YMMV: Home Alone

  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Is Marv somehow actually dumber in the 2nd film (possibly due to the head injuries he sustained in the first film and/or additional head injuries he sustained in prison), or is he drunk?
    • Is Kevin a good kid simply trying to defend his home, or are his actions a sign that due severe neglect from his family, coupled with the trauma of being left behind (twice), he's on the verge of becoming a violent sociopath?
      • Word of God has it this is exactly what John Hughes originally wanted to do with the third movie (had 20th Century Fox allowed 3 to be filmed immediately after 2).
  • Awesome Music: For the first two movies, two words - John Williams. Especially the Nutcracker Suite-type music for the family racing to the airport and the cue for Kevin laying the traps.
  • Base Breaker: Uncle Frank is an Ensemble Darkhorse for some, and The Scrappy for others.
  • Contested Sequel: Although every movie after 2 can count, 3 is easily the most contested- some, like Roger Elbert, consider it the strongest movie, others like The Nostalgia Critic loathe it. Then you have a middle ground, who concede that it's still a good movie and the main actor is pretty good, but not as strong as the Kevin movies.
  • Critical Dissonance: Despite being box office successes, the first 2 films have received mixed reviews from critics.
  • Designated Villain: Natalie in Home Alone 4. We're supposed to hate her just because she's rich, is dating the dad after he divorced the mom, and doesn't want her Christmas ruined. The only "bad" thing she does is overworking Prescott, which we never actually see
    • Averted with the hotel concierge in "Home Alone 2". He is depicted as a bad guy from the get-go just for being suspicious of Kevin when, in fact, he and the rest of the hotel staff have every right to be wary of a ten-year-old checking into a four-star hotel by himself. So that's why the second film has him cross into actual bad guy territory by sneaking into Kevin's hotel room to spy on him while he showers, scaring him by threatening to call the police instead of kindly asking Kevin why the credit card is reported as stolen, and generally behaving as though he's eager to catch Kevin out of spite.
  • Ear Worm: "Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas! Sing the song for the glorious season! Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas! Sing the song for a Happy New Year!"
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Harry and Marv, obviously.
    • The hotel concierge. Partly for being played by Tim Curry and for being the center in many funny scenes, particularly the shower prank.
    • Gus Polinski. Even people who don't like the film enjoy John Candy's performance.
    • Uncle Frank. His jerkassery is often played for laughs and he has many memorable scenes in both films.
    • Jimmy, the stock boy at the pharmacy. He's on screen ten seconds tops but is widely remembered for being told to "Stop that boy!" and his one line: "Hey! Hey! Shoplifter!"
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop:
    • If home invaders encroach upon your property, do be sure to phone the police, but not until they've made it past all your traps that could have bought you enough time for the police to arrive.
    • The second movie seems to imply that being a parent makes it okay to forget the lessons they learn as well as to lecture their youngest son about being a pest, expecting them to learn about being respectful, while never even noticing that they themselves are part of the problem. It's no wonder Kevin acted the way he did, in both this movie and in the first one.
      • Also from Part 2: If you're marooned in a strange city, don't go to the police station! Go to an expensive hotel. And if you overhear some crooks planning a robbery, alert the cops by smashing the store window while the robbery is taking place to set off the alarm. To be fair, he had to set off the alarm quickly to stop Harry and Marv from stealing all that charity money, and he did tape an apology note addressed to Mr. Duncan to the rock before throwing it.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: The fourth and fifth movies, universally agreed on there. The third film also gets this to an extent, though not as much as the fourth.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The first film is so popular in Poland that watching it has become a cultural tradition during Christmas. This is largely because due to it being one of the first Western films shown in the country and it being released at around the same time that Lech Walesa was elected President, the Polish population has come to associate it with the fall of Communist rule.
  • Genre Turning Point: This made family-oriented film-making a much more attractive proposition for studios, in tandem with the animation revival the previous year's The Little Mermaid inspired.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In the second movie, there are two brief scenes during the montage of Kevin exploring NYC that are uncomfortable nowadays: One has Kevin walking between the Twin Towers, and another has him taking pictures on top of one of the World Trade Centers. Even if it doesn't make one uncomfortable or sad, it definitely dates the movie.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In the first movie, the family remarks on their tab for the pizza they ordered: ten pizzas, twelve bucks each... ironically in this day and age (taking price hikes and inflation into consideration), twelve bucks is essentially what you pay now for a delivery pizza (depending on the chain).
  • Ho Yay: Nothing graphic, but you might say that Harry and Marv bicker like an old married couple, and you might also note that (aside from the made for TV sequel, which ignores continuity in many ways, and removes Harry from the story) neither of the thieves mentions having a girlfriend or a wife (Harry wears a wedding ring, but this could be handwaved as his wife being dead or in jail, or as the ring being stolen). This would also explain why Harry puts up with Marv, since he is certainly not the brains of the operation and not much use for brawn either, being defeated by a child.
    • Marv does go "Well, hello!" to the woman who gets her skirt pulled by Kevin in the second movie, but he could be bi.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Harry is a hot-tempered burglar who tries to bite off Kevin's fingers in the first film and tries to shoot Kevin in Central Park in the second film but considering all the sadistic and nasty things Kevin does to him(and Marv), especially in the second film, few people wouldn't feel sorry for him.
    • The concierge in the second film, meanwhile, is a little overeager to bust Kevin for "credit-card fraud" and is an all-around smarmy jerk but watching him get outsmarted and humilated by Kevin, and later slapped in the face by Kevin's mother, makes him pitiable.
    • The thieves in the third movie have valuable excuse to get back the chip. If they fail their boss will have all of 'em killed.
    • The criminals in the fifth movie, especially Sinclair who has a valid reason for wanting to steal the painting.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Many of the people are watching the series mainly only because of the traps at the second half of the film.
  • Love to Hate: Harry and Marv. Yes, they're bad guys, but they completely steal the show.
  • Memetic Molester: Uncle Frank, especially in the deleted "Frank's Yank" scene.
    • Harry for some people.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • KEVIN!!!!
    • Marv's girly scream was the basis for a popular YTMND fad. Sites with unsuspecting titles would reveal itself with Marv's spider scream turned up to speaker-shattering levels. The name of the fad? "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA"
    • And of course, Kevin's hands-on-cheeks scream, which is apparently a must for any Home Alone parody.
      • Kevin screaming in general qualifies.
    • Keep the change, you filthy animal!
    • Harry, I've reached the top !!
    • LOOK WHAT YA DID, YOU LITTLE JERK!
      • GET OUTTA HERE, YOU NOSY LITTLE PERVERT, OR I'M GONNA SLAP YOU SILLY!
    • At the time of the third movie's release, kids all across America were saying, "Do not - I repeat - do not draw attention to yourself" at the drop of a hat.
    • Harry's incoherent sputters of rage every time he suffers a mishap at Kevin's hands. Basically what happens when you put Joe Pesci in a PG film.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Harry and Marv in Home Alone 2. They intend to steal money from a kid's charity and tries to shoot Kevin when they capture him and the pigeon lady when she intervenes.
    • Uncle Frank during the fiasco at the Christmas pageant in the second movie. Even if you did find Buzz's behavior funny and can't help but laugh with the majority of the audience, you might stop once you realize that after the poor pianist is hit with a piece of scenery and falls off the stage back-first, piano stool and all, we can see Frank pointing and laughing at her as well.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: The Angry Video Game Nerd lampshades these two video games based on the first two films, in two separate reviews. One time the Nerd sees in the first NES game review on Home Alone that Kevin McCallister moonwalks, and says, "He must have spent way too much time with Michael Jackson."
    • The Game Grumps have played the SNES version of the game - which really isn't much better.
    • And on that note, JonTron made a video about the franchise's tendency to have this trope there.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Buzz at the end of the second film, considering that he was the one to acknowledge the fact that it was because of Kevin that the McCallister family is able to have a hotel room full of wonderful Christmas presents and insists that Kevin opens the first one.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • Rooting for the Empire: Admit it. Some of you wouldn't have minded so much if Marv had conked Kevin with that brick in 2.
    • Sinclair and his team in the fifth film, not only are they all Affably Evil Jerkass Woobies, but Sinclair actually has a valid reason for wanting to steal the painting.
  • The Scrappy: Almost nobody likes Uncle Frank. He's a Jerkass that mooches off of his brother, but what really made viewers hate him was when he called Kevin a "little jerk."
  • Sequelitis: While the third film was relatively decent (for some), the fourth and fifth (To an extent) were just plain bad.
  • So OK It's Average: The third and fifth movies.
  • Spiritual Licensee: If this Cracked.com article is any indication, it's basically a kid-friendly Die Hard.
  • Stoic Woobie: Marv
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: While it still wasn't on the same level as the first two films, the fifth Home Alone film is a noticable improvement over the fourth, actually feeling like a Home Alone film.
  • Tear Jerker: After his encounter with "Santa," Kevin walks by a house and sees a family enjoying Christmas together, causing him to stare at them longingly. And all while "Somewhere In My Memory" plays in the background.
  • They Just Didn't Care: Or, more accurately, they cared about the wrong things. Since Home Alone 4 was meant to lead into a TV series, the focus was on setting that up rather than being a faithful sequel to the first two films. As a result, most of the subplots go nowhere (since the family has to get back together at the end), and Kevin and his siblings had to be cast with very young actors who could be kept for several seasons of the show.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Kevin in the sequel, who confronts Harry and Marv head-on again, knowing that they are armed and want him dead, instead of staying safe and calling the cops. Of course, if he had done that, the movie would've been a whole lot shorter and more boring.
    • Sort of justified in that he was afraid that he would be summarily arrested for credit card fraud. Considering that he is summarily assigned 100% of the blame for two incidents by his parents over the course of two films, with no opportunity to have his side of things heard, how could he have expected the police to act otherwise?
  • Unfortunate Implications: Given how downright lethal many of the booby traps are, the series almost seems to be claiming that horrible violence is ok so long as it's against the right people.
  • 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, pre-9/11 world of the early 1990s that they would be largely improbable in the 21st century.
    • Home Alone
      • 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 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 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 . 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.
    • Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
      • 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).
  • Values Dissonance: The scene with the airport clerk in the first film. If you're a parent, you're likely to side with the mother worried over her son and having to deal with the incompetence of someone trying to follow procedure when there are important personal things at stake. In contrast, if you've ever worked with the public, Kevin's mother berating, interrupting, and screaming at the clerk who's only trying to do his job in an unusual and tense situation is uncomfortable to watch. Especially if you're an airline employee who has worked either at a check-in counter or as a gate attendant, and have dealt with this issue.
  • Wangst: Harry at times, especially in the second film.
  • What an Idiot:
    • In the sequel, Marv stealing many things in broad daylight, swiping coins from a sidewalk Santa's coin tray. He doesn't get caught, but considering he just broke out of prison, he might want to be a little more careful.
      • Harry does point this out, though Marv responds by giving the duo their new nickname; Harry does not look impressed.
    • In the first, after falling on the broken glass, he then walks on it instead of simply clearing the way.
    • Remember, Marv is the one that pushed for the "Wet Bandits" motif in the first movie. After being arrested, a cop jokingly thanks him for that, saying, "Now we know which houses you hit."
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: Was there any legitimate reason to cast French Stewart as Marv in the fourth movie?
  • The Woobie:
    • Kevin, so much at the beginning of each movie.
    • Marv and Harry, although the latter is more of a Jerkass Woobie(while the former is a Stoic Woobie).
    • Old Man Marley in the first film and the Pigeon Lady in the second.
    • Alex in the third movie, so very, very much.