry gets hit in the face with a paint can, his Gold Tooth is knocked out. Kevin's dad later finds it on the floor, and is understandably confused about it.
Broken Aesop: Old Man Marley. It's supposed to be a "Don't believe everything you hear." aesop, but if a old guy who you heard bad things about just stares at you sinisterly without saying a word, you'd be creeped out, too. Let alone if you were a 8 year old who was by himself.
Butt Monkey: Harry and Marv, Marv more so. Also, Kevin to his family.
And the hotel staff in the second film.
California Doubling: In the second movie, all the scenes with Kevin's family in Florida were shot in California, as were all the scenes at Kevin's uncle's house, while several more of the New York scenes were shot in Chicago.
Calling Card: The Wet Bandits (or rather, Marv, as Harry expresses irritation that Marv would actually resort to such a thing like that) often flood the houses they robbed. This bites them in the butt later in the film when they are arrested for attempted robbery.
The Cameo: Donald Trump, then-owner of the Plaza Hotel, appears in the second film as the man who directs Kevin to the lobby. Oddly enough, the directions he gives Kevin are incorrect.
In the first film several members of director Chris Columbus' family appears: is mother-in-law and his then infant daughter Eleanor Columbus are both passengers on the plane. His wife Monica Devereux-Columbus is a stewardess and his father-in-law plays the police officer who gives the line "tell them to count their kids again."
In the second film: Columbus himself makes an uncredited cameo holding his daughter Eleanor in the Toy Store.
Ally Sheedy as the airport clerk who tells Kevin he's in New York in the second film.
Car Cushion: In the second movie, Kevin tricks Harry and Marv into getting onto a makeshift see-saw, launching Harry into the air and onto a car.
"Remember, if this makes the papers, we're no longer the Wet Bandits, we're the Sticky Bandits!"
Cassandra Truth: Home Alone 3, in which the spies escape before the police arrive, resulting in a lecture that "false alarms are no joking matter".
Chekhov's Boomerang: The gangster movie that Kevin watches in the original movie. He first uses it in order to fool and scare away the pizza delivery boy. He later uses it again to scare off the Wet Bandits.
Done again in the sequel. This time, he uses it to scare off the hotel staff. It actually works!
Chekhov's Gag: In the first movie, it's established that Kevin's cousin Fuller is a notorious bed-wetter, and thus, no one wants to share a bed with him. Toward the end of Home Alone 2, Kevin and most of the other McCallisters (besides Kevin's parents, who have a separate room) are seen sleeping squashed together everywhere other than the bed. Guess who's got that huge bed all to himself (with Coke cans all over it, no less)?
Continuity Nod: The same clip of Johnny Carson reading the letter that a little girl wrote to Santa appears in both Home Alone and Home Alone 2. Its appearance in the second film is a bit of an anachronism, since by late 1992 (When Home Alone 2 was released), Carson had since retired and Jay Leno had taken over.
Also, It's a Wonderful Life is watched by the bored kids in both. In the first movie, it's in French (as they were in Paris); in the second, it's in Spanish (as they were in Miami).
Not to mention that, in both, Kevin is seen watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. In the second movie in particular, as the Grinch smiles evilly, it transitions to Tim Curry grinning the same way.
Continuity Reboot: Home Alone 4 is an awkward mixture of this and an actual in-continuity sequel, as it actually started out as the latter, but then had a major restructuring of the cast to provide a jump-off point for a TV show. It's far less problematic to ignore the references to the first two films and just take it as a total reboot.
Contrived Coincidence: A series of these is what leads to Kevin being left alone in the first movie—the fight between Kevin and Buzz spills milk all over the counter and Kevin's plane ticket, which accidentally gets thrown away when it's cleaned up; him getting in trouble and sent to sleep up in the attic room as punishment keeps him out of sight, out of mind the next morning; the windstorm knocks out the power, causing them all to oversleep; the neighbor kid gets mistaken for Kevin from behind during the headcount; the family is rushed on to the plane and given random seats, rather than being seated together.
It happens again in the second movie. Kevin gets whisked away to New York City entirely by accident. Harry and Marv are there too, but they're not chasing Kevin; they've just escaped prison and merely want to score a big heist in the Big Apple. Somehow, Kevin ends up at the exact same toy store that they're casing.
Also from the second movie, a small joke that comes up when Kevin plays the Angels With Even Filthier Souls videotape to fool the hotel staff. Johnny lists off, "Cheeks, Bony Bob, Cliff." Coincidentally, one of the staff in question is named Cliff.
Credit Card Plot: Kevin uses his father's credit card while on his own in the second film. At the end, it's revealed that he spent almost $1000 on room service alone.
Creepy Basement: Contains the furnace that is scary for Kevin. Subverted later on in the movie, where Kevin rigs up with traps that Marv must get through - icy stairs in from the outside, and tar coated steps leading out on the inside.
Curse Cut Short: Twice in the second movie; the first is when the elevator Kevin is on shuts just before Tim Curry's character can finish calling him a "little shit"; the second is when Buzz is about drop off another instance of the S-bomb, only to be cut off by a Death Glare from his mother.
