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Home Alone: Family Fun Edition

Genre: , ,

Cast: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, Catherine O'Hara, John Heard

Director: Chris Columbus

Rated: PG

Review By:
Michael Dance

NYU Tisch '07

"...And hey, I met you. You are not cool." -Almost Famous

Release Date: November 21st, 2006
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Overall Grade: A

Home Alone: Family Fun Edition

Review By: Michael Dance

Home Alone: Family Fun Edition

There's a line in Kevin Smith's Dogma in which the angel Serendipity (Salma Hayek) explains she was the muse for nineteen of the top twenty grossing films of all time. Only nineteen? "Yeah, the one about the kid, by himself in his house, burglars trying to get in and he fights them off? I had nothing to do with that one. Somebody sold their soul to Satan to get the grosses up on that piece of s—."

Kevin Smith, I hope that was just a joke. Because if not, you fail to realize the utter brilliance of the tour-de-force that is Home Alone.

I'm serious. Nothing gets me in the Christmas mood more than the sound of John Williams' familiar score and a couple of criminals getting the crap kicked out of them. I remember some critics called the movie to task for being too violent upon its release, but apparently, as a kid I wasn't maladjusted enough to repeat what I saw in the movie and drop a hot iron on someone's face. No, instead I just remember laughing hysterically.

We've all seen the movie, but indulge me for a bit here. Remember Buzz? "Don't you know how to knock, Phlegm Wad?" How about Old Man Marley? Or the pinnacle of genius: the movie-within-the-movie Angels with Filthy Souls. "I'm gonna give you to the count of ten to get your ugly, yellow, no-good keister off my property, before I pump your guts full of lead! One — two — ten!" (In fact, my older sister and I used to have that entire scene memorized, and would perform it for relatives.)

Yes, as you can see, I have a bit of a history with this movie, which is perhaps why I was so excited to see that a brand-new DVD edition is coming out just in time for the holidays: Home Alone: Family Fun Edition. In addition to the movie, we're treated to a host of special features, including mini-documentaries, commentaries, and games.

A vintage 1990 press featurette is kind of fun since it was made before Home Alone the movie became Home Alone the half-a-billion-dollars phenomenon. (Worldwide, it made 533.8 million dollars off of a 15 million dollar budget.) There's also a charming "Mac Cam" feature, which consists of star Macaulay Culkin running around set with a video camera, conducting "interviews" with some of the other child actors and director Chris Columbus.

Additionally, all the special feature staples are here: a making-of that runs about twenty minutes, deleted scenes, and a blooper reel.

More noteworthy is the commentary, which reunites Columbus and Culkin. After some rocky post-Richie Rich years, involving his apparently psychotic mangager/father's custody and monetary battles, Culkin is on surer footing these days. He's twenty-six and has

appeared in a few well-received indies like Saved. He comes across well in the commentary, and Columbus reveals a few nice tidbits "” turns out Culkin's stunt double was a thirty-year-old man.

Also included is a short "Where's Buzz Now?" featurettes that has the cast ruminating on where the character would be today. It ends on a bit of an awkward note, though, as we see the actor who played him has grown up into a three-hundred pound man.

There are a few games, which I never think translate well to DVD but kids might enjoy for a little while. The only feature that feels like it was truly heavy padding is "Home Alone Around the World". The idea is that the movie is universal and you can tell what's being said in different languages"¦so all it does is show a few clips dubbed over in foreign languages. Please introduce me to whoever thought that was a clever idea.

Overall it's a solid package, and I'm impressed with the amount of cast and crew they got to come back and do interviews (mostly everyone except Catherine O'Hara and Joe Pesci). And even if special features aren't your thing, its hard to beat the movie itself in terms of comedy and old-fashioned feel-good holiday joy. If you're a big Home Alone fan like me and you don't own a copy, this is a good place to start. And if you have kids who haven't experienced it yet"¦do them a favor and watch this with them come December.

Oh, I forgot to mention the best special feature included"¦the entire scene from Angels with Filthy Souls, uninterrupted. Now my sister and I (we're now 24 and 21, respectively) can perform the dialogue all over again.

Movie Grade: A
DVD Grade: A-
Overall Grade: A

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