As the holiday season gears up each year, many of us find ourselves watching a few Christmas films to get into the mood. Some of us watch these movies as part of an annual tradition, whereas others just can’t seem to avoid them. Each of us has our own personal favorites, our little guilty pleasures. But there are a select few Christmas movies that are at the top of the list for almost everyone. These are the true holiday classics. Home Alone is one of those. With the right mix of comedy, childishness and the feels, Home Alone satisfies, no matter the mood you’re in. With each viewing, year after year, you learn the lines and memorize all the intimate details. There’s nothing you don’t know about the movie. But is that really true?
Most people think they know it all about this film, but there are some lesser known facts that have gotten ignored. We scoured the background, pulling every little detail that we could find that might be easily missed. Even though this might seem like a simple family movie, there is a surprising amount of detail and care put into every shot. You were already a pretty decent human, but you can be more. Read this list, watch the film and become a better person than you were. Combine these tiny details with all the know-how that you’ve collected throughout your multiple viewings and you can now finally say that you know everything about Home Alone. You’ve done it! Here are 15 things we all missed in Home Alone.
15. The Statue Gag
Yeah. You know the one. Everybody knows this one. Well, they notice at least some of it. But we wanted to start with the Home Alone statue gag to show the amount of detail that went into the film. First, it’s the pizza delivery guy. He comes barreling in the driveway and runs into the lawn jockey statue in front of the McAllister’s home, thus beginning the running gag. The driver gets out of the car and stands the statue back up. The next morning, the airport shuttle arrives. Many people miss this one because we don’t see them run down the statue. We only see the driver standing it back up. He’s not fixing it from the night before; he knocked it down himself. Then, the pizza delivery guy comes once more and knocks it down. These are the big three. Everyone out there has noticed two, most have seen three, but very few ever talk about the fourth. When Kevin’s mom calls the police to come check on Kevin, a cop is shown knocking on the door. Take a look behind the policeman on the ground. It looks like he knocked the statue over as well.
14. The It’s a Wonderful Life Influence
When the McAllister family gets to France, a few of the kids are sitting around the TV watching It’s a Wonderful Life, one of the true classics for the Holiday season. The version that they’re watching is in French though and they clearly don’t understand what’s going on. This is meant to trigger something for us, the viewers. It’s meant to show us that, in many ways, Home Alone is a twisted version of It’s a Wonderful Life. Rather than wishing he was never born, like George Bailey, Kevin wishes his family away. Both films then give their protagonists a glimpse into that life, and both protagonists learn that family is essential in the end. In addition to this little homage, there are several other films that Home Alone alludes to, like Nosferatu, M, The Third Man and A Christmas Carol.
13. Daniel Stern Didn’t Really Scream
Daniel Stern‘s character Marv, has long been associated with the scream, that blood-curdling cry he lets out when Kevin drops Buzz’s tarantula on his face. It’s one of the best moments in a film of so many amazing ones. That’s why it’s a bit shocking to learn that Stern doesn’t actually scream in that scene. Usually, when they’re dubbing in a scream like that, the actor will still scream while filming; they’ll just add in a better sounding scream afterwards. But that’s not what happened here. Stern was afraid to scream because he thought it might startle the spider causing it to bite his face. Therefore, he simply mimed the scream to allow them to dub over it. Once you know this, you can really tell what he’s doing. Ah, the magic of cinema.
12. The Visiting France Coincidence
This one might just be a pure coincidence, but we’re including it anyways. Maybe you haven’t heard, but Home Alone got into some hot water over some plagiarism issues back when it came out. A French filmmaker, René Manzor, accused the guys behind Home Alone of ripping off his film, 3615 code Père Noël (Game Over in America). This movie that predates Home Alone, deals with a kid who boobytraps his mansion to stop a psychopathic Santa Claus from breaking in. It is very similar. In Home Alone, the family travels to France for Christmas. Is the writer, John Hughes, trying to tell us something? Maybe he’s admitting to a crime, suggesting that Home Alone is the English Version of 3615 code Père Noël. Maybe not.
