Stuff I Watch in December: Home Alone 4 (2003)

Happy Holidays and welcome! We are counting down the days until December 25th and, in that time, I will be reviewing each and every Christmas/holiday film I watch during the month. They’re mostly a selection of films in my own library or films and shows that have been recommended to me.

Please enjoy and leave a comment!

And if you missed any of our past reflections, take a look:

Holiday Inn (1942)
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
The Bishop’s Wife (1947)
White Christmas (1954)
Santa Claus (1959)
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)
Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny (1972)
Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983)
I Believe in Santa Claus (1984)
Lethal Weapon (1986)
Die Hard (1988)
Ernest Saves Christmas (1988)
Scrooged (1988)
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
Home Alone (1990)
Die Hard 2 (1990)
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown (1992)
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
Jingle All the Way (1996)
The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)
Home Alone 3 (1997)
Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas (1999)
Olive the Other Reindeer (1999)
Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales (2002)
I Want a Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown (2003)
Elf (2003)
Love, Actually (2003)

Our next film is…

WATCHING: Home Alone 4 (2003)

home alone 4

DIRECTOR: Rod Daniel, who started out directing the 1980’s film Teen Wolf. You can read more about Daniel in the article I’ve linked.

WHAT IS IT?: The fourth film in the now-tired Home Alone franchise.

THE PLOT: Peter McAllister, father of Kevin, Buzz, and Megan McAllister, is waiting for his divorce from his former wife, Kate, to be finalized. In the meantime, he invites his former family to come to a Christmas get-together at his new girlfriend’s place. After Kate, Buzz, and Megan tell their dad to go to hell, Kevin accepts because he’s sick of being bullied by buzz and treated like crap at home.

At first, everything is gravy for Kevin who has his own big room, with kick-ass technology and a huge space to run around in. But, after seeing his old foe, Marv (of the Wet Bandits) and his wife casing the mansion, his survival instincts kick in and he decides he has no choice but to defend his dad’s new place…only, this time, Peter’s butler seems to be against him as well and his new stepmom isn’t buying his attitude either.

WHAT DID CRITICS THINK?: They thought the film was an abysmal failure — and cheap-looking to boot.

WHAT DID I THINK?: I tried to keep an open mind with Home Alone 4. I could barely get through it. What can you say about a sequel which was produced for TV because Fox didn’t want to make another Home Alone film only to see it die in theaters?

Let me count the ways…

  • The film brings back Kevin, Megan, and Buzz — the characters, not the actors. Even Daniel Stern took a look at the script and said “Fuck that, I’m out.” I kid you not.
  • The film’s timeline is murky and doesn’t work: Buzz, Megan and Kevin are all supposedly “one year older”. Kevin says he’s 9. In Home Alone 2, he’s 10. In the original, he’s 8…so, are we to assume this takes place in between Home Alone 1 & 2? Ok, fine. So, why does this take place during Christmas if Kevin was in New York the very next year? He even says, in Home Alone 2, “This happened to me last year!” Are we honestly led to believe that, In between Home Alone and Home Alone 2, Kate and Peter got a divorce, and then got back together before Home Alone 2?! Even if you say, “This takes place after the first two films”, that doesn’t work considering the McCallister kids’ ages. Did nobody think about this? Did nobody on the continuity crew watch the first two movies?!
  • Kevin is never actually left “home alone”. He just sets traps and springs them — and the “traps” aren’t even traps. They’re part of the mansion.
  • Marv has a Chicago accent and is nowhere near as dopey or empathetic as he was in the first two films. It doesn’t help that French Stewart overacts the hell out of the role — and he resembles Harry more than Marv.
  • There’s literally zero reason why Kevin’s parents should even get back together other than to put a bow on this shitty confection of a film.
  • There are these really bad digital “wipe” transitions between scenes that make the film appear as if it was edited with iMovie or a Windows video editing freeware. It’s so sad.
  • The film is supposed to take place in Chicago in the winter…but you can see palm trees in a scene. The film was shot in South Africa.

This film is a steaming pile of garbage. It’s like watching a Hallmark Christmas film made by drunken orangutans.

Avoid Home Alone 4 at all costs.

GRADE: F

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