Averted in the first one, where Marv actually gets out an S-bomb (which is in the subtitles on the DVD).
Darker and Edgier: The first film is fairly lighthearted and family friendly, but the second one is much darker and more serious, with Kevin's traps being much more violent and brutal, and Harry trying to bump off Kevin in Central Park.
Home Alone 3 takes this trope to whole new levels. The new villains aren't petty house robbers, they're part of a terrorist organisation! The female one actually ties an elderly lady up in a garage and then leaves the door open, exposing her to the freezing weather conditions. She's not far from unconsciousness when she's finally rescued.
Death by Irony: In the Game Boy version of Home Alone, the player could defeat enemies by knocking an item down onto an enemy by knocking down a bowling ball when they are directly underneath it. Want to know how it's ironic? The item that does them in is more often than not one of the same items that the robbers are intending to steal.
Defictionalization: The Talkboy from Lost in New York was originally conceived as a non-working prop for the film, one letter-writing campaign from 1990s kids later and it was Defictionalized by Tiger Electronics. It sold well enough that several variants were created, such as a pink-and-purple version called the Talkgirl.
Delusions of Eloquence: Linnie uses French phrases to sound intelligent, but she comes off as pathetic. For one thing, she doesn't pronounce "les" correctly. It's pronounced "lay incompetente," because 'es' is pronounce 'ay'.
Not quite. In French, when one word ends with a consonant and the following word begins with a vowel, the ordinarily silent final consonant in the first word is pronounced. Linnie's actual mistake is using the (correct) plural form instead of the singular when referring to Kevin. She should have called him "l'incompetent".
Determinator: The Wet Bandits do not give up, that's the best thing that can be said about them.
It's also the worst thing that could be said about them. They're not trying to steal some specific MacGuffin hidden in the McCallister's home, they're just robbing a bunch of houses for valuables. Once they knew someone was there at all, they should have just written it off as a place that should have been off-limits, and quietly hit the other houses unhindered.
Harry states explicitly that the McCallisters' house is the prize of that particular block, and that Harry had wanted to rob it ever since he first laid eyes on it. To be fair, it's also one of the biggest on the block and undoubtedly has the most expensive valuables.
Plus, once Harry and Marv started falling for Kevin's traps, they became eager to get back at him.
Kevin's mom is pretty impressive. She spends both movies trying to get to Kevin ASAP, buying whatever plane tickets she can, pawning her stuff, and hitching rides with strange polka bands.
Die Hard on an X: Arguably Die Hard for children. Protagonist accidentally gets left behind, must fight thieves who invade the building on Christmas Eve. He even has a catchphrase from an old movie (no swearing though), which is "Keep the change, you filthy animal."
Disaster Dominoes: Kevin's shoving of Buzz in the second movie somehow causes an enire choir to collapse as they grab each other while falling. Everyone but Kevin goes down, including those right in front of him.
Doing It for the Art: Daniel Stern was so committed to the role of Marv, and to the concept of Marv and Harry being the Wet Bandits, that in fact, a number of Marv's antics (sticking snowglobes to the dashboard with gum, stepping on and walking across glass ornaments, trying to pry open the back door with a crowbar before giving up and just opening it, the stupid look on his face before getting hit with a flying paint can, the "Why the hell are you dressed like a chicken?" line he says when he sees Harry covered in feathers) were ad-libbed by Stern.
Eiffel Tower Effect: In the scene where Peter tries to call home from his brother's house in Paris, the Eiffel Tower is visible right outside the window.
The Eighties in the first film, The Nineties in the sequels. Technically, the first film is from 1990, but the cultural '80s didn't end until 1992 or 1993. That said, the original movie inspired a bunch of family movies throughout the 1990s that featured clever kids using booby traps and Homemade Inventions to thwart dimwitted adults.
Even Evil Has Standards: Harry is disgusted by Marv's penchant for leaving the water running and plughole blocked in all the houses they have robbed, thus flooding them, and tells him, "That's a sick thing to do!"
Harry is unwilling to follow Kevin into a church, even though he was hiding in the Nativity Scene. So is Marv. Seems more like they were afraid of it, though.
Harry is this yet again in the sequel, but for pragmatic reasons. He calls out Marv for nicking change from a Salvation Army Santa. They've just escaped from prison and they would do well in keeping a low profile rather than committing petty crimes in broad daylight.
Face Your Fears: Kevin has to face his fear of his basement furnace in the first movie.
The Family for the Whole Family: Somewhat subverted; in the first two films, Harry and Marv eventually end up outwitting and catching Kevin, they plan on killing him (really slowly in the first one), and they're only stopped by the sudden intervention of Marley. However, the fact that they didn't just shoot him or at least tie him up at gunpoint to begin with is less than realistic. The lack of swearing from hardened criminals in terrible pain is also quite noticeable. Word is they had to do quite a few retakes because Pesci couldn't shut his filthy mouth.
