Chris Schulz is the deputy head of entertainment for the New Zealand Herald.

The Great Family Film Poll: Home Alone

Macaulay Culkin circa-1990 was a pint-sized hero for all kids who wanted to be left home alone.
Macaulay Culkin circa-1990 was a pint-sized hero for all kids who wanted to be left home alone.

Here's an admission: I once wanted to be Macaulay Culkin.

Not the Macaulay Culkin who hung out with Michael Jackson, had trouble with drugs and started a desperately terrible band called the Pizza Underground.

No, I wanted to be Macaulay Culkin circa 1990, the time when the most excellent Christmas movie Home Alone came out.

I know, I know, Culkin's a bit of a mess now. But as a 12-year-old just starting to find fault with his parents, Home Alone resonated with me in a big way.

In the film, Culkin's character Kevin is left alone at Christmas by his parents, who manage to pack the car, leave the house and fly to Paris without once checking to see if their 8-year-old son Kevin is with them.

I wanted to be this kid so bad that I would spend hours dreaming about being left alone. I compiled lists of all the things I would do without my parents and my sister around to stop me.

I made lists. I drew diagrams. I even started burglar-proofing our home, just in case it ever happened.

Yes, every burglar-proofing device that Kevin uses to outsmart bandits Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern, I tried at home. With a few variations.

In Home Alone, Kevin booby traps the laundry chute with an iron on a rope.

We didn't have a laundry chute at home, and I wasn't allowed to use the iron, so I tied rope around a rock and set it up above the front door. I think it hit my sister on the shoulder.

In Home Alone, Kevin tars one of the burglars and, using an industrial-sized fan, blows feathers all over him.

We didn't have tar, or a fan, but I spread glue all over a face cloth, flung it at my sister and, using a cardboard tube full of feathers gathered from the back yard, blew them over her face.

In Home Alone, Kevin heats up a door handle with a welding tool so the burglars burn their hands when turning the door knob.

This one was a bit tricky - I didn't want to burn the house down. But I did attempt it by inviting my sister to visit my room at a certain time, then spent 20 minutes pointing a hair dryer set to "high" at the door handle. She didn't even notice.

I never did get left home alone, so my plans never came to fruition. And though Macaulay Culkin is no longer my favourite actor, Home Alone is still my favourite family movie.

- NZ Herald

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