You Can’t Change My Mind: Home Alone is the Greatest Christmas Movie of All Time

Me%2C+reading+these+terrible+internet+criticisms.

Stock Image

Me, reading these terrible internet criticisms.

Everyone’s a critic, and now, the Internet has turned against the best Christmas movie of all time— Chris Columbus’s 1990 masterpiece, Home Alone.

Perhaps the biggest offender when it comes to unnecessary criticism of one of the defining films of all time is ScreenRant, an entertainment website that posts such illuminating articles as “Disney’s Hercules Almost Featured The Spice Girls (Why It Didn’t)” and “Why Sheldon Is Worse In TBBT Than Young Sheldon Confirmed By New Story”. ScreenRant has published dozens of articles and listicles about Home Alone over the years, and nobody has ever called them out on how terrible and nonsensical they are- until now. It’s the holiday season, I’m all fired up, and I’m ready to criticize the critics and defend not just the greatest Christmas movie of all time, but one of the greatest comedy movies ever made.

So let’s start by dissecting ScreenRant’s listicle “Home Alone: 10 Things That Make Absolutely No Sense”.

WHY KEVIN’S PARENTS COULDN’T JUST CALL HIM

“When Kevin’s parents arrive in Paris, they try to get in contact with people in the area and call the house. They aren’t able to call because the phone lines in the neighborhood are down. But, Kevin is shown at his house being able to call and order pizza.”
ScreenRant says that it doesn’t make sense that Kevin’s parents can’t get ahold of him, but he can call and order pizza. Well, geniuses, the local lines were repaired before the long-distance lines were.

THE FACT THAT THE ROBBERS WERE NEVER SERIOUSLY INJURED
“While in the movie most of these injuries are played off as really funny or minor, the truth is that they would likely have been really severe. They would have ended up with broken bones, third-degree burns, and concussions at the very least.”
Yeah, it’s a comedy movie! If you want to watch a movie about people getting seriously injured, the local library has the Saw franchise on DVD.

WHY KEVIN DOESN’T CALL THE COPS

“The absence of any police in these movies is definitely one of the biggest inconsistencies that keep coming up. As a kid, especially a white kid in an affluent neighborhood, it’s likely that Kevin would have been taught by his parents to call the cops when he’s in trouble. So, it’s really strange that he never even thinks to do this. Even when he knows that two criminals are going to be coming to his house, he doesn’t even think to call them or any other adult.”
ScreenRant, in their infinite wisdom, questions why Kevin doesn’t simply call the police. Surely he was taught to call 911 in case of emergency? Well, anyone who’s seen Home Alone knows that the only cop Kevin interacts with in the movie is Joe Pesci’s character in the first scene. As we all know, Pesci (I refuse to learn the names of the burglars in this movie, and exclusively refer to them as “Joe Pesci” and “the tall burglar”) has dressed up as a cop in order to stake out the neighborhood, and he specifically has a conversation with Kevin and Catherine O’Hara (whose character is, I believe, named Kate). He leaves an impression on Kevin too, revealing his signature gold tooth when he grins at him. Later, Kevin sees Pesci again and recognizes him from the tooth- but now, instead of playing the benevolent neighborhood cop, he almost hits Kevin with his car and follows him for several blocks. A nine-year-old wouldn’t deduce that a fake cop was feeling out a crime scene- he only knows that the only police officer he knows is now a dangerous person, and applies that rule to the whole department.

THE FACT THAT LITERALLY NO ONE THEY KNEW WAS AROUND
“When Kevin’s parents are trying to figure out how to get in contact with Kevin, they start calling around to people they know who are back in Chicago. However, they aren’t able to get in contact with anyone they know. While it might make sense that a few people they knew were on vacation or out of town at the same time, it’s really hard to believe that literally everyone they knew in the city was out of touch.”
It’s Christmas break, and they’re in an affluent suburban neighborhood. The film takes place over the course of about five days- it’s easy to believe that their wealthy neighbors would be busy or out of town.

THAT KEVIN’S MOM COULDN’T GET A TICKET FROM SCRANTON TO CHICAGO
“When Kate McCallister arrives in Chicago, she isn’t able to get a seat on any plane. Given how much money she has, it seems strange she couldn’t work something out. And, since it sounded like most of the flights weren’t going out until the morning, it made just as much sense for her to wait given how long the drive was.”