Justified a bit in that Pesci just came from doing Goodfellas, where as Tommy DeVito, he elevated F-bombs to an art form.
It's also justified both times for why they didn't do the above: in the first film they don't have a gun (which makes sense- they expect to be robbing empty houses on an empty street), and by the time they grab Kevin are too pissed off to worry about tying him up. In the second Harry does have a gun and is prepared to use it...but again, he doesn't get the chance until he's put through hell first, by which point it's too late.
Family-Friendly Firearms: When Harry tries to shoot the pigeon lady, his gun jams due to the paint and varnish that fell on him after he let go of the burning rope. This was probably the filmmaker's way of reassuring the audience that Harry wouldn't have been able to shoot Kevin even if he tried.
Family-Unfriendly Violence: The first two films are full of it, Harry and Marv in the second film in particular should've been dead before the end. That probably makes it more painful if you're a doctor, a police officer, a paramedic, or anyone with basic medical training.
Joe Pesci really isn't that fat, but he is much shorter and heavier than Daniel Stern.
Flanderization: In the second film, Harry is a lot meaner and grouchier and Marv dumber and sillier than in the first film.
Justified for Harry as the two of them just spent a year in prison due to Kevin's involvement. As for Marv...well getting hit by an iron on top of being shot in the forehead with a BB rifle will do that to a person.
For the Evulz: Marv floods the houses he and Harry rob for no better reason than to leave a 'calling card'.
Foreshadowing/Brick Joke: Kevin uses a recording of Uncle Frank to stop the concierge from spying on him. Said recording, is of Uncle Frank shouting, "Get out of here you nosy pervert, or I'm gonna slap you silly!" Kate later on slaps him sily for inadvertently endangering her son.
Four Temperament Ensemble: Kevin is phlegmatic/sanguine, Marv is sanguine/choleric, Harry is choleric/melancholic, Kate melancholic/phlegmatic and Peter is phlegmatic.
The hotel staff in the second film: Mr. Hector is choleric, the desk lady is melancholic, and Cedric the bellboy is phlegmatic/sanguine.
The crooks in the third film - Beaupre is choleric, Alice is sanguine, Jernigan is melancholic and Unger is phlegmatic.
Freudian Excuse: Harry in the second movie reveals that he "never made it to the sixth grade" implying he had a rough upbringing.
The trick used in the third movie to switch one of the spies' guns for a fake.
The ever-so-famous "ornaments under the window" trick, which requires that the bandit who went into the basement would then try in vain to walk up the tar covered stairs, lose their shoes, give up, and then requires that same bandit to enter through that exact same window, only to walk barefoot over the ornaments.
Genre Savvy: Harry learns to expect some of the traps in the second movie, so he is more on his guard than he was in the first movie. Unfortunately for them, Kevin is aware that they won't fall for the same trick twice, and modified his traps.
A good example of this is when Kevin reprises the paint can trick. Harry and Marv are aware that Kevin will swing paint cans at them when they start up the stairs. So instead of following him up the stairs they pretend to follow him and wait for the two cans to swing by. They just duck out of the way and laugh as the cans miss them. Thinking they have outsmarted Kevin, they then rush up the stairs... only to be caught off guard when they are hit with a large and heavy piece of pipe that knocks them down and sends them falling down the stairs and then down a giant opening in the floor.
"Don't you know a kid always wins against two idiots?"
In the first movie, they realize he was luring them into another trap.
Kevin: Hey, I'm calling the cops! (Kevin runs to the Murphys' house. Marv tries to chase him but Harry stopped him.) Harry: Waitwaitwaitwaitwait! He wants us to follow him. I got a better idea, come on.
Harry: Hiya, pal. We outsmarted ya, this time. Get over here!
Gold Tooth: Harry has a gold tooth, which produces a rare live-action Twinkle Smile. It's a Chekhov's Gun, since Kevin sees it when he is nearly hit by Harry's van, and realizes that Harry was the same man posing as a police officer at the beginning of the film. Unfortunately, this makes Harry suspicious of him. When, during the climax, Harry gets hit in the face with a paint can, it breaks his gold tooth. Needless to say, Harry's Berserk Button is pressed for sure. In the end, Kevin's father finds it on the floor. That will be hard to explain.
One of the ways to dispatch the enemies (specifically the fat fedora man) in Lost in New York's game adaptation involves firing weapons at him, and he's seen clutching down to a certain area upon being hit.
Ham-to-Ham Combat: Harry and Marv during the brief scene in the second movie where they try to trick Kevin into thinking they've been hit with paint cans (only for them to be hit with an iron pipe for real a moment later).
Harpo Does Something Funny: Completely subverted. In fact, Daniel Stern has praised John Hughes' script for how specific and detailed it was regarding all of the setups and traps during the climax of the original movie. Stern even lampshaded the subversion in an interview in saying, "Most scripts usually say, 'And then the bad guys get the crap beat out of them'."
Heartwarming Orphan: In the second film, one waves to Kevin from a window of the children's hospital and Kevin waves back, just before Kevin sets off to foil Harry and Marv's plan.
