If you’re like me, one of the things you appreciate the most about the holiday season is incessantly watching Christmas movies. From the moment the dishes are cleared on Thanksgiving night through Christmas Eve, it’s All Christmas Everything up in here, as far as I’m concerned. From the old school, stop-motion classics such as “Jack Frost” and “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” to more modern favorites like “Elf” and “Polar Express,” – and let’s not forget about the incredibly sappy but so, so great Hallmark Christmas specials! – holiday movies absolutely make the season merry and bright.
But upon further review, some of these films have the most questionable of underlying messages. So far, we’ve thrown all the shade at Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas as well as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Next up, we take shots at the holiday classic starring a young McCauley Culkin.
Home Alone – Kevin McCallister Has the Worst Parents OF ALL TIME: Ah, Home Alone. Probably my favorite Christmas movie. There’s just something so heartwarming and hilarious about a kid who gets stuck at home by himself and finds a way to outsmart all the adults in the movie.
And while we’re at it – the next time you watch Home Alone, be sure to play the Home Alone Drinking Game to make it even more enjoyable. Thank me later.
Anyway, back to the movie. Before we even address the fact that Kevin McCallister’s parents managed to forget him in their mad dash to the airport, let’s talk about everything that happened the night before. Eight-year-old Kevin enters the movie being picked on by all of his older siblings, something that doesn’t seem to faze any of the adults in the film. Later, he and his oldest brother, Buzz, get into a fight and for some reason, this results in Kevin getting banished to the third floor of the house. So, as Buzz has Kevin in a headlock, their mom, Kate, says to Kevin, “Look, stop! Stop! What’s the matter with you?!” As Kevin goes to explain that Buzz started the whole controversy, his Uncle Frank turns to him, sneering, “Look what you did, you little jerk!”
Everyone turns and glares at Kevin, including his parents. What parent lets another family member talk to their kid like that?! No consequences for Buzz, though, the older and supposed-to-be more mature sibling.
And then – THEN! – there is this lovely back-and-forth between Kevin and his mom:
Kevin: Everyone in this family hates me!
Kate: Then maybe you should ask Santa for a new family.
Kevin: I don’t want another family! I don’t want any family. Families suck!
Kate: Just stay up there. I don’t want to see you again for the rest of the night!
Kevin: I don’t want to see you again for the rest of my whole life. And I don’t want to see anybody else either.
Kate: I hope you don’t mean that. You’d feel pretty sad if you woke up tomorrow morning and didn’t have a family.
Kevin: No, I wouldn’t.
Kate: Then say it again, maybe it will happen.
Kevin: I hope that I never see any of you jerks again!
Whew! There’s a lot to unpack here in this exchange. We’re going to ignore for a hot second the fact that Kevin was COMPLETELY disrespectful to his mom and focus on how Kate legit told her son that he should ask Santa for a new family. Sarcasm or no, that’s no way to talk to an 8-year old! They don’t even understand sarcasm yet! And then she doubles down on it by saying he should ask for a new family again and maybe it will happen.
Exemplary parenting, these McCallisters!
As we know, a power outage disrupts their alarms, and the McCallisters oversleep. In a panic, they rush to get everyone and everything together before jetting off to the airport to catch their flight to Paris. In doing so, they all forget to go up to the third floor and wake up Kevin, who is summarily left home alone. It’s not until the McCallisters are in the air, en route to Europe, that Kate realizes she left her youngest son at home.
Look. I’m not a parent, but it just amazes me that a mom of many children could forget her youngest. Like, of all the kids not to remember! The oldest? Sure. He’s a teenager and self-sufficient. The middle ones? Believable. They’re middle kids, it happens. But her baby, though? I just can’t even!
Also, didn’t answering machines exist in the ‘90s? Wasn’t there an opportunity to just, I dunno, call the house, leave a message and explain to Kevin that they were coming back for him? Why did this not happen at any point in the film? Or like, couldn’t they have called a neighbor or something to tell them to go help Kevin? I just feel like there were other options before jumping back on a plane to alert Kevin that they were coming back for him.
To be fair, Kate does everything within her power to get back home to Kevin and make up for being an awful parent. She spends 60 hours in airports, on connecting flights and in the back of a Budget moving truck with Chris Farley, just to get back to suburban Chicago. And in the end, the whole family is reunited on Christmas, after Kevin’s harrowing ordeal with the Wet Bandits. (Which, by the way – can we talk about the fact that Kevin never mentions to his parents about how he defended the house and also his life from criminals? What a flex!)
Home Alone is an endlessly entertaining film, but let’s not forget exactly how incompetent and aloof the McCallister adults are. Someone should probably report them all to CPS, honestly. The brilliant Kevin McCallister – a kid who finessed a fake party to trick the burglars into thinking the family was still home as well as got said burglars arrested at the end of the film after sending them through his mystery house of tortures – deserves better than these humans.