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 a 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 its 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 Alonenote This also happens in a similar manner in Portugal, albeit without the mail and petitions (because it's easier to complain on Facebook).This series is the Trope Namer and Trope Codifier of "Home Alone" Antics.
This film series contains examples of:
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Entire series (Or, tropes that aren't specific to just one of the movies)
Adults Are Useless: An essential trope here, since each movie is based around a small child outsmarting an array of dim and gullible adults.
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.
Badass Longcoat: In each of the first two films Kevin's mom wears a badass full length overcoat that subtly underscores her Determinator/Mama Bear nature. Likewise, Harry's getup in each film consists of a grungy calf-length overcoat, which along with a thick scarf and a wool beanie, is a nice look for him, despite him being a bumbling crook.
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 and when he gets hit by a brick.
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 movies 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.
Butt Monkey: Harry and Marv, Marv more so. Also, Kevin to his family.
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.
"Remember, if this makes the papers, we're no longer the Wet Bandits, we're the Sticky Bandits!"
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.
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 when he follows a man in the terminal who resembles his dad (and is wearing the same coat) onto the wrong plane. 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.
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.
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.
Kate 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.
Kate:This is CHRISTMAS! The season of perpetual hope! And I don't care if I have to get out on your runway and HITCHHIKE! If it costs me everything I own, if I have to sell my soul to the devil himself, I am going to get home to my son.
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."
The Dragon: At times, Marv acts as this to Harry, especially in the second film.
Peter and Kate's joke that they never lose their luggage. The head of security's reaction says it all.
Kate, Peter and Leslie's reaction when Frank tries to confort them finding out Kevin is home alone by saying he forgot his reading glasses.
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.
Marv was a little reluctant when, Harry decided to break in the house despite Kevin being in there. Though he changes his mind when he gets hurt.
Evil Is Petty: In between big scores, Marv either nicks change from a Salvation Army Santa or leaves the water running in the homes they rob.
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/the pidgeon lady. 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, as 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-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. For a better idea of just how many times they would have been killed before the credits rolled, watch this video.
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.
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.
"Home Alone" Antics: Home Alone is the Trope Namer and Trope Codifier. While the majority of the film is actually about a boy's attempts to live on his own after accidentally being left behind by his parents, and how he manages buying food, tricking people into thinking there are others in the house, and so on, the movie was overwhelmingly remembered for its ending, which consists of the boy setting traps for robbers that are planning to rob his house, and them getting caught in them. The traps only get more violent and extreme in the second movie.
Humiliation Conga: If you're a bad guy, you're definitely going to be on the receiving end of one before the end of the film.
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.
In Name Only: Any of the films after the second one have only tenuous connections to the ones before them. 3 and 5 feature completely different families and antagonists (a group of international criminals working for North Korea in 3 and a trio of thieves in 5.) Home Alone 4 technically has the MacCallisters, but they have little to nothing to do with the MacCallisters from the first 2 movies, nor do any of the new actors look anything like their previous counterparts. Similarly, the Wet Bandits are back (though they're never called that,) but Harry has been replaced with Marv's wife. Also, instead of building his own traps, Kevin just relies on a technologically advanced smart home to thwart them.
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, it must be a genetic trait in the family. Apart from Buzz and Frank, his sister Linnie calls him "les incompetent", and his older siblings Megan and Jeff call him "completely helpless" and "such a disease", respectively. 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.
Leitmotif: Kevin is usually accompanied by an instrumental version of "Somewhere in My Memory". Harry and Marv have their respective leitmotif too which we could call the "Harry and Marv Theme".
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.
This video concludes that in the two films combined, Harry should have died eight times, and Marv thirteen.
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.
Marv's other scream when the pigeons swarm all over him and Harry.
Parent Service: The last 3 films all feature attractive female burglars in skintight pants who have various liquids thrown on them.
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.
Product Placement: Fuller is shown drinking a Pepsi in the first movie, and then drinking a Coca-Cola in the second.
American Airlines is the official airline of the McCallister family and large suburban families nationwide.
The VHS for the first film even contains an AA ad featuring footage from the movie!
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, or I'm gonna 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 Peter's credit card in the second).
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 Cedric 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 Cedric.
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.
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.
The Sociopath: Harry certainly shows enough signs, especially in the second film.
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.
Too Dumb to Live: Both the Bandits have their stupid moments, but especially Marv.
Undercrank: Utilized in the first and second films when the families are scrambling to get ready to go to the airport after oversleeping.
Also gives a straight-ahead one of exasperation when his grocery bags split open on the walk home.
There are two scenes in the movie were Kevin runs directly towards the camera and screams into it. The first is when running around the house screaming for joy at being free. The second is after confronting Old Man Marley when he claimed he wouldn't be afraid anymore.
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.
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 to scare Marv 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?!!!!!!?"
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.
California Doubling: O'Hare International Airport represents itself but is also used to represent Charles de Gaulle Airport.
The Cameo: Several members of director Chris Columbus' family appears: his mother-in-law and his then-infant daughter Eleanor Columbus are both passengers on the plane. His wife Monica Devereux-Columbus is a flight attendant and his father-in-law plays the police officer who gives the line, "Tell them to count their kids again."
Chekhov's Boomerang: The gangster movie that Kevin watches. 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.
You just knew that little tarantula crawling around through the entire movie is going to save Kevin's hide in the end...
The "Angels With Filthy Souls" movie.
The firecrackers from Buzz's room.
A literal one. Buzz's BB gun.
In the first basement scene you can see some mannequins before we see the furnace. Kevin later uses these to fool Harry and Marv into thinking the rest of the family have come home after he first encounters them.
Peter telling Kevin to pick up his micro machines because his Aunt Leslie stepped on one and almost broke her neck. These come back later.
The family took the Friday morning flight, which Kate didn't want to wait for.
Counting to Potato: As the McCallister family wonder about Kevin from Paris, Megan asks Buzz if he's not the least bit concerned about his well being, or something bad happening to him.
Buzz: No, for three reasons: A) I'm not that lucky. 2) We have smoke detectors. And D) We live on the most boring street in the United States of America, where nothing remotely dangerous will ever happen, period.
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.
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".
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, Peter finds it on the floor. That will be hard to explain.
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'."
Hoist by His Own Petard: When the Wet Bandits are finally caught at the end, 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.
The Homeward Journey: Kate goes through great lengths to get back to Chicago to her son, including hitchhiking with a polka band. Subverted in that the rest of the family manages to get back at the same time by waiting for the next available return flight.
It Makes Sense in Context: The hands-on-face scream Kevin became known for; it only happened twice. 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.
Just Plane Wrong: There are several plane scenes that are incorrect if you are an aviation expert.
American Airlines has no morning flight from Chicago-O'Hare to Paris-Charles de Gaulle. Both American Airlines and United Airlines operate O'Hare-Charles de Gaulle flights, and they usually have departure times between 5:30 PM and 7:30 PM CDT, in the evening (which, due to the fact that the planes are then passing through seven time zones, puts them in Paris sometime between 8:30 AM and 10:00 AM local time).
The plane in the scene of the family's flight departing from O'Hare is a McDonnell-Douglas DC-10-10, which actually was flown by American Airlines up until the early 1990s. Except that it was only used for domestic flights due to its limited range of 3,500 miles. There was a long range version used for intercontinental flights, the DC-10-30. The difference is that the DC-10-30 had three main landing gear bogies (two four wheel bogies and one middle two-wheel bogie). It is clearly visible during the takeoff scene that this plane only has two sets of rear landing gear, so it is definitely a DC-10-10 which could have never made the trip from Chicago to Paris.
The stock footage of Kate's flight out of Paris taking off is of a DC-9, which doesn't have the fuel range to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.
The plane shown landing at the Scranton Airport is a DC-10. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Airport has never had regular service from a DC-10 by any airline. The largest planes to land at Scranton are Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s. DC-10s are far too large to be accommodated by the airport for non-emergency situations.
Make a Wish: It's not actually a magically granted wish, but Kevin thinks it is when Kate walks through the front door on Christmas morning.
My Friends... and Zoidberg: 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. 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.
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.
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.
Shoot the Money: You'd be amazed to discover that the movie had an incredibly small budget. A number of the visual effects (such as the B.B. striking Marv in the face) were literally done by a teenager in his parents' basement for only a couple of hundred dollars. John Candy's parts were all filmed at once, nonstop, for 23 hours, because that's all the time the producers could afford to have him on the set. The furnace in the basement was achieved by crewmembers hiding behind it with wire and flashlights. Director Chris Columbus and Macaulay Culkin have both joked that production on this movie was akin to attending "Film School 101". Many critics even agree that had this movie been made a decade or two earlier, it'd pretty much have been a B movie.
Shovel Strike: Old Man Marley dispatches the Wet Bandits with a blow to the head from his snow shovel.
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.
Sure, Let's Go with That: An interesting variation, 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.
Averted , where a route from Scranton, PA to Milwaukee, WI would pass right by Chicago, IL without going out of the way.
Though the estimated travel times to get from the McCallister family house to Chicago O'Hare International Airport are laughable to any native Chicagoan: as they're leaving, Frank tells Peter, "There's no way on Earth we're gonna make this plane. It leaves in 45 minutes." Peter tells him "Think positive, Frank." Indeed, it would take 45 minutes to an hour just to go from Winnetka (their neighborhood) to O'Hare, barring any traffic congestion. And it would take another half hour for everyone to check in, check their bags, and clear security, and maybe five-ten minutes to rush from security to their boarding gate in Terminal 3 (where all American Airlines flights are boarded).
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: 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.
Title Drop: 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.
Two Decades Behind: Peter 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.
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 airport security of the time is on full display as well. Kate 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 get through post-9/11 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.
For a simple answer, this trope is pretty much played straight: director Chris Columbus has said that he and John Hughes wanted very much for Home Alone to have a "timeless" look and feel to it so that ten, fifteen, twenty, etc. years down the line, it could still be viewed and enjoyed by people and it not seem "dated". Unfortunately, this wasn't the case.