Hoist by His Own Petard: When the Wet Bandits are finally caught at the end of the first, the cops are able to identify which houses they robbed since Marv would leave the houses' sinks running as a calling card. Marv was proud of this, while Harry shakes his head.
This is also how the Bandits planned to punish Kevin before Old Man Marley intervened - by putting him through his own traps.
Homeless Pigeon Person: That homeless pigeon-caretaker woman that Kevin McCallister befriends in the second movie.
Hollywood Healing: In the second film, Harry and Marv are electrocuted; set on fire; hit with bricks, tools and other assortments; cut; stabbed; crushed; fall multiple stories (two or three times in a few minutes); hit with a shovel; attacked by a flock of pigeons; hit with paint cans and large metal bar (which was then dropped on them)....and they suffer no serious injuries. At all.
Hot Mom: Kind of a given when your mom is played by Catherine O'Hara. Alex's mom from the third movie also counts as a Hot Mom.
Impersonating an Officer: Harry in the first movie dresses himself as a policeman to know when the residents of the neighborhood are going to leave for the holiday.
Implacable Man: In the first two films, Harry and Marv are electrocuted; set on fire; hit with bricks, tools and other assortments; cut; stabbed; crushed; fallen multiple stories (two or three times in a few minutes); hit with a shovel; attacked by a flock of pigeons; hit with paint cans and large metal bar (which was then dropped on them)....and they suffer no serious injuries. At all. Even broken noses are instantly fixed. The 3rd film mitigates this a bit with 4 bad guys, meaning the punishment is spread out more evenly.
Improv: John Candy improvised most of his lines in the first film.
Inspector Javert: The hotel concierge in the second film seems a little over-eager to bust Kevin for allegedly committing credit card fraud. He should have just notified police or child social services and let them take care of the matter.
Instant Soprano: In the third movie, after Doris the rat climbs up a crook's pant leg and the other thug tries to club her.
Kate: What kind of idiots do you have working here?
Mrs. Stone: The finest in New York.
And this one.
Kevin: You guys give up? Have you had enough pain?
Marv: (triumphantly) NEVER!
Iron Butt Monkey: Harry and Marv really shouldn't have survived most of the stuff that happened to them in the second movie. Fortunately, the physical unlikelihood of a ten year old lifting a 70 pound barbell probably prevented a number of children across the nation killing their older siblings with pranks.
It Makes Sense in Context: The hands-on-face scream Kevin became known for; it only happened twice, and only in the first movie. Kevin had just finished shaving (in an attempt to act "grown up"), and applied aftershave. The alcohol burn wasn't something he was prepared for.
Jerkass: Harry, Buzz and Uncle Frank. Also, the hotel Concierge in the second film.
Kevin can be a bit of a Jerkass too; then again, I clearly think it must be a genetic trait in the family. Apart from Buzz and Frank, his sister Linnie calls him "les incompetent", and his older cousins call him "completely helpless" and "such a disease". His younger cousin constantly wets the bed - in the second film, it's implied he does it on purpose, or at least finds it amusing that Kevin might have to share a bed with him for that reason.
It's not even just in the second one - during the dinner at the start of the first movie, we see Fuller drinking a Pepsi, but then he briefly stops and gives a smug look at Kevin.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kevin is the first to admit he's not always the best kid and can be a pain sometimes, but he does overall have a good heart.
Karma Houdini: Buzz in the second. Sure, Kevin pushes him down after the electric candle debacle, but Buzz still gets away with conning the whole family with an insincere apology after the fact, and suffers no retribution.
He gets his comeuppance in first in the form of Kevin destroying his room and using his life's savings to buy food. Not so much in the sequel.
He does redeem himself with a genuinely sincere speech in thanks to Kevin at the end of the sequel, though.
A better example is Uncle Frank who is a complete and utter ass to everyone (including his own wife and kids) and never faces any consequences whatsoever, but Kevin did use Uncle Frank's Jerkass-ness to his advantage in the hotel. Makes a Funny Moment when the concierge runs out at Kevin's ploy.
Also, the North Korean mobster in the third movie.
Kids Shouldn't Watch Horror Films: In the first movie, Kevin watches an old gangster movie that he was previously not allowed to see. It ends up scaring him at first. Then he realizes it has more practical uses: so he orders a pizza, and uses the audio of that scene to scare the pizza delivery man. Later, he reuses the scene again, but adds firecrackers to the bit where Johnny fires his Tommy gun to make it louder and fool Harry and Marv into thinking that someone else has beaten them to the house.
Also, in the second movie, Kevin has another sequel to the same gangster movie (which he still wasn't allowed to see). He uses the same movie to ward off the hotel guys and the bellhop that are out to throw him out for trickery into using a paycheck for room service, by making them get down on their knees and express their love for him, then making them think a Trigger Happy maniac is in the room.
Kiss of Death: In Home Alone 3, Alice kisses Mrs. Hess on the forehead, after gagging her and taping her to a chair.
