The year was 1990. I was a fresh-faced eight-year-old coming off a Grease and Mary Poppins obsession. I had heard rumblings about this promising new actor, Macaulay something, who was really shaking things up in Tinseltown. He had a new debut film about—get this—a kid who is left home alone. Like by himself. No grownups. No babysitter. No siblings. How did he eat dinner, I wondered? Reach the shower knobs? I didn’t know! But I had to find out!
Needless to say, I saw the movie three times in the theater, and it became a mainstay of my childhood, and quite possibly a precursor to any lingering abandonment issues I may now harbor. But as I’ve aged, I’ve wondered how it holds up. Does the comic violence seem horrifying to a parent in 2020? (Yes.) Does the plausibility of making it to Paris without your child ring true? (No, but go with it.) And most importantly, do kids today, thirty years after its initial release, still find it funny?
I watched it on Disney+ with my Kindergartener, George, to find out. Here, some excerpts from our conversation.
Mom: First things first. Did you like Home Alone?
George: I loved it!
Mom: What did you think when we started watching it?
George: I thought that it was it was going to be kind of a scary movie, but it wasn’t.
Mom: What’s fun about it?
George: It’s fun for five-year-olds because of the booby traps.
Mom: Who was your favorite character in the movie?
George: The bad guy who pretended to be the police.
George: Because I liked the looks of him.
Mom: Do you think that sometimes people are too complicated to be considered “bad” or “good?”
George: [Blank stare.]
Mom: What was the silliest part in the movie?
George: The hot doorknob booby trap.
Mom: Do you think the violence could be scary for some kids?
George: Maybe some kids who don’t like scary things.
Author’s note: He is scared of ‘Moana.’
Mom: What do you think happens to the bad guys after the movie?
George: They go home and do something about how much they got hurt.
Mom: What would you do if you got left home alone?
George: If I got left home alone, I would try to call someone and tell them that I’m home alone.
Mom: Would you watch Home Alone again?
George: Yes! When can we watch it?