Again, it’s the holidays! Literally less than a week before Christmas! ScreenRant points out that she should be able to do something about it, considering how wealthy she is- she tries! She asks for a private plane, and the blonde French airport employee informs her that they don’t do that. Am I the only one who’s seen this movie?!

WHEN DID KEVIN HAVE TIME TO PLAN EVERYTHING FOR THE BURGLARS?
“He basically has one day to design this entire thing, and it seems like he’s at the church until the early evening. It seems impossible for one eight-year-old kid to rig up this whole scheme in just a few hours.”
He didn’t spend the entire day at church! He devised a plan, drew his map, headed over to the parish for some choir music and neighborly advice, and then got back in time to get ready- but not in time to eat his mac’n’cheese and milk.

THAT THE COPS DO NOTHING TO HELP
“This is another example of police creating some of the biggest inconsistencies in this movie. While the McCallisters get in touch with the police, all they do is briefly check the house and say they don’t see anyone there.”

Oh no! The cops are useless and don’t really do anything to help people in need! This is a total shock!

(They go to the house, and it appears that nobody is there! What do you want them to do, break the door down because of one phone call?!)

WHY THE PIZZA DELIVERY GUY DOESN’T CALL THE COPS
“If he really believed he was being shot at or threatened, it would make sense for him to contact the authorities. It doesn’t make much sense that he just went on his way. Also, a real gunshot sounds very different than a recording on the television, so this is another plot hole in this situation.”
Imagine— you’re a minimum wage worker and you think a gangster has just shot at you. Do you have the time or money to get involved in this? No! You got your money (but barely any tip, cheapskate), now you’re getting out of there. There are Little Nero pizzas to deliver and lawn jockeys to repeatedly knock over.

HOW THE HOUSE GETS PERFECTLY CLEANED UP
“As far as the movie shows, it appears that the attempted robbery takes place on Christmas Eve while Kevin’s family arrives back home the next morning. Given this fact, the house would likely still be a complete disaster. Somehow it seems that Kevin cleaned up feathers, tar, and broken things all over the house in record time.”

Exactly- Kevin’s plan goes off on Christmas Eve, and Catherine O’Hara gets home on Christmas morning. He has all night to tidy things up- and he has incentive to do it, too, since he doesn’t want his parents knowing everything that went on. It’s also worth noting that he doesn’t exactly clean the whole house- Buzz’s room is still a disaster zone.

THE FACT THE OLD MAN MARLEY JUST LEAVES KEVIN ALONE AFTER RESCUING HIM FROM THE WET BANDITS
“Of all the incongruencies from Home Alone, this one is one of the hardest to understand. Old Man Marley is the person who rescues Kevin from the Wet Bandits. But, then it appears he just takes him back to his house. He doesn’t make sure that Kevin has adults around.”
This is untrue. We see Marley rescue Kevin, and then the film cuts to the arrests and Kevin safely at home with Marley nowhere to be seen- at no point do we see him get “taken back to his house”. There’s a lot of commotion going on, and it makes sense that Kevin could have just slipped away in the craziness of the Wet Bandit arrests. Old Man Marley isn’t very close with Kevin or his family, and probably assumed someone else (like a cop) was taking care of him.

ScreenRant’s flippant criticisms don’t stop there. They also published a popular article titled “Home Alone: 10 Things That Would Be Different If It Were Made Today”. They’re not alone with this listicle premise- this has become a clickbait-y way for millennials and Gen X-ers to be smug about how much harder their childhoods were. “These kids these days- there’s no chance any of them would be left behind on a family trip!”

For your information, we once made it halfway to Barnes and Noble before realizing my younger sibling Quinn was not, in fact, just being exceptionally quiet in the backseat, and was still sitting on the couch at home, so.

Phone & Watch Alarms Means The McCallisters Wouldn’t Have Been Late In The First Place
The power was out! Their phones would have died overnight! The listicle points out that with 15 people in the house, surely someone would have woken up on time- but most of those people were kids and teenagers. Have you ever tried to get a teenager up early and on time? I have, and it’s the hardest thing on the planet. Linnie and Buzz aren’t about to save the family holiday- in fact, it’s more likely that they and their cousins would make the morning more stressful for everyone, phone alarms or not.