Leitmotif: Kevin is usually accompanied by an instrumental version of "Someone in My Memory". Harry and Marv have their respective leitmotif too which we could call him "Harry and Marv Theme".
Little "No": Harry gives a particularly sad one in the second movie when he sees a big pipe is about to fall on him.
Loose Lips: Marv does this, especially in the second film.
Marv: (to Kevin) At midnight tonight, we're hitting Duncan's Toy Chest, five floors of cash. Then after that we get a couple of phony passports then it's off to Rio...
Harry: Marv! Marv! You want to shut up?
Another example, at the end of the film:
Marv: (to the cops who are arresting them) He made us hide out in the store so we could steal all the kiddies' charity money.
Harry: (kicks Marv) Shut up, Marv! You got the right to remain silent, you know.
Marv: He's a little cranky. We just broke out of prison a few days ago.
Harry: (kicks him again) SHUT UP, MARV! Jeez!
Made of Iron: Try watching this movie with a police officer, firefighter, EMT, or anyone with basic knowledge of biology. They'll tell you that without this trope the bad guys would be dead hundreds of times over by the end.
That kinda depends. Most of the traps in the first movie are survivable, though they'd be horribly painful and leave some nasty scars. Almost all of the traps in the second one, however, would kill you instantly or cripple you for life.
Make a Wish: It's not actually a magically granted wish, but Kevin thinks it is when his mother walks through the front door on Christmas morning.
Mama Bear: Kevin's mother in the first two movies.
The second one especially, which gives us this gem of a quote from Kate:
Kate McCallister: Peter, I'll be fine. The way I'm feeling right now, no mugger or murderer would dare mess with me!
Match Cut: In Lost in New York, when Kevin is watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and it gets to the part where the Grinch makes his famous smile, the scene fades to the concierge making a similar smile after catching Kevin using a stolen credit card.
Mickey Mousing: In the second film, the orchestra plays three stings when Kevin dials each of the numbers in 911.
Missed Him by That Much: In the second film, Kate knocks on the door to the building where Kevin has set up his traps. Nobody answers, so she hails a cab and exits the scene. Only a few seconds later, Kevin runs up to the building.
Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: Old Man Marley in the first film, the Pigeon Lady in the second, both of whom end up saving Kevin's ass in the end. Also to some degree, Mrs. Hess in the third.
Mundane Utility: Kevin uses fireworks as emergency flares in the second film.
My Friends... and Zoidberg: In the first film, Kevin asks the "guy who works for Santa" for his family back, and lists them by name. "And, if he has time, my Uncle Frank."
Never Found the Body: Buzz's story about Old Man Marley being the Shovel Slayer says he wasn't arrested for killing his family because the authorities never found the bodies. Turns out they're just fine and he's always alone because he had an argument with his son years ago.
No Endor Holocaust: Kevin must have had a Cleanup Crew for most of the house (save Buzz's room, evidently), at the end of Home Alone 1. In less than 12 hours (9pm-daybreak the next morning), all of his traps are neatly put away, the crushed Christmas ornaments Marv stepped on as he climbed through the window are swept away and didn't damage the floor's finish, the front doorknob and mechanism were unharmed from being super-heated, thankfully his family doesn't slip on the ice on the front steps.
Not really: except for the tar on the basement steps, pretty much all the traps could have been easily cleaned up, and as for the ice on the steps, the porch is buried in deep snow when Kevin pokes his head out the door the next morning.
Non-Fatal Explosions: In the second movie, Kevin lights Harry's head on fire, Harry puts it out in the toilet, not knowing it is filled with kerosene (which looks like water at first glance), and blows the entire first floor up. Luckily, Harry only has second-degree burns on his scalp (as well as soot on his face and teeth and a damaged hat) to worry about.
This is also a Rule of Perception, because kerosene would have a distinctive smell...though Harry might not have detected the smell before he dunked his head in the toilet. Later on, he's able to recognize the rope they're climbing is soaked with kerosene.
No One Should Survive That: Oh so many, particularly in the second film, one example being Harry surviving an explosion after sticking his burning head in a kerosene-filled toilet and when Marv noticed the pigeons. They should have picked him and Harry clean of skin.
No Sympathy: In the first movie, the family shows concern for Kevin's safety — all except Buzz, that is, who thinks that Kevin can use some time in the real world.
Oh Crap: For Kevin and the audience near the end of the second movie. It turned out Harry wasn't bluffing from an earlier scene; he really DID have a gun in his coat pocket and fully intended to use it on Kevin. And Harry was also true to his word when he told Kevin flat-out that he had no qualms about knocking off a child on Christmas.
Marv sticking his head through the doggy door and into the barrel of a BB gun...which he then turns it into an Oh Crap smile. BANG!
Kevin, Harry and Marv all get several over the two films. For Kevin:
When Harry and Marv hang him on the coat hook near the end of the first film and tell him they are going to put him through his own traps.
When Harry pulls out his gun and is about to shoot him and send him to meet his maker once and for all in the second film.
