This Christmas time my son really discovered Home Alone. We watched the first two movies once each last Christmas. This year he remembered them and wondered if there were more. I knew of a third, and have seen that for years among the seasonal DVD releases. To my surprise there is also a fourth and fifth movie. Even more surprising, there’s a set of all 5 movies for $20. Over the next few nights we sat down and watched all 5 movies as a family. My son gets bored at all the character building and set up. He wants to get right to the pranks. I’m watching both movies now as an adult and a parent. Much different than my attitudes when I first saw the movie.
I take all of this into consideration. My eyes, a child’s eyes, nostalgia, acting, script, enjoyment. All of it.
Also, there is an upcoming sixth movie. It was being filmed for Disney+ before Covid forced everything to shut down. If this movie is finished I’ll revisit this film ranking next year.
(Shout out to Kevin Ford and William Bruce West for suggesting a worst to first list.)
Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House
This is horrible. Even my 7 year old knew it was bad and ranks it as the worst one. In this movie Kevin is re-cast. His parents are split and his dad has a younger, pretty, and rich new girlfriend. Kevin spends Christmas at his dad’s girlfriend’s mansion and wouldn’t you know it – Marv is back and has a wife too! Marv is also a different actor. They’re going to break into the house. There’s a heel turn among the help.
The movie is filmed cheap and doesn’t feel like it has a conclusion. It ends, but doesn’t feel final. Turns out this version was originally aired as a Wonderful World of Disney TV movie with the hopes of high enough ratings to make it a series. That, thankfully, did not happen.
Home Alone 5: The Holiday Heist.
Saying this is fourth is harsher than I mean to be. It’s closer to 3 than it is to 5. A family moves into a new house. The kid thinks the house is haunted. Turns out there’s secret rooms in the basement hiding priceless art that thieves are trying to get to. The kid is better, the family is more fun, the pranks are better than 4. There’s a bit of stereotype casting for the bad guys that is eye rolling for an adult but a kid won’t pick up on any of it.
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.
Oh that’s right. Here comes the controversy. No, I’m not ranking it lower because of any cameos. The first movie caught lightning in a bottle. The second tried to force that lightning in a lap based off what worked before and falls flat. Nothing feels genuine or fun or original. Its a copy/paste of the first. The family sucks. Adults are more concerned with catchy a kid instead of actually helping him. Kevin befriends an older weird person that should have just called the police to help him instead of spouting advice. The abandoned house pranks are spectacular though. More violent and crazy than the first, and it can be argued a line of absurdity and violence was crossed.
Home Alone 3.
This was surprisingly fun and I have no problem with putting it second. The child in this movie has chicken pox while dad is on a business trip and mom keeps getting called to the office. He ends up with some spy computer equipment through ridiculous means but it’s just to get the plot moving. All of the adults believe he has an over active imagination, so it’s up to this plucky child to defend the house. The thieves – 4 of them – are embracing their roles and it makes every bit of the movie more fun. The kid is charming. Nothing seems too forced beyond the first 5 minutes of plot development. Also, none of his pranks seem like carbon copies of the first two movies. This one will probably enter the Christmas rewatch list.
The original. The ground breaker. The house destroyer. There was nothing like this movie when it came out. The attitude, the humor, the Looney Toons violence. It was rude, silly, fun, and enjoyable for all. Even parents and grandparents that hated it warmed up to the movie through far too many viewings. One of the biggest movies ever, and for good reason. Better actors and acting than such a movie has any right to showcase. Kevin is both a villain and a hero. The old man story is heartwarming until you think about it too much. 30 years later (wow) and it still holds up.
By all means, debate this with me. Have fun and Merry Christmas.