Kids From Classic Christmas Films – Where Are They Now?

I knew what had happened to most of these “Christmas movie kids” but there are a few interesting facts in this NME article HERE.

I figured I should mention Jake Lloyd as I hear there’s some new Star Wars movie coming out this week (which, by the way, I will try to review here on Thursday afternoon if I can stay awake long enough to write something about it!). The Phantom Menace was disappointing but, to be fair, I have to say that Jingle All The Way was far worse. I don’t think I ever even bothered to watch that all the way through. Well, the last any of us heard of Jake Lloyd was when he was arrested for reckless driving this year. Hopefully he can sort his life out – it’s a shame how fame ruins the lives of so many child stars.

It’s surprising that Nicholas Hoult has ended up being one of the more successful “Christmas movie kids” (he was in About A Boy. was that a Christmas movie?? I clearly don’t remember it now). You can’t top being in Mad Max: Fury Road! Peter Billingsley (from A Christmas Story) is strangely attractive now & we all know Macaulay Culkin (Home Alone!) went a bit weird but I loved this little tidbit: “He rarely acts these days, but recently took to the stage in his pizza themed Velvet Underground cover band, The Pizza Underground.” Ha! Seriously? Do they do a song called “I’m Waiting For The Pizza Delivery Man“?

Well, you can also read about Juliette Lewis, Johnny Galecki, Taylor Momsen (from The Grinch – probably my most hated movie of all time), Corey Feldman, Kieran Culkin, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Olivia Olson, Mara Wilson, Eric Lloyd, and Daryl Christopher Sabara HERE.

Oh – and I have to quickly mention this: Apparently, these life-sized Victorian dolls are roaming around London to promote some new Derren Brown attraction opening in Thorpe Park. Egads! NO THANK YOU!!!! Creepy as hell.

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Uncle Buck (1989) Guest Review

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This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes, once again, from my BFF Eric of The IPC (although I’m thinking of finding a new BFF after this review. any takers??). ๐Ÿ˜‰ Kidding, Eric! Thanks again for agreeing to watch all these movies that don’t contain blood or guts or (many) boobs! Now let’s read Eric’s thoughts on Uncle Buck… ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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UNCLE BUCK

In the story of my life, one thing is certainly true: it never fails that I’ll be sitting somewhere, minding my own business, trying to do a good job and not bother anyone and I’ll get yelled at… Whether I was a kid sitting all alone in my room reading comics or playing with my toys, unsuspectingly, my mom would bust into my room and scream at me for something I didn’t know or remember that I did. Or when the co-worker across the hall gets mat at people on HER team – I get yelled at. Or old girlfriends… I’d just be sitting there, watching TV or something and BLAMMO!!! Screamed at. I’ve never understood. “Why do you bother us with this bullshit again, Isaacs???” you scream. Because, just this morning, I was sitting here in my office, eating some cantaloupe from the Hippie grocery store I go to now when I got this email from Cinema Parrot Disco. (The replies are clipped to take up less space).

CPD: WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO SEND ME UNCLE BUCK???!!!??
IPC: Uhhhh… oh shit!! I forgot!! I totally suck!
CPD: SEND IT OVER YOU STUPID FUCK!!!
IPC: Um, well, I can tr-
CPD: OR YOU’RE OUT OF FUCKING LUCK!!!!
IPC: I’ll do m-
CPD: ALL I HEAR IS “CLUCK CLUCK CLUCK”!!!!!
IPC: What ar-
CPD: JUST. GET. OFF. YOUR. ASS.

Of course, that didn’t happen…. right…. right…..

*crickets*

So I rented it up and dodged some meetings and gave it a watch. Now – I’ve seen this before, when it came out in the theater and I remember it being funny so I had high hopes. Oh yeah – who hasn’t seen this? There’s no point in going into a deep plot synopsis because everyone knows about this one. A loud, obnoxious, unemployed fat dude goes to babysit his brother’s kids when he has to go out of town unexpectedly. Hilarity and hi-jinks ensue!! Right?? Right??