Cell Phones Would Have Destroyed The Movie (But Solved Kevin’s Problem)
My dad brings this one up every year, and it drives me nuts. “If they had cell phones this could all be avoided!” NO, IT COULD NOT!
The problem wasn’t that they couldn’t contact Kevin. They knew where he was. The issue was that Catherine O’Hara couldn’t find a way to get to him!

Furthermore, Kevin is nine. Nine year olds rarely have cell phones, and if they do, they don’t usually have data or calling ability. ScreenRant says Catherine O’Hara could have made arrangements from the plane- with her phone in airplane mode?! And again, the issue wasn’t a lack of contact with him, but rather an inability to find a flight home to him. Cell phones would, at best, slightly reduce Catherine O’Hara’s stress (although, as someone who regularly texts with my nine-year-old sister, it also may have stressed her out even more).

@This JenLewis//Buzzfeed

The Police Would Have Checked On Kevin Without Question
I mean… would they have, though? I don’t see how this has changed from 1990 to 2022. Weak argument, ScreenRant.

Buzz’s Secret Girlfriend Wouldn’t Have Been A Secret
Now we’re getting lazy! “Teens these days don’t have secret girlfriends” is a ridiculous thing to write. Even if this were somehow true, all we would have missed in the movie is a ten-second joke.

The Props Kevin Used In Defence
“It took a day or two but when Kevin realized his life and home were in danger because of Marv and Harry, he created a diabolical plan to save the day. Using things around the house, Kevin created deadly traps to catch the thieves in the act. He used small toy cars and what looked like the ’90s toy Metal Jacks for Marv and Harry to trip and step on. These days, however, those kinds of toys wouldn’t be as accessible since most toys and games are electronic.”
“Kids these days, with their Minecraft and Pokemon Go. I’d like to see you set a deadly trap with your Fortnite controller!” I hate to break it to you, ScreenRant, but kids still play with toys- especially kids under the age of ten, like Kevin and his cousins Fuller and Tracy. At the very least, there’s some horrifyingly pointy Legos in that house. Besides, the majority of his traps were set with household items like glass ornaments, nails, tar, ice, and an iron, all of which can still be found in the majority of modern households.

Apps Would Have Gotten Mrs. McCallister Home Quicker
There weren’t any flights! Apps would only help her figure that out quicker.

Wouldn’t Kevin’s Parents Be Investigated For Leaving Their Son Home Alone For Multiple Days?
We don’t know that they weren’t in the 1990 movie!

There Is No Way The McCallisters Would Have Been Able To Sit “Wherever They Want”
Another ridiculous argument that they invented to juice up their nostalgia clickbait listicle. How does this affect the film?

I hear you saying that if they had assigned seats, they would have noticed Kevin wasn’t there- but once again, there are fifteen of them, meaning that they would have been seated in groups of two or three. Everyone would have likely assumed that Kevin was sitting with someone else until they were up in the air.

The McCallisters Would Have Been In The News
Again, we don’t know that they weren’t.

 

Well, I think I’ve successfully proven that Home Alone holds water. The film is a cinematic rarity in that there is not only a total lack of plot holes, but only one cringe-inducing moment of outdated humor (“Is it true that French babes don’t shave their pits?”). Let’s compare that to other Christmas classics from this time period— National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation has Chevy Chase sexually harrass a mall employee and later daydream about her in a skimpy bikini in an extended scene that makes me squirm with discomfort; A Christmas Story blindsides you with a shockingly racist final scene in the Chinese restaurant where the family has their Christmas dinner; Will Ferrell spies on Zooey Deschanel showering in Elf and it’s seen as another example of his cute childishness. But Home Alone stands the test of time, thirty-two years later.

Combining expert slapstick comedy and some of the funniest throwaway lines in comedy history- “Don’t spoil your dinner,” says Santa after giving Kevin a mitten-full of TicTacs (his elf took all the candy canes home to her boyfriend)”; Uncle Frank consoles Catherine O’Hara by telling her that if it makes her feel any better about Kevin, he forgot his reading glasses. It has truly earned its place as the greatest comedy and Christmas movie of all time.

If you have any other plot holes or inconsistencies to point out, or any criticisms of the film, email me at [email protected]. I’d be happy to do a follow-up article explaining why you’re just as wrong as ScreenRant is. Otherwise, please enjoy this clip of John Candy’s fully improvised monologue in the polka van.

Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals.