Hello everyone! I hope your December has been as merry and bright as 2020 will allow it to be. As for me, I’ve been struggling through some of the worst Christmas movies of all-time. It’s called Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever. It’s a whole thing. You should check it out. In fact, you’re already on one of the articles now! You might as well give it a read, huh? Let’s get into it.
As a child of the 90s, Home Alone was a staple in my life. It’s probably one of my most rewatched movies ever. Macaulay Culkin was one of the first actors whose name I actually knew. I could quote that movie. I could reenact moments from that movie. It’s a classic. I haven’t seen the sequel in decades, but I remember it not being horrible. A decent amount of the charm had dissipated but, still, it’s Home Alone. And, honestly, for decades, I thought I’d seen all there was to see in the Home Alone franchise. As far as I knew, there were only those two movies. Boy, do I wish I was right.
I bet you can guess what my number one complaint about Home Alone 3 is. I bet you won’t even need a second guess. Yep. It’s the fact that there’s not a single returning character. Not a one. Gone are the two loving parents played perfectly by John Heard and the always fantastic Catherine O’Hara. The Wet Bandits are no longer here to be tortured. And, worst of all, not even a cameo from Culkin’s Kevin McCallistar. And, I’m not even talking about the fact that just the actors are gone. No. It’s a whole new cast of characters. It’s a whole new story. The original movie has zero impact on this one. So, why, oh why, is this called Home Alone 3.
None of the characters feel all that original or fresh either. Pretty much every single one can be matched up with someone from the original. And, they pale in comparison. The original performances were so perfect. Even 30 years later, their mark on pop culture is huge. Kevin, Harry, Marv, Mrs. McCallistar, Buzz, Gus, Marley. Each of them: iconic. These guys are ridiculously inferior. The kid does his best to pull off the same charm Kevin had, but just doesn’t hit the mark. These villains are forgettable. They’re all just a bunch of generic, white bread cliches. And, they lack the energy that Stern and Pesci brought to the Wet Bandits. Having just seen the movie last night, I cannot even tell you what the parents looked like. And, his siblings just come across as monsters, even though one of them is played by ScarJo herself. Heck, they even had the misunderstood grumpy old neighbor character. But, again, it fell short. I can’t really blame the actors for this though. Living up to the standards the original performers set would’ve been hard. Impossible even. Nah. This is on the producers. The ones who saw the perfect storm of the original movie and thought “Yeah. We can do that again.” No. You can’t. This is what happens when you try. Everyone forgets your movie exists and it still manages to hurt the first movie’s legacy.
They even managed to mess up the plot of the Home Alone movies. Real quick, what were the stakes in the first movie? If the bad guys won, what would’ve happened? The McCallisters would’ve been robbed. That’s it. No big deal. Well, in this one, the criminals are after a chip from a weapon that they’re trying to sell to Korea. Really. Is this Home Alone or Mission: Impossible? What is going on? Anyways, there’s a mixup at the airport. Not-Kevin’s neighbor and the terrorists got their bags swapped. So, she came home with a remote controlled car that had the chip hidden inside. The terrorists then follow her back to Chicago to retrieve the chip. After a bit of searching the neighborhood and some socially distant crime fighting from the kid, they find that the car has been given to not-Kevin. His parents are, of course, not home. And, it’s time for the typical Home Alone shenanigans to start. Why is this so complex? The original was so simple. Thieves want in house. Kid, who is home alone, keeps them out. It’s simple. You don’t have to throw all of these wrinkles in there.
Also, what are the odds there are two Kevin McCallistar type children in the greater Chicago area? You know, extremely smart, semi-sadistic, little boys that have extensive knowledge of booby traps and the means to build them. I can buy that there’s one. Heck, I can buy that he got put in the same position twice. It’s not likely, but I can buy it. But, I absolutely cannot buy that there’s a completely separate child with the same uncanny gift in the same general area. I just can’t. And he’s in a very similar situation to that previous kid? He’s also home alone and fending off a group of intruders? Come on now. Come on. There is absolutely no way. Which begs the question, why? You could just have it be Kevin again with a different actor. That’s been done. It’s within the cheap sequel playbook. Or, if you don’t want to do that play, have it be Kevin’s little brother. Or a cousin. Or someone that looks up to him. Tying this back to the original would’ve helped big time. Having it be completely separate is such a strange choice. It disappoints your audience AND makes everything feel less believable.
Also, maybe it’s just the fact that I’m getting older, but I’m pretty sure that our hero here, Alex, is way more sadistic than Kevin ever was. He’s just brutal. One of the first traps he creates is a freaking electric chair! Say what you will about the original but at least there’s nothing that’s used to put criminals down. Holy crap. But, of course, that’s not it. Apparently, paint cans aren’t good enough for the writers anymore. It’s a sequel after all. You have to up the ante. So, instead of paint cans, let’s have a weight bar with about 200 pounds on it drop on them instead. Sure. Because the paint can to the face wasn’t already a bit of a stretch. Then, he sets up a lawnmower to fall on a guy, blades first! You read that right. This kid almost decapitates someone! Merry Christmas, kids! Don’t try this at home. There’s more, of course. But, everything else just seems lightweight at nearly cutting a dude’s head off. Pretty sure there’s very little that can top that.
So, yeah, that’s Home Alone 3. For some reason, they just pretty much made the same movie again but decided not to tie it into the original at all and crank up the violence. It’s very weird. Nothing really works. Everything about this is strange. I mean… it’s not the worst movie I’ve seen this Christmas. It’s just a bizarre lesson on how not to make a sequel. I definitely don’t recommend it, obviously. Watch the original for the 100th time or catch the second one again. You’ll be better off for it. Just avoid this one. And, while I haven’t seen them, I can pretty much guarantee you should stay away from the fourth and fifth too. They didn’t make this list, but I’m positive that they’re also garbage. I mean… how did they not learn their lesson from this one?