Villains Out Shopping: Since they're not returning to the house until 9 pm, Harry suggests they grab dinner beforehand.
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
The Alleged Car: The car Harry lands on top of, which smashes into a million pieces as if Harry was a five-ton statue.
Ash Face: 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.
Kevin uses Peter'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 Peter yell out "KEVIN!! YOU SPENT $967 ON ROOM SERVICE?!!!!!?"
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 the sidewalk, Marv attempts to get revenge on him by tossing a brick at him.
Bumbling Sidekick: Marv is this to Harry and Cedric the bellboy is this to Mr. Hector, the concierge.
California Doubling: 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.
Clothing Damage: Harry's coat collar is charred after he soaks his burning head in a toilet filled with kerosene, blowing the house up.
Credit Card Plot: Kevin uses Peter's credit card while on his own. At the end, it's revealed that he spent almost $1000 on room service alone.
Curse Cut Short: Twice; the first is when the elevator Kevin is on shuts just before Mr. Hector can finish calling him a "little shit"; the second is when Buzz is about to drop off another instance of the S-bomb, only to be cut off by a Death Glare from Kate.
Darker and Edgier: Compared to the first movie, this 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.
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.
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.
Flanderization: Harry is a lot meaner and grouchier and Marv dumber and sillier.
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.
Friendship Trinket: Kevin gives the Pigeon Lady (whom he had befriended earlier on in the movie, and even saved him from Marv & Harry's clutches) another Turtle Dove Ornament. Said act is rumored that if one person gives a very special person another Turtle Dove, the 2 who have the turtle dove ornaments will always be friends
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 silly for inadvertently endangering her son.
Four-Temperament Ensemble: The hotel staff: Mr. Hector is choleric, Mrs. Stone is melancholic, and Cedric the bellboy is phlegmatic/sanguine.
Freudian Excuse: Harry reveals that he "never made it to the sixth grade" implying he had a rough upbringing.
Of course, that could just mean that he was a slacker who deliberately flunked out of school, or that he was such a discipline problem that he was expelled from school. He doesn't seem like the type who'd have wanted to finish school anyway.
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.
Kevin: Don't you know a kid always wins against two idiots?
Ham-to-Ham Combat: Harry and Marv during the brief scene 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).
Heartwarming Orphan: 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.
Hollywood Healing: 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.
Screen Junkies analysed the first two films to see the real life injuries that Kevin's traps would have caused; Harry and Marv would have been killed 9 and 14 times respectively.
Inspector Javert: The hotel concierge 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.
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. 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.
Match Cut: 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 Mr. Hector making a similar smile after catching Kevin using a stolen credit card.
Mickey Mousing: The orchestra plays three stings when Kevin dials each of the numbers in 911.
Missed Him by That Much: 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.
Non-Fatal Explosions: 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, one most egregious instances being Harry surviving an explosion after sticking his burning head in a kerosene-filled toilet and Marv getting hit with three bricks dropped from a four story height. Likewise, the pigeons should have picked them both clean of skin.
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).
Recycled IN SPACE!: Home Alone 2 was basically exactly the same movie as Home Alone, just set in New York. Even the scary neighbor got a direct counterpart.
This was even lampshaded by Harry, who mentioned that Kevin threw two paint cans the last time they tried to climb up a flight of stairs, and saw it coming. Unfortunately for them, the second time around, a sewer pipe followed immediately afterward.
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.
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...
Television Geography: 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.
Tempting Fate: "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.
This Is Unforgivable: Kevin's realization 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.
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 multiple bricks thrown at his head a few moments before opening the door and falling, and likely wasn't thinking straight.
The hotel staff, 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. Kate is understandably upset when she finds out and actually slaps the concierge for being an idiot.
Kate: What kind of IDIOTS do you have working here?
Two Faced Aside: 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.
No way in today's 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.
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 before the hijackings of 2001, 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 (though we don't know if Kevin's baggage was checked to Miami as part of someone else's checked bags).
Villains Out Shopping: Marv wanting to go to the Central Park Zoo, while waiting to kill time before the robbery of the toy store.
Villainy-Free Villain: The hotel staff, especially Mr. Hector. 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 Mr. Hector 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 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).
X-Ray Sparks: In a rare real-life version, Marv uses a sink to wash off the paint Kevin spilled on him... except Kevin hooked up the taps to an electric arc welder. While shaking and screaming in agony, Marv actually is replaced by a skeleton puppet. When Kevin turns the juice off, Marv is back and collapses on the ground, shaking and smoking.
Cassandra Truth: The spies escape before the police arrive, resulting in a lecture that, "False alarms are no joking matter".
Chekhov's Gun: The pet parrot and rat were clearly there to assist Alex in his battle against the spies.
Darker and Edgier: Taken to whole new levels. The new villains aren't petty house robbers, they're part of a terrorist organisation! Alice actually ties Mrs. Hess 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.
Parental Obliviousness: 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.
Rear Window Witness: Alex is home sick from school and witnesses the burglary of a neighbor's home, but can't get anyone to believe him.
Rule of Perception: Beaupre 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.
Continuity Reboot: This 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.