Trivia / Home Alone

First Film

  • Actor Allusion:
    • 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!"
    • Old Man Marley, played by Roberts Blossom, is rumored to be a serial killer. Blossom's most notable role prior to this film was the lead role in Deranged: Confessions of a Necrophile as a fictionalized version of serial killer Ed Gein.
  • Actor-Inspired Element: Macaulay Culkin drew the map that Kevin uses to set up the traps.
  • Adored by the Network: Up until they were acquired by HBO, ABC Family 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.
  • Breakthrough Hit: For Chris Columbus as a director.
  • California Doubling: O'Hare International Airport represents itself as well as Charles de Gaulle Airport.
  • 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.
  • Deleted Scene: See 'em here.
  • 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. There's also the fact that, when Macaulay Culkin did a video in 2015 reprising his role as Kevin that parodied the fans' Alternative Character Interpretation that the traumas Kevin suffered through the course of the films turned him into a violent sociopath, Stern quickly made an answer video in-character as Marv.
  • 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.
  • Method Acting: Joe Pesci deliberately avoided Macaulay Culkin on-set, because he wanted Culkin to think he was mean.
  • Missing Trailer Scene:
    • The trailer included an alternate scene with a store manager asking Kevin questions of him shopping alone. In the movie, it's only the cashier asking him questions.
    • It also has a scene of one of Kevin's sisters at the bottom of the stairs saying they're going to be late for the airport, and an audio snippet of a news report about the wet bandits.
  • Orphaned Reference: Though Frank cheaps out on the plane tickets, it's still surprisingly generous of him to pay for everyone to go on vacation to France. Originally, this was because he hired Harry and Marv to rob the house and he wanted everyone out of the way.
  • 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 was the then-wife of cinematography Julio Macat.
    • Several of Chris Columbus' family members made cameos in the film: His mother-in-law and his daughter Eleanor Columbus were passengers on the plane. His wife Monica Devereux-Columbus was a stewardess, and his father-in-law played the Police Officer who gives the line "tell them to count their kids again."
  • 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. 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).
  • Sleeper Hit: No one expected the film to do as well as it did. It became one of the highest grossing films of all time, and it's still in the top fifty when adjusted for inflation.
  • Star-Making Role: For Macaulay Culkin.
  • Technology Marches On:
  • Throw It In:
    • 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.
    • The line, "You guys give up, or are you thirsty for more?" was improvised.
    • Marv's lines, "Why the hell are you dressed like a chicken", and, "Maybe he committed suicide", were improvised by Daniel Stern.
    • Before Old Man Marley saves Kevin from Harry and Marv, Joe Pesci had actually bit one of Macaulay Culkin's fingers, leaving a scar.
  • Typecasting: Be honest, when have you not seen Joe Pesci play a criminal?
  • Unintentional Period Piece:
    • 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; that was still a little questionable even then but at least conceivable (and was a holdover from still earlier eras of air travel where the tickets were more like train or ship tickets) but 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, pre-9/11 air travel 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, though it isn't entirely their fault - if nothing else, there's no way they could have seen post-9/11 air travel becoming the norm.
  • 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.

Second Film

  • Actor Allusion:
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Deleted Scene: A deleted scene featured Kevin having a similar aftershave scene in the Plaza like in the original. Chris Columbus cut the scene for two reasons. The film was already two hours long, and he was afraid that people would accuse this film of being a remake rather than a sequel.
  • Missing Trailer Scene: The trailer showed one of Kevin's traps involving a bunch of tools falling on Harry. The trailer has Harry No-Sell most of the tools (with only a change in expression to show for it), only for a massive wrench to knock him down; in the movie, Harry collapses when the first set of tools fall on him, with the wrench falling as a mere punctuation mark on the scene.
  • The Other Darrin: Maureen Elisabeth Shay replaces Angela Goethals as Linnie McCallister.
  • Real-Life Relative: The hotel operator, with whom Kevin makes a reservation pretending to be his father, is played by Chris Columbus' wife, Monica Devereux, while his daughter is the little girl in the toy store.
  • Unintentional Period Piece:
    • 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.
    • The famous shot of the Twin Towers during the New York montage is a powerful reminder that it was filmed before 2001. In the decade following, that shot was either edited out or kept the movies off airwaves entirely.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • It was originally scripted that Kevin was going to rain down more paint cans down the stairs.
    • At one point, John Candy was going to make a cameo.
  • Working Title: Alone Again.

Third Film

  • Billing Displacement: When ABC Family (now Freeform) showed Home Alone 3, they advertised it like Scarlett Johansson was the star, despite the fact that she was only a minor character in the film and had about 5 to 10 minutes of screen time. To quote one of the trailers "Scarlett Johansson is taking on the bad guys."
  • Box Office Bomb: Budget, $32 million. Box office, $30,882,515 (domestic), $79,082,515 (worldwide).
  • B-Team Sequel: Chris Columbus didn't return as director and John Williams didn't provide the score.
  • Sequel Gap: The film came out five years after the second film. 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.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • In the commentary for the first film, Chris Columbus said that he had planned for the third film to be shot right after the second film, and it would have starred Macaulay Culkin as a teenaged version of Kevin; the idea was scrapped because by then, Macaulay Culkin had already discontinued acting.
    • According to AMC's Story Notes, Joe Pesci once said that his idea for a third film would be Kevin lost in Hawaii, or a beach resort.
    • When Macaulay Culkin declined to reprise his role as Kevin, John Hughes briefly considered writing the screenplay with Harry and Marv targeting Kevin's cousin Fuller, who would be the main character, with Gerry Bamman and Terrie Snell reprising their roles and Fuller's parents Frank and Leslie, respectively, who go on vacation and leave Fuller home alone, to defend himself against Marv and Harry. The idea was scrapped, as Pesci and Stern refused to reprise their roles, and wanted to pursue other projects, and Kieran felt he couldn't follow in his brother's footsteps as the lead. Hughes then wrote an entirely different screenplay with no characters from the first two films.
    • Originally, the screenplay was written with the villains being former partners-in-crime to Marv and Harry, but when Macaulay Culkin and the rest of the first two films' cast declined to have any involvement with this sequel, John Hughes refused to make any reference or connection to the previous installments.

Fourth Film

  • California Doubling: The fourth movie wasn't shot in America at all - this one was filmed in Cape Town.
  • 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.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • If the film was successful? We would've had a TV series about it on ABC Family. Within the film, Kevin's parents didn't get back together in an earlier script. The ending was rewritten in case they ended up making the show.
    • Daniel Stern refused to reprise his role as Marv in the fourth film, saying it was "An insult, total garbage." Day-um. Keep in mind he has A Christmas Story 2 on his résumé.

Fifth Film

  • California Doubling: The movie was not only shot in Manitoba but is the first one not to be set in Chicago (it's in Maine).
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