In the second film when he realizes he is standing on a makeshift seesaw and tries to warn Marv not to step on the other end. Unfortunately, Marv doesn't listen in time, lands on the other end, and catapults Harry into the air, and he lands on and crushes a car.
Later when he looks in the mirror and realizes his head is on fire (again).
And when he chases Kevin up a ladder and realized the ladder is about to break under his weight.
As is said above, when he sticks his head through the doggy door and realizes Kevin is about to shoot him.
In the sequel after he slips on the soap on the basement floor and sees the paint shelf about to topple on him.
When he sees the iron about to fall on him in the first film and when he sees the bag of cement mix about to fall on him in the sequel.
And both of them:
In the first film when Kevin is about to cut the rope to the treehouse on which they are climbing.
In the second film when he is about to light the rope down which they are climbing on fire and later after they fall off and see the cans of varnish about to fall on them.
Parent Service: The last 3 films all feature attractive female burglars in skintight pants who have various liquids thrown on them
Parental Obliviousness: In Home Alone 3, the parents aren't on vacation, they're just at work. Several of the booby traps were already there when they leave on the final day; in fact, at one point Alex has to fetch his mom's coat so that she doesn't find out about the trap in the closet.
Pet the Dog: Buzz acting nice to Kevin and offering him some credit, in both films. For Buzz, this is quite an accomplishment.
Police Are Useless: Particularly in the first film, in which their response to a hysterical mother's report of a child stranded alone for over a day is to try to ignore it, then brush it off when it can't be instantly verified. In reality, they probably would have actually done something like check inside to see if anyone was there.
They did send an officer over to see if anyone was there. But Kevin, who was previously scared by an encounter with Old Man Marley, wouldn't answer the door. He knocked several times, and rang the doorbell several times, but when nobody responded, he thought it was safe to assume the house was empty, and it looked secure.
Averted in the second film when the officer gets annoyed with Kevin's parents laughing about forgetting him, and an officer in New York offers Kate a ride when she realizes where Kevin is.
Porn Stash: Having not yet hit puberty, Kevin has no appreciation for Buzz's collection of Playboys.
Kevin: No clothes on anybody. Sickening!
Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "I never made it to 6th grade kid, and it doesn't look like you will either". Except he doesn't get to actually kill Kevin, although he does come perilously close (see also: Would Hurt a Child and Oh Crap).
Primal Fear: According to Harry, Marv is afraid of the dark. He denies it.
Marv: Kids are scared of the dark.
Harry: You're afraid of the dark too, Marv. You know you are.
Marv: No I'm not.
Harry: Yes you are.
Marv: Not not not!
Harry: You are so.
Marv: Not not not not NOT NOT... !!
Marv is also afraid of spiders and creeped out by flocks of pigeons gathering mysteriously.
In his defense, who wouldn't be freaked out by a tarantula three or four inches wide landing on your face?
Kevin: Ma'am, my feet are hardly touching the ground. I'm barely able to look over the counter. How can I make a reservation for a hotel room? Think about it. A kid coming into a hotel, making a reservation? I don't think so.
Rule of Perception: The head spy from part 3 can't tell he's holding a toy gun spraypainted black, despite it being about three pounds lighter than the Glock he'd been carrying and having a suction cup sticking out of the barrel.
Running Gag: In the first movie, a car running into and toppling the oddly-placed statue on the McCallisters' frontyard. In the sequel, the first van misses the statue... but the second van still manages to hit it.
In the first two movies, Uncle Frank insults Kevin:
In the first movie: "Look what you did, you little jerk!"
In the second movie: "Get out of here, you nosy little pervert, before I slap you silly!"
In the first two movies, the family watches It's a Wonderful Life in a different language while in a hotel: first French, then Spanish. Likewise, Kevin watches How the Grinch Stole Christmas while alone.
Also, at the end of the first two, one of the other McCallisters would yell at Kevin for something bad he did while they were gone/separated (trashing Buzz's room in the first, and spending "$967 ON ROOM SERVICE!!!!" with his dad's credit card in the second).
The movie Kevin watches: an old black-and-white movie about a homicidal maniac who kills his enemies with a tommy gun.
That would be "Angels with Filthy Souls." And the sequel "Angels with Even Filthier Souls".
"Keep the change, ya filthy animal."
Kevin closes his eyes during the shootings. Then he uses the movie to trick people, and he mouths the "ya filthy animal."
Kevin uses both films to fool people who are after him.
Kevin and his family do not understand how to tip people.
Actually, in one scene where the bellboy reveals he still has "some tip left over" (a stick of gum), Kevin flashes a wad of cash and grins, implying that he probably does know how to tip and is just screwing with the bellboy.
Same Story, Different Names: The original was so popular that beyond the sequels, John Hughes wrote other family comedies for various studios - Beethoven (1992, though under a pseudonym), Dennis the Menace (1993), Baby's Day Out (1994), the live-action 101 Dalmatians (1996), and Flubber (1997) - that all had bad guys getting outwitted by kids, animals, etc. at some point, usually as violently as possible.
