Since I knew I would be traveling over the weekend and I wasn’t interested in the new Star Wars film anyway, I went to a children’s showing of this now-classic holiday movie at the local art house last weekend.
The plot is this: Eight-year-old Kevin McCallister, the youngest child in a large family, can’t seem to do anything right. His older brother calls him a “phlegm wad.” “You’re what the French call les incompetent,” says his sister. A cousin says, “Kevin, you’re such a disease.” The adults treat him like a nuisance. Kevin resents every bit of it.
The movie opens on an evening when Kevin’s family has been joined by his uncle’s family, and the house is full to bursting. All are preparing for an 8 a.m. flight to France for the Christmas holiday. Because he doesn’t want to sleep with his cousin Fuller, a notorious bed-wetter, Kevin is sent to sleep alone in the attic.
In the hustle and bustle the next morning, his relatives leave without him. This sounds improbable, but it’s carried off reasonably well.
When Kevin wakes to an empty house, he’s surprised and then delighted. “I made my family disappear!” he exults. He binges on junk food, watches whatever he likes on television, pokes around in his brother’s room and basks in his solitude.
Meanwhile his family is flying over the Atlantic. About the time his parents realize they have left their baby behind, Kevin notices that a pair of bungling burglars are casing the family home.
While his mother struggles mightily to get back to take care of her son, Kevin demonstrates that he’s a very resourceful young person, and he also learns that he really does miss his family. Hilarity ensues, and of course things work out nicely in the end.
Except for the over-upholstered appointments in the McAllister family home, everything about this movie has aged nicely. Children always enjoy watching comedies in which kids outwit grownups. So do adults, who have childhood memories of their own.
The movie showing was well-received by the theater audience. The only exception I noticed was a toddler who was too young to see much humor in the idea of parents abandoning a child. The next time she sees the movie, she’ll have a wonderful time.
I spoke the other day about Nashville’s music culture. What I realized only later was that the film I attended must have been scheduled to precede a symphony event. This week, the Nashville Symphony and Chorus will present an HD broadcast of “Home Alone” while performing a specially adapted musical score.
The project was initiated in Nashville and gained the cooperation of film’s director and producers. John Williams, the five-time Oscar winner who composed the “Home Alone” score, proclaimed himself “delighted” with project.
Think of it. If you had a child who was a music student, you could take him or her to see the movie and, several days later, to see it again with all the oomph that an orchestral accompaniment would add. Seems like a great idea to me.