11. Daniel Stern Is Heard Swearing
There’s some great behind-the-scenes chatter from the set of Home Alone about Joe Pesci being unable to shake his potty-mouth while filming. Apparently, the director Chris Columbus, had to have him consciously say the word “fridge” whenever he got the urge to swear. Well, it was Daniel Stern, not Pesci, who slipped up while filming and got it by the editors. When Marv puts his foot through the doggy door as he’s investigating the McAllister house, his shoe falls off inside. Listen closely at this moment (55:27) on the DVD. When the shoe drops off his foot, he whispers “sh*t.” Now that our children know that word, they’re probably on a crash course with a life of drugs and crime. Thanks a lot, Home Alone.
10. Elvis, The Airport Extra?!
This one’s silly but since people always talk about it, we’ll include it. It’s all for the people. When Catherine O’Hara is yelling at the airport ticket agent, the part right before John Candy approaches her and asks if she would like to drive with him and his polka band to Chicago, there’s an extra that has fascinated conspiracy theorists for a while. Behind O’Hara is a snooty woman. She’s huffing and hawing about O’Hara, like chill out lady, it’s Christmas. Look behind this witch though. There’s a bearded man. Does he look familiar? No, not really. Still, people like to say that this man is Elvis. Even though he died in 1977, he supposedly decided to make a comeback as an extra in the 1990 film Home Alone. The mystery man also looks like Richard Karn, who played Al on Home Improvement.
9. Buzz’s Trans Girlfriend
When Kevin is going through Buzz’s things, he finds a picture of his girlfriend. He doesn’t like what he sees. He says “woof,” implying that she’s a dog you see. Well, the director, Chris Columbus, thought it would be too mean to ask a real young girl to be in the photograph to be “woofed” at, so he asked the film’s art director, Dan Webster, to have his son dress up as a girl. So, you don’t have to feel bad if you’re repulsed by that photograph. Even if Kevin has an obvious problem with cross-dressers, that’s on him not us. Also, why is Buzz hiding that picture? Is he ashamed of her? Did they break up? Is that why he’s so interested in nude beaches and French women? Wait, is that why he asks if French babes shave their pits? Maybe he likes his women masculine.
8. Buzz’s Real Playboy Details
Another item that Kevin finds in his search through Buzz’s things is a Playboy magazine. As he opens it, we can see the cover. It reads, “Newscaster Bares It All” and it has several different photos of a newscaster taking off her clothes. So, who is this mystery woman exactly? Well, that issue is July 1989, and the woman on the cover is Shelly Jamison, a producer and newscaster for Phoenix’s Channel 10 TV station at the time. The centerfold for that issue, if you were wondering, was Erika Eleniak, the former Baywatch, and Under Seige star. It’s actually a decent issue. Kevin may say, “no clothes on anybody, sickening,” in the most adorable way possible, but he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
7. Flood Control Experts Indeed
Whenever we see Harry and Marv in their van, we’re always drawn to their faces, but there’s a solid joke on the side of the van that gets missed. You get a few different looks at it, but it can be hard to read in the heat of the moment. It’s a plumbing van; “Oh-Kay Plumbing and Heating” is the company, but the smaller print has the joke, “Your Flood Control Experts.” Considering that Marv and Harry are the Wet Bandits, thieves who flood the homes that they’ve robbed, this is a pretty accurate motto for the crooks.
6. The Mighty Ducks Kid
Take a look at the cast list of Home Alone. There aren’t that many actors listed and you’ve seen the movie enough times to recognize everyone. The family, the police, the airport staff, the store clerks and the people in the church. Who else is there? Wait a minute. Is that the kid from The Mighty Ducks? Yeah, it’s the kid with the huge glasses in The Mighty Ducks, Les Averman, but who the hell is he in Home Alone? You’ve got to be wearing glasses yourself to catch this one. You know the other family that the McAllisters are visiting, Rob McAllister, Peter’s brother? This is actually the family that Kevin goes to see in New York. They’re in a deleted scene from Home Alone, but in the final cut we never get a good look at them. The only scene that we get a glimpse is in the hotel room in France, when the kids are watching It’s a Wonderful Life and uncle Frank brings in that damn shrimp. Check the corner, there are three people decorating the tree. That’s uncle Rob, his wife and their son Josh (credited as Steffan). Take a close look at the kid if you can. That’s the guy from The Mighty Ducks. The actor’s name is Matt Doherty and Home Alone was his first movie.
