It’s Sunday night and I’m chilling, finished some pizza and of course, watching “Home Alone.” I have always loved this film! I was just posting to my Facebook that watching Daniel Stern scream like a little girl when the tarantula is on his face is absolutely priceless. He’s a real funny actor anyway, but he was great in this film, alongside Joe Pesci.
If for some crazy reason you haven’t seen this film, I highly recommend it. First, there’s all the fun physical comedy done by Pesci and Stern. They were a great duo. Second, Macaulay Culkin was the cutest kid and really fun to watch. He had such potential. Being a kid star really isn’t what it’s cracked up to be if you ask me. Anyway, I digress. There’s also the fact that it’s fun to watch a couple of small time crooks get outwitted by an 8-year-old.
The biggest thing about it though is the lesson learned. The premise of the movie is that Kevin (Culkin) is left home alone after his family mistakenly left him when they rushed to get to the airport for their flight to Paris for the holidays. Naturally, at his age the first thing he does is just have a ton of fun and plays around. Who else would use a sled to go down a flight of stairs and out the front door? I kind of wanted to try that until I grew up enough to be too scared to do something like that. It’s unfortunate. I’m sure it’s a blast… even if not all that safe.
This fun bit only lasts for so long because, as it would turn out, the two crooks are eyeballing Kevin’s house. The more they start coming around and threatening to burglarize the home, Kevin finds it’s his job to step up and protect it. He’s scared, naturally, and in this whole process learns that he really does need and even likes his family. Yes, certain members of his family are just as much of a nuisance to him as he is to them for various reasons, but he still loves them. He even shows he’s wise beyond his years by helping a neighbor get back in touch with his son after a long lasting fight.
It’s a John Hughes film (you know… “Sixteen Candles,” “Weird Science,” etc.). Yes it’s a little hokey but it’s right on the money. There’s no better time to be reminded of how much we love our crazy, whacked out families than during the holidays, Merry December. Family can truly drive you nuts at times, trust me, I know. In the end though, if we were to wake up one morning and every last one of our family members were gone, it would be shocking. Yes at first we may celebrate, but in the end, who would be there to comfort us? To help us in our times of need, etc.? Shoot, who would we pick on and fight with? Life would be so boring without them. There are some individual family members who we may be better without, but generally speaking, family is an important part of our lives. While appreciating our crazy families shouldn’t be just to the holidays, it’s still a good time to think about the good things our families do for us. For me, I am always grateful and am always reminded of how great my family is for me.
On the lighter side of things, I want to make note of the usefulness of film. My friend Kenneth is always making the comments that pop culture is an influence on us and it can be. That doesn’t mean it always have to be a bad thing. The message in “Home Alone” may be wrapped in funny, but the real message is clear. That no matter how much family may drive us nuts and sometimes we wish we were alone, we really don’t. It becomes too lonely and we’d be lacking love and the fun times. Holiday movies can do this for us. They can help to remind us that the holidays aren’t just about gifts, malls, crazy shoppers who get into stun gun fights, etc. Taking a quick time out to see a movie with a message can be a polite way of reminding us of the things that are most important to us, even if we forget for a moment or two.
Hallmark movies tend to be too ewwy gooey and over the top unrealistic (though I must admit to liking a few here and there because who doesn’t like to hope?). I do like the ultimate goal though… which is to do just that… provide a little hope and to remember what life is really about, which isn’t about material things. It’s the things we can’t buy at a store or online that means the most. It’s a small gesture from a stranger like a simple smile, that help us get through the day. As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing wrong with getting a gentle reminder of this from the occasional flick. This is not to say that we should assume what Hollywood is feeding is absolute truth or stop making our own decisions. No, that would be a bad idea. Movies are just that – fiction. However, those stories do come from somewhere and people sometimes do have lives that play out like a movie (they’re probably in the minority but still… it happens). It’s just not healthy to rely on a movie trick.
Being “merry” and remembering what the holidays are all about can come in all different sizes and shapes (just like people… go figure). It can happen when we least expect it to and that’s okay. The important part is to remember the real reasons behind the season. For Christian based religions, this happens to be the birth of Christ and all He’s done for us. It’s also important to remember He would want us to pay it forward, so to speak. Being kindly to each other is how the world will heal and improve.