Alphabetical Movie – Home Alone
My friends, I submit to you that Home Alone is not a lighthearted romp about an eight year old boy who defends his home from burglars when he is left alone.
The film, is in fact, a display of the worst conceivable parenting known to humankind or, possibly, something much more sinister.
I’m not just talking about the fact that his parents forgot him. That, in itself, is nearly unforgivable. What they did before they left him behind, however, and what they did once they had done so is very nearly as bad. The entire film is a crash course in how to accidentally cause the death of one of your children.
Were it not for a timely freeze, some micro-machines and the intervention of a creepy old man (who wasn’t so creepy), the family would have arrived home to find their house robbed and their youngest son most likely missing. His fate would have been discovered when their neighbors returned home to find a flooded basement grimly guarded by Kevin’s mutilated corpse hanging on the door.
And it would have been his parents’ fault.
Let’s look at the facts shall we?
The situation begins in the family home where dinner has just been delivered. While there are thirteen people in the house, apparently only one plain cheese pizza has been ordered and by the time the eight year old arrives in the kitchen, it is all gone.
So we have already discovered that Kevin’s family are inconsiderate jerks. Not a one of them thought that Kevin only ate cheese pizza or that they ought to leave a slice or two for him. In fact, it seems entirely likely that Buzz was aware that Kevin preferred cheese pizza and he ate it anyway.
I confess that by this point, I’d already pegged Buzz as a borderline sociopath whom his parents probably should have had committed for psychiatric evaluation. Kevin, however, is the only person in the house aware of Buzz’s troubled psyche. Or is he? More on that later.
Kevin, annoyed at Buzz for eating the last of the cheese pizza, lashes out at him. This violent response is entirely out of line and Kevin should rightly be reprimanded for it.
However, immediately following the altercation with Buzz, Kevin is called a “disease” by his brother and a “little jerk” by his uncle. The result? Kevin is banished to the attic without any supper while the Buzz, the nameless “disease” brother and Uncle jackass get to have pizza and pop with no consequences whatsoever!
Is this standard behavior in this family? Everyone calls the little kid names and the little kid gets punished for it? No wonder he tells his mom he’d rather live alone. Given the expertise he shows for house cleaning, laundry, knot tying and other chores later in the film, it is clear he is very nearly living as a slave in his own house. Who needs a cleaning lady when you have a Kevin?
So after Kevin is berated and denied a substantial meal, he wakes to find his entire family is gone because, apparently, not a damn one of thirteen people is capable of waking up on time if the power goes out overnight.
In a hurry though they are, there is never a point where they check to make sure there are any stragglers. Not while going through security. Not while unloading luggage. Never. Am I crazy or is it a miracle that Kevin was the only kid who got forgotten?
Let us know flash forward to the moment where the parents realize they left their eight year old son behind and explore what they did about the problem.
First, they called the police and explained the situation in the worst possible fashion. They didn’t say “we have an eight year old son who was accidentally left behind when the rest of the family went on vacation. He is at our house right now and probably scared shitless. Can you help us? Yes, I know we are fucking idiots.”
So after poorly communicating the problem and determining that everyone they know in Chicago is out of town, they settle on the following brilliant plan:
- Mom will stay at the airport and try to find a flight back to Chicago.
- The rest of the family will hang out in Paris and, apparently, do absolutely nothing at all.
Let’s explore part 2 of the plan in a little more detail.
The plan is don’t do anything at all.
We know there is a church down the block. Kevin goes there at a couple of points. Even if the family doesn’t go to that church, maybe they go to another one. I’m pretty sure the church community would spring into action to support an eight year old boy left behind by his god fearing but stupid parents.
If the family is atheistic (unlikely) or lapsed Christians, wouldn’t it still make sense for the folks who are doing nothing to check back in with the police? Dad seems like a pretty calm guy. Perhaps he could explain to the police why his son might not answer the door and impress upon them the fact that there is an abandoned eight year old boy who needs attention.
You know, now that I think on it, why didn’t they have the pilot of the plane call in the situation and have the folks back at the Chicago airport get the police involved? Hell, perhaps the airline/police would have been willing to work together to escort Kevin to the the airport where he could have flown on his own and met his family later.
He probably would have gotten his own set of wings and (because it was the 80’s), he would have gotten to see the cockpit.
They even served food on planes then. For free.
Now this rosy scenario ignores the fact that had Kevin not been left behind, he never would have thwarted the burglars’ attempt to infiltrate the family home. Which leads to a rather troubling possibility…
Let’s think this through:
- We have no idea what Kevin’s father does for a living
- Joe Pesci comes to the McAlester home pretending to be a cop checking security in the neighborhood. Cops don’t do this.
- Kevin’s dad is the only person who spends any time talking to Pesci
- Kevin’s dad is also the only person in a position to get someone over to the house to help Kevin once mom starts flying all over the world in a desperate attempt to get home earlier.
- There has been a rash of burglaries in the neighborhood lately.
Add all this up and what do you have? Kevin’s dad is a spy who immediately recognizes Pesci as a criminal. Rather than calling the police to report his suspicions, he knocks out the power to the house himself and administers a sleeping drug (through an accomplice at the pizza place) to the family so they all oversleep.
He then leaves with the family, fully realizing that Kevin is being left behind to deal with the burglars. What the rest of them don’t realize is that the house is rigged with a complex network of hidden cameras that records everything.
Now, Dad can’t know that Kevin will fight off the burglars. We can only assume Dad guessed the burglars would break into the house and, finding Kevin there, they would kill him. Then, he would have them on burglary and murder. He has five kids. Sacrificing one of them seems like a small price to pay.
Note how calm dad is when they realize Kevin is missing. It’s almost as if he expected it.
His plot, however, hinges on the fact that Buzz eats all of the cheese pizza which leads to the inescapable conclusion that Buzz is in on it too!
So we have two possibilities. We have the most incompetent parents in the world whose children will only survive to adulthood if they are incredibly lucky.
Or we have an incredibly competent but Machiavellian super-spy and his sociopath son setting up a couple of small time hoods for a fall and using their son/brother as bait.
Given Kevin is left behind in Home Alone 2 and must confront the same burglars, I think we have to assume the second possibility is the correct one. The only way a coincidence of that magnitude could take place is if it was pre-planned by dad, who fears that the brilliant Kevin will be out for some payback as soon as he figures out what really happened.
I don’t know about the rest of you but I’m waiting for Home Alone 4: The Revenge of Kevin.