Citizen Shame: Home Alone Again (Again)

As the holidays approach, everybody turns to childhood classics for a little sentiment and nostalgia. Movies like “Elf” (2003), “It’s A Wonderful Life” (1946) and “Love Actually” (2003) fill our screens and hearts while we try to remember the holidays as times of joy and family instead of a yearly platform for that one uncle to quip about gender roles.

A movie that many think of is the 1990 John Hughes classic “Home Alone,” complete with pre-pizza-band Macaulay Culkin and Joe Pesci in a role hauntingly close to his turn in “Goodfellas” (1990). Everyone remembers the joy of watching some attentive parents abandon their (really annoying) child and then watching said child repeatedly attempt to murder two crooks with “Saw”like torture devices.

Equally famous is the 1992 sequel “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York,” a wonderful film about Culkin’s character grappling with the crisis that was bumping into 1990s Donald Trump in a hotel. There’s also a woman with birds, but that’s kind of freaky, so we’ll move past it. Same goes for Rob Schneider.

However, few people recall that five years after the sequel, a new creative team and cast would make a third film so remarkable that it would live in my memory forever. “Home Alone 3” was the best thing to come out of 1997, a movie so touching and yet so absolutely destructive that it would bring Eastern European crooks, North Korean missiles and a young Scarlett Johansson questioning her career choice together in a blend of zany fun!

Dive in and follow the story of some truly classic villains putting a potentially world-ending MacGuffin into a little remote control car (just one of the charms of the 1990s that permeates, painfully, throughout the film) and then losing that RC car at airport security. Can you say hijinks?

When young Alex Pruitt (a knockoff Macaulay) ends up with the RC car, he enters into a cat-and-mouse chase with the four crooks that features a truly remarkable amount of shots from the view of the car. There are so many, in fact, that you find yourself wondering whether a few 12-year-olds were given a $30 million budget that resulted in this movie.

Almost as important is the beautiful story of friendship between Alex and his pet mouse Doris, a duo so electric on screen it’s a mystery why neither of them ever made it big. They engage in classic banter with Johansson’s character, Alex’s brutally mean older sister, who is the also only person to emerge from “Home Alone 3” with an actual career.

The film stumbles upon its finale that includes a brash arrival of the FBI, a literal parrot driving an RC car and lighting fireworks. Oh, and an old lady is almost murdered, but it’s cool. So, if you’ve been charmed by the hilarious violence of the first movie and its avian sequel, I urge you to visit the completion of the trilogy, if only for some topical talking points about the nuclear crisis for your IR class.