5. The Evolving Camera Angle
One of the best things about Home Alone is how the camera angles change along with Kevin as he progresses. As viewers, our impressions of Kevin are meant to change as he becomes more confident. This reaction is encouraged along by the camera angles. In the beginning, we see Kevin from above, from the perspective of an adult; he’s small, scared and helpless. As the film progresses and Kevin becomes more confident, the camera gets level with him, even showing him from below in several shots. In the end, even when Harry and Marv capture Kevin, they lift him up and put him on a hook, bring him to a level that’s even above them. We know it’s all going to be alright for him in the end, so don’t be afraid.
4. Where Is Kevin’s Room Exactly?
Many of us have seen this movie so many times that we could draw a blueprint of the McAllister house if we were asked to. But, even for the most capable of viewers, there is one room that no one could draw or even picture, Kevin’s room. Amazingly, this is something that many people overlook. Despite being home alone for a few days, we never see a shot of Kevin’s room. Initially, he sleeps in the attic, then he goes to his parent’s room. We see plenty of Buzz’s room, the kitchen, living room and the basement. We see every room in the house pretty much except for Kevin’s. Maybe they thought it would tell us too much about the character outside of the film or maybe they thought that, with the whole house available for once, no kid would bother with his own room.
3. Uncle Frank Is A Villain
This one is really just a matter of interpretation, but when you watch Home Alone with the knowledge that Uncle Frank (Gerry Bamman) was originally scripted to be the mastermind behind the McAllister home robbery, it changes how you read him in the film. Pay attention to his actions. He refuses to pay for the pizza; he confirms that the alcohol is free on the plane; he steals crystal from the plane; he doesn’t care that Kevin is missing when they’re all frantically trying to get a hold of him at the airport in France; he celebrates at the hotel eating jumbo shrimp while everyone is scared, and he doesn’t even come back to Chicago to make sure Kevin is alright in the end. He may not be behind the attempted robbery in the end, but he sure as hell is still a suspect.
2. The Dinosaur Pajamas Kid
One of the greatest mysteries has been solved. Kevin visits the church and listens to the children’s choir sing on Christmas Eve. Old man Marley spots him and sits with Kevin and they impart some knowledge on each other. In their discussion, Kevin informs Marley on how tough it is to be a kid in his day. In that speech, Kevin says that he knows a kid who got beat up because there was a rumor that he wore dinosaur pajamas. This has got to be a throwaway line, right? Wrong. In Home Alone 2, we see who this kid was. It’s Kevin’s cousin Fuller (Kieran Culkin). We might even be able to deduce who started that particular rumor.
1. Kev’s Ticket In The Garbage
Just going off the amount of discussion that this little tidbit from Home Alone gets online, we figured we have to include this as number one. It seems that a lot of people just thought that Kevin’s parents were terrible people and forgot their child without any logical reminders. Well, they kind of are still, but let’s go through the steps. First, milk is spilled on the passports and the tickets. Kevin’s dad wipes it up, but he accidentally throws out Kevin’s ticket in the process. You can see “Kevin” written at the top of the ticket in the garbage. Next comes the head count. That little rugrat neighbor got his head in the count and the sister is fooled. She then imparts that count to the mother. Next is the airport. The lady at the ticket counter takes all the tickets that she’s given and then counts the heads as they rush on to the plane. The reason she doesn’t raise an alarm is because there is a proper amount of tickets for heads. It’s only when mom checks her wallet, potentially seeing a picture of Kevin that she remembers.