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I started it up and was not really enjoying the 1989-ness of it. The dialogue was kind of dopey and forced and the clothing and hairdos…. UGH. Oh – and McCauley Culkin…

And then… at around 30 minutes in, I started to get really bored… so I kind of stopped watching and just did some listening and twirled around in my chair looking for something in my office to entertain me…

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Not there….

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Nope… so then I started taking notes in case I got too bored and might forget what the hell was going on.

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And then that got boring so I made one last note, went outside for some fresh air and then came back resolved to finish this fucker.

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And finish it I did. And I don’t think I laughed once. Not even the Uncle Buck dancing part. The two youngest kids were too sappy and honey drippy cutesy, Uncle Buck was an obnoxious burden of a man, I HATED the teenager, I hated “Bug” and I hated the big warm’n-happy ending. I was slightly amused again when he had to go piss at the elementary school and he was to big for the urinals but that passed quickly. I think I liked this about as much as Zoe liked Ferris… which is Not Much. It’s not SHITFEST worthy but…. YEESH what a bore. Oh well….

THANKS FOR HAVING ME OVER ALL THOSE TIMES MUTANT!! Your blogathon has been EPIC!!
Internet hugs!!

BYE!!!

Love,

Eric

P.S. In the opening, if you can’t read my shitty handwriting… WHY was the dog in the closed clothes dryer when the kids got home from school???? Is that where he sleeps during the day?? Does he see the kids off to school and then slip into the laundry room, open the dryer with his finger and thumb and then close it when he’s in???

Also – if Uncle Buck has to microwave Maizy’s socks because he can’t open the washing machine… couldn’t he just stick them in the dryer?? Even the dog can open the dryer.

P.P.S. In that scene where Culkin is looking through the mail slot trying to see who’s ringing the bell and he sees those three dudes looking back at him. Is that supposed to be some reference to or foreshadowing for that Home Alone movie?

Home Alone 2: Lost In New York (1992) Guest Review

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This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Mike of Screenkicker!. Thanks for the review, Mike! Let’s see his true thoughts on Home Alone 2: Lost In New York. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Home Alone 2 – The original torture porn movie?

In 2006 the phrase ‘torture porn’ was coined. Torture porn is films that focus on the minutae of torture and violence in a completely gratuitous way. The title was first applied to the movies of directors like Eli Roth (Hostel) and James Wan (Saw) who shocked audiences with a different kind of violence. However there was a famous director who was making what could be interpreted as torture porn as far back as the early 90s. The director – John Hughes, the films – the Home Alone movies. Let me explain:

Home Alone 2 tells the story of psychopathic child Kevin McCallister, a precocious little shit with a fascination with methods of hurting other humans. Kevin knows he can’t perform these atrocities with his family around so he steals his father’s credit cards and cash, slips away at the airport and heads to the big apple. Here he commits fraud, associates with a crazy pigeon lady, and attempts to murder two petty crooks.

The movie climaxes with a final showdown between Kevin and the two burglars. If you’ve seen The Raid or Dredd you’ll have some idea what happens next. The burglars attempt to ascend a tower block to catch the bloodthirsty child. Things go very bad and here’s where the torture porn comes in. Among the sick ways that Kev tries to kill the unlucky victims are:

– repeatedly smashes Marv in the head with bricks
– fires staples into Harry’s testicles
– drops an iron on Marv’s face
– sets Harry on fire
– electrocutes Marv with an arc welder

There are many more forms of stomach-churning torture that really gives Hostel and Saw a run for their blood money. If you think about it Kevin is like a peer of other horror movie bad guys like Freddie Krueger and Jason Voerhees. Essentially he’s the original Jigsaw from Saw. Don’t get me wrong, Home Alone 2 is a great, Christmassy, fun, wish fulfilment fantasy and I watch it every year. My point is if you look really closely the movie becomes the perfect companion piece to Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.

