Monday, December 20, 2010


HOME ALONE is on right now and of course I'm watching it. I remember seeing it in the theater with my family when it first came out and thought it was the funniest thing I'd ever seen (I was 10 couldn't watch R-rated movies and we didn't have cable, give me a break). It still has its moments, but I'm not sure where it ranks among the best holiday films of all time. I doubt it could even break into the top 25, but I still have a soft spot for it and you probably do, too. It's probably also the last good movie that John Hughes wrote. It was all downhill after that. Sad thing is that he knew his best days were behind him and continued to write bad movies (like DRILLBIT TAYLOR, MAID IN MANHATTAN and all the BEETHOVEN sequels) under a pseudonym, Edmond Dantes—the title character from The Count Of Monte Cristo.

Thinking back fondly on Hughes is why I was pretty excited when I found this post on called '12 Things You Probably Didn't Know About HOME ALONE.' And since I enjoyed it, you must enjoy it, too. So here you go!

(P.S. My own thoughts on each one are in parentheses afterwards. Because I didn't want to be a simple cut and paste hack job. I'll leave that to other websites.)

1. The picture Kevin finds of Buzz's girlfriend was actually a picture of a boy made up to look like a girl because the director thought it would be too cruel to make fun of a girl like that. (I've always wondered about things like this. For example, on Married With Children, did they put on the casting sheet "Hey, we need fat women for Ed O'Neill to make fun of"?)

2. The role of Uncle Frank was written for Kelsey Grammer. (I think Kelsey Grammer should be in lots more stuff. Frasier was fantastic.)

3. There is a legend that Elvis Presley (who died in 1977) made a cameo in the movie. Many of those who believe that Elvis is still alive maintain that, the heavily bearded man standing in the background of the scene where Mrs. MacCallister is shouting at the desk clerk (just before she meets John Candy) is Elvis. (Seriously? That's a HUGE stretch.)

4. The issue of Playboy that Kevin finds in Buzz's room is from July 1989 with Erika Eleniak as Miss July. (A lot of these are things you didn't know because why on earth would you EVER need to know?)

5. The “evil furnace” in the basement was done by two guys with fishing line and flashlights.

6. Robert De Niro turned down the role of Harry. (That would have been awesome, because HOME ALONE opened just over two months after GOODFELLAS.)

7. Angels with Filthy Souls is a fictional gangster film and was made specifically for the film. There is also a sequel to the film, Angels with Even Filthier Souls, in the sequel. (I looked for this at the video store every time I went. No wonder I couldn't find it.)

8. The Talkboy was originally conceived as a non-working prop for Home Alone, used by Macaulay Culkin's character. In 1993 it was made into a retail version, brought on by a massive letter-writing campaign by young fans of the film. (Had one of these. It was a piece of shit. I couldn't fool anyone.)

9. John Candy filmed his part in only 1 day, albeit an extremely long 23-hour day. The story about having once forgotten his son at a funeral home was entirely improvised. His part is obviously inspired by the character he played in Planes, Trains & Automobiles. (I miss John Candy. A lot.)

10. In the scene where Harry bites Kevin's finger, Joe Pesci actually bit Macaulay Culkin, leaving a scar on his finger. (Even if Joe Pesci bit me today I'd still be scared of him. I couldn't imagine it as an 8-year-old.)

11. The concept for the movie originated during the filming of a scene in Uncle Buck when Macaulay Culkin interrogated a would-be-babysitter through a letterbox. (UNCLE BUCK is one of the best movies of the 1980s. Hands down. "You should see the toast!")

12. Daniel Stern agreed to have the tarantula put on his face for exactly one take. He had to mime screaming because the noise would have scared the spider, and the scream was dubbed in later. (He's a braver man than I am. Not a chance in hell would I do that.)

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