Sanctuary of Solitude: Kevin is lonely on Christmas Eve night for the first one, so he goes to the church to hear the choir sing.
In the second film, the hotel concierge breaks into a Slasher Smile that matches the Grinch's. Kevin also watches that movie in both films.
Shovel Strike: Old Man Marley dispatches the Wet Bandits with a blow to the head from his snow shovel in the first film.
Show Within a Show: "Angels with Filthy Souls" (made specifically for the movie). It's actually a parody of a real '30s gangster flick, Angels with Dirty Faces. At least the title is. The fake movie scenes don't parody any scene from Angels With Dirty Faces.
Similarly-Named Works: "Home Alone" is also the name of an unrelated public service video that shows viewers what to do if they're at home by themselves (i.e., if someone calls on the phone, don't say you're home alone, etc).
Sir Swears-a-Lot: Notably averted with Harry Lime, given Joe Pesci's previous roles. In fact, they actually had to do at least one retake of a scene with Harry when Pesci actually did manage to let slip a swear word.
Soundtrack Dissonance: In the second film, Andy Williams's "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" plays when the family (sans Kevin) arrives at their hotel in Florida, where it's pouring rain.
Uncle Frank: It didn't look this bad on our honeymoon...
Stupid Crooks: Marv is much more dense than his partner Harry. It was his idea to flood every house they rob as his way of leaving a Calling Card, and when Marv wants to make it clear to cops that he and his partner are the "Wet Bandits," one of his arresting officers makes an observation:
Police Officer: Hey, you know we've been looking for you two guys for a long time. Thanks for leaving the water running; now we know each and every house you guys have hit.
Marv smiles with pride at Harry who shakes his head.
Every crook in a Home Alone film counts, really.
Sure, Let's Go with That: An interesting variation in the first movie, where Kevin tells a man dressed in a Santa suit "I'm old enough to know you're not the real Santa Claus, but I also know that you work for him." The Santa actor just goes with it.
Part of the first movie's central premise is that Kevin *enjoys* being alone and feels like as it is "his house," he must defend it. The cell phone idea assumes that Kevin even has access to a cell phone; many parents do not let children under the age of 12 have one.
Sadly, this is not the case anymore.
Television Geography: In 2, Kevin calls a Limo from The Plaza to be taken to a toy store, which drops him off at Duncan's Toy Chest, a Brand X stand-in for FAO Schwarz (It was even filmed inside). The real FAO Schwarz is right across the street from The Plaza and would be clearly visible from where Kevin got into the car.
Averted in the first movie, where a route from Scranton, PA to Milwaukee, WI would pass right by Chicago, IL without going out of the way.
Tempting Fate: From the second film: "You want to throw bricks? Go ahead; throw another one!" and "You got any more?!" Both of which result in more bricks thrown at Harry and Marv.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: In the first movie, Kevin makes a nice, hot, steaming bowl of mac n' cheese. He brings it to the table, sits down, picks up his knife and fork... and the robbers show up. He promptly leaves it on the table without touching it.
He's seen eating it by the tree later, though.
This Is Unforgivable: Kevin's realization in 2 that Harry and Marv are planning to rob a toy store that intends to donate its proceeds to a children's hospital on Christmas Day.
Kevin:You can mess with a lot of things, but you can't mess with kids on Christmas.
Thousand-Yard Stare: Harry gives a couple of these, once in the first film after slipping off the ice-covered steps and landing on his back, and again in the sequel after falling on a car. Played for Laughs, of course.
Title Drop: In the first movie, the other McCallisters mention that Kevin is "home alone" at least three times. One of his sisters says so at the airport phones, and Kate says it at least twice to people when trying to get home. Harry says it too.
Too Dumb to Live: Both the Bandits have their stupid moments, but especially Marv.
In the second movie Marv opens a door and does not look at the ground before taking a step. In front of him there's a huge gaping hole that nobody with half a brain cell could possibly miss.
Justified, Marv had multiply bricks thrown at his head a few moments before opening the door and falling, and likely wasn't thinking straight.
The hotel staff in the sequel, who decide to chase a kid out of their hotel and into the streets of New York, alone, instead of asking him where he got the credit card and just keeping him until a relative could come and get him. Kevin's mom is understandably upset when she finds out and actually slaps the concierge for being an idiot.
Kate McCallister: What kind of IDIOTS do you have working here?
Two Decades Behind: Kevin's dad claims that locks for the doors and electronic timers for the lights is about the best anyone could do for home security. Even at the time the movie was released, home security systems were available, and an affluent family like the McCallisters would be especially likely to have one.
Two Faced Aside: In 2, Buzz apologizes (insincerely) to the family, then whispers "Beat that, you little trout-sniffer" to Kevin before he tries to do the same...leading to the rant that gets Kevin into trouble in that movie.
Undercrank: Utilized in the first and second films when the families are scrambling to get ready to go to the airport after oversleeping.
