Trivia / Home Alone

  • Actor Allusion:
    • In Home Alone, Harry and Marv's van says "Oh-Kay Plumbing and Heating", an allusion to Joe Pesci's character, Leo Getz, in the Lethal Weapon sequels, whose favorite catchphrase is "Okay, okay!"
    • As the hotel concierge (played by Tim Curry) flees from the hotel room in the second movie when he is threatened by a recording of Kevin's uncle, the recording says "Oh, you're cooking, Frankie!", which is an allusion to Curry's previous role as Dr. Frank N. Furter from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
    • Another possible allusion is that Kevin used an inflatable clown as a decoy and put it in the shower. This could be a reference to Tim Curry's earlier role as Pennywise.
  • Adored by the Network: Up until they were acquired by HBO, Freeform often ran the first two movies during 25 Days of Christmas.
  • Author Phobia: Chris Columbus' biggest fear as a kid was burglars. It's part of why he wanted to make this movie.
  • Awesome, Dear Boy: Why John Williams did the score. FOX passed it along to Williams when looking for a composer, but the crew felt they didn't have a shot to nab the biggest composer in movies to score their moderately-budgted holiday movie. Williams loved the rough cut of the movie and agreed to do the score, while offering him an opportunity to go outside his usual fare with a more Christmas-tinged soundtrack.
  • Box Office Bomb: 3. Budget, $32 million. Box office, $30,882,515 (domestic), $79,082,515 (worldwide).
  • California Doubling: In the first film, O'Hare International Airport represents itself as well as Charles de Gaulle Airport. In the second film, 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. The fourth movie wasn't shot in America at all - this one was filmed in Cape Town. The fifth movie was not only shot in Manitoba but is the first one not to be set in Chicago (it's in Maine).
  • Colbert Bump: The Drifters' version of "White Christmas" was featured in the first movie and has enjoyed greater prominence than its original release in 1954. Likewise, the second version featured "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" by Johnny Mathis, leading to increased requests to hear it on radio stations during the holidays ever since.
  • Completely Different Title: In Latin America, the Spanish countries got "My Poor Little Angel" and Brazil "They Forgot Me" (the latter admittely works, even in the sequel where Kevin's not at home). France and Italy went for a literal synopsis, "Mom, I Missed the Plane".
  • The Danza:
    • Catherine O'Hara as Kate McCallister in the first two films.
    • Alex D. Linz as Alex Pruitt in the third.
  • Dawson Casting: Minor example, but Kevin is 8 in the first film and 10 in the second, while Macaulay Culkin was actually 10 while making the first and 12 while filming the second.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Dueling Movies: With Disney's The Rescuers Down Under, which opened the same day and had John Candy in it just like Home Alone. Home Alone prevailed, leading Disney chief Jeffrey Katzenberg to shut down his studio's marketing campaign and blowing up their attempt to continue the Rescuers franchise (though both films did well on VHS later).
  • Enforced Method Acting
    • Joe Pesci avoided Macaulay Culkin onset, because he wanted Culkin to think he was mean.
    • Daniel Stern was required to have a live tarantula on his face when the prop one wasn't working. His look of terror was completely real (the scream, however, was dubbed, as it would have frightened the spider).
  • I Am Not Spock: Macaulay Culkin is now forever associated with this role. In the commentary, he acknowledged it as both a blessing and a curse.
  • The Other Darrin: Daniel Stern refused to go near the script of the fourth film, so Marv is played by French Stewart. And he's also dressed like Harry, for some reason.
    • And, of course, the entire McCallister family is played by different actors.
      • Linnie McCallister was actually played by two different actresses, one in each of the first two films.
  • Real-Life Relative:
    • Kevin's younger cousin Fuller is Macaulay Culkin's little brother Kieran.
    • The elf that Kevin meets before talking to Fake Santa in the first movie, and the New York airport desk clerk in the second movie was the then-wife of cinematography Julio Macat.
    • A few of director Chris Columbus's relatives also appear in the first two movies as extras.
  • Sequel Gap: Home Alone 3 came out five years after Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House came out five years after 3. Those two are downplayed compared to the ten-year gap in between Home Alone: The Holiday Heist and 4.
  • Shoot the Money: You'd be amazed to discover that the first 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.
  • 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).
  • Star-Making Role: For Macaulay Culkin.
  • Technology Marches On:
  • Throw It In/Enforced Method Acting:
    • Catherine O'Hara forgot her lines in the airplane scene where she realized that they left Kevin home alone. The iconic shouting of Kevin's name was her attempt to salvage the take. They not only ended up using the take, but the "Kevin!" shout became forever linked to the film series.
    • The conversation with the checkout lady and Kevin in the first was improvised. The director didn't say 'Cut', so the actress kept asking him questions and Culkin went along with it.
    • Gus Polinsky's story about he and his wife leaving their kid at a funeral parlor all day long was completely ad-libbed by John Candy; matter of fact, many of the moments between he and Catherine O'Hara saw a lot of ad-libbing, as both are SCTV alumni.
    • The car belonging to the Santa actor actually does stall on camera as he attempts to drive it away.
    • Before Old Man Marley saves Kevin from Harry and Marv, Joe Pesci had actually bit one of Macaulay Culkin's fingers, leaving a scar.
  • Type Casting: Be honest, when have you not seen Joe Pesci play a criminal?
  • Unintentional Period Piece: As any keen viewer will point out today, the plots of the first two Home Alone films are so strongly reliant on the analog world of the early 1990s that they would be largely improbable in the 21st century.
    • Home Alone
      • If this film were made in The New Tens, 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). And nowadays, people could use the alarms on their smartphones to wake them up in time. While a phone can't recharge without electricity, its internal battery wouldn't be affected by a power outage.
      • 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 the Murphy house while they were burglarizing it that they began to figure out 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 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 suburb of Chicago. Without traffic, it's a half-hour drive from 671 Lincoln Avenue to O'Hare International Airport. Not only are Chicago's expressways are known to be very congested in both directions at rush hour due to the city's reverse-commute nature, but the airport would be even more crowded because they were catching a flight close to Christmas. Even if the McCallisters somehow didn't hit any traffic, they'd still have to check in, print their boarding passes, wait in the security line, clear the security checkpoint, and then make their way through Terminal 3 to their gatenote . Factor in all of that, and they'd have missed their flight by almost two hours by the time they got to the gate. 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, and Macaulay Culkin."
      • 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.
    • Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
      • Similar to the original film, the McCallister family is once again late for the airport, and once again just barely makes it. While the fact they're taking airport shuttles allows them some leeway in not needing to find parking, it still comes with all of the same problems of the original film when comparing it to today's airport security. Also, the reason Kevin accidentally boards the wrong flight is that he's insistent on reloading the batteries in his tape recorder, and mixes up his dad for someone else. These days, Kevin would probably just use a similar feature included with most smartphones, and not need a separate device.
      • No way in today's world would anyone even consider just letting a kid under age 10 without a parent/guardian around board a fully booked flight to New York. 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).
      • There's no way that the Plaza Hotel would just buy Kevin's story about his dad being on a business trip, and then let him check into their hotel with a credit card that Kevin openly admitted wasn't his. While the card really did belong to Kevin's father, he was still illegally using it; in today's world, Kevin would have been arrested almost immediately.
  • What Could Have Been:
  • Word of Saint Paul: When Devin Ratray was asked what happened to Buzz later in life, he said he probably went to prison.
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