Which in my book is a good thing. So remember – John Hughes invented torture porn with a children’s movie which makes him a subversive genius.

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**FYI: Mike is still accepting entries for a Blogathon he’s planning over at Screenkicker. All you need to do is “a piece about a movie and/or actor from where you live or where youโ€™re from”. You can find the full details of this Blogathon HERE. Sounds like good fun, Mike! ๐Ÿ™‚

Home Alone (1990) Guest Review

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This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Rob of MovieRob. Thanks for the review, Rob! Let’s see what he thinks of Home Alone. ๐Ÿ™‚

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“Bless this highly nutritious microwavable macaroni and cheese dinner and the people who sold it on sale. Amen.” – Kevin McCallister

Number of Times Seen โ€“ 1 (3 Mar 2014)

Brief Synopsis โ€“An 8 Year old kid gets left at home by accident when his family travels to France for Christmas. He must try to find a way to fend for himself and to keep 2 bumbling burglars from robbing his house.

My Take on it โ€“ Surprising, I have never seen this whole movie from start to end before I sat down to watch it for CPD’s amazing John Hughes Blogathon.

I have never been the biggest fan of Macaulay Culken and didn’t really think this movie would be enjoyable on a whole. Some of the clips I had seen in the past were funny, but I didn’t believe that they could keep it up for 100 minutes.

I put all my negative thoughts aside when I sat down with the hope of giving this one a chance.

In retrospect, I can now say that this movie was enjoyable to watch, but I don’t see myself wanting to watch it again in the near (or maybe even distant) future.

Hughes does a great job placing all the puzzle pieces at the beginning of the movie to make most of the plot seem plausible. I can conceivably believe that two large families traveling together and in a rush to catch a plane (yes, post-9/11, they wouldn’t have a chance of getting on that plane to France) would forget a kid. No parent, myself included would admit to having such a thing happen to them, but Hughes’ writing makes it at least seem plausible if not possible.

The burglars staking out the place dressed as cops and the lax security systems of the late 80’s also helps move the idea of the plot along.
When I think about it, the last few comments that I made actually prove that the concept of this movie and the way it was done is so timely and only worked up until 1990 or so because of all the technological advances since then. This is one of the few Hughes movies that I can currently think of that isn’t timeless and couldn’t be re-made well enough today. (I’m not advocating Hughes remakes or any remakes for that matter.)

Being the parent of a 9 year old and an 8 year old, I can’t imagine either of them or any of their friends for that matter being able to survive like Culken did over 4 days all alone. I’m not sure if this says something about today’s youth or something about the implausibility of a young kid being able to fend for himself so well.

I’m aware that I’m a strong advocate for suspension of disbelief when watching a movie, but I usually refer to unexplained science in a movie or things that might be plausible in certain movie worlds, but here I’m referring to the fact that very few (if any) 8 years olds could act as independent as Culkin does here and that actually somewhat disappoints me.

Besides that, the slapstick humor in this movie is great whether it be the ways Culken fends off the burglars, the way he can perfectly use a VCR remote to get a pizza or even the way he searches the house for things to do worked well.

This movie also has its sentimental parts, but I had a lot of trouble sympathizing with the mother and her quest to get back home and also with the caricature of the neighbor Old man Marley (perhaps a reference to Jacob Marley since this takes place around Christmas????) who is used as a plot device similar to the furnace to show us that even though he can fend for himself, he is still a kid who fears things only a kid would be able to fear. His character tho is not developed at all and his appearance at the end is strange if not inexplicable.

Nice cameo by John Candy here.

Bottom Line – As enjoyable as this was, I think Hughes was much better at creating teenage characters as opposed to younger ones and I’m quite glad he didn’t make too many from a kids perspective. Recommended!

Rating โ€“ Globe Worthy