If this film were made in 2012, Kevin's parents could have just called him on a cell phone as soon as they discovered he was missing; (His parents discovered he was missing during the flight to Paris. They had to wait until they landed, but were still unable to call the house due to the phone lines being down).
Harry and Marv probably would have never discovered that Kevin was alone at the house (Kevin had fooled them repeatedly into thinking that the house was heavily occupied. It was only after Marv overheard a message from Peter McCallister being recorded onto an answering machine of a neighboring house they were burglarizing that they began to piece together the fact that Kevin was alone in the house and was screwing with them. Answering machines are all but gone today, in favor of private, electronic voicemail, not forgetting that many homes no longer have landline phones anyway.
On top of that, the lax pre-September 11th airport security is on full display as well. Kate McCallister is able to barter a plane ticket off of a fellow traveler right in the terminal; anybody who attempted something like that today would probably be detained on suspicion of being a terrorist.
Or, there's the fact that the McCallisters would have never been able to make it through post-September 11th airport security in time to make their flight in the first place, giving them ample time to discover that Kevin is missing and go back home to get him, preventing the plot of the film from ever unfolding.
We have Frank tell Peter, "There's no way on Earth we're gonna make this plane. It leaves in 45 minutes" before they get in the vans at their house, located in Winnetka. A Google Maps analysis shows that without traffic it is a half-hour drive from 671 Lincoln Avenue to O'Hare International Airport. Given Chicago's expressways are known to be very congested in both directions at rush hour due to the city's reverse-commute nature, the travel time would actually be closer to an hour. The McCallisters would have missed their flight by more than a good hour because of the traffic one would face trying to catch a morning flight, and then adding the time it would take for them to check in, print boarding passes, wait in the security line, clear the security checkpoint, and then make their way through Terminal 3 to their gatenote American Airlines is based out of Terminal 3, along with Delta Airlines. There's a reason why the airlines generally recommend that you arrive at the airport a full 90 minutes before your flight.
Mocked by Honest Trailers, who encourage you to "bundle up and relive the early 1990s joy of Micro Machines, starting lineup figures, Johnny Carson, 35 mm cameras, landline phones, answering machines, pre-9/11 air travel, and Macaulay Culkin."
If "Home Alone" were made today, that could still make for an interesting plot: The McCallisters wake up late due to a power outage, run off to the airport in attempt to still make their flight which they miss due to not being able to get through security and into the terminal in time, discover that Kevin is missing, then go running around the airport and suburban Chicago trying to find him. Fearing the worst, the eventually discover that they simply left him behind at the house by mistake.
This same trope can be applied to Home Alone 2 as well. No way in the post-September 11th world would anyone even consider just letting a kid under age 10 with no boarding pass or parent/guardian around board a fully-booked flight to New York. The film also contains a scene where Kevin visits the World Trade Center.
Even by 1992 standards, that is still a pretty boneheaded move on the airline's part. True, the attendant that let him on the plane did ask him if he saw his father and Kevin said yes after seeing a man from the back who was wearing the same style of coat as his dad was wearing. However, even pre-9/11, the flight attendant would have walked up to the man and said "Excuse me sir, are you this boy's father?"
An even more boneheaded move was letting the McCallisters flight take off with Kevin's unaccompanied baggage, post-Lockerbie.
If anything, the first two "Home Alone" films can be seen as examples of how dramatically our lives have changed due to the September 11th attacks and the advent of cell phones and the internet.
Villain Protagonist / Hero Antagonist: Petr Beaupre and Alex from the third film can also count respectively, as the main focus seems to be the criminals trying to get the chip.
Villains Out Shopping: Marv wanting to go to the Central Park Zoo, while waiting to kill time before the robbery of the toy store.
In the first film, since they're not returning to the house until 9 pm, Harry suggests they grab dinner beforehand.
Villainy-Free Villain: The hotel staff, especially the concierge. He clearly knows Kevin's story about his father being in New York on business is a lie. And, when the hotel staff confront Kevin about the credit card, it was because Kevin had committed credit card fraud by using his father's card without permission. But the concierge is such a smug jerk about finding out all of this that the sympathy still rests with Kevin.
His reaction to finding out an unescorted minor has been committing fraud to stay at the hotel is essentially to chase said minor out onto the streets rather than calling any kind of social services or police.
He told Kevin that he was going to call the police, prompting Kevin to run. He probably did, given that Kevin's family knew where he was staying later on. Though, by that point he probably phoned the police because he thought an armed maniac was living in that room, and only allowed Kevin to run onto the streets because Kevin escaped, and he thought the maniac was a bit of a higher priority.
Would Hurt a Child: Harry and Marv aren't this way at first, but after the hell Kevin puts them through, they understandably want his head on a platter. Especially in the 2nd film, when Harry flat out states that he has no problem "knocking off a youngster". Eventually, the crooks get the drop on Kevin, and Harry puts a gun at Kevin's head, actually coming within a hairsbreadth of pulling the trigger and doing him in once and for all (right before the pigeon lady distracts the crooks by dousing them with birdseed and letting the pigeons do the rest).