Where do I begin with Home Alone? Hmmm. The plot? Yes, I may as well just start with the plot. Home Alone is a classic holiday movie about a young boy, Kevin (Macaulay Culkin), who's sick and tired of his loud, obnoxious and rather rude family. He wants nothing more than for them to simply disappear. That is until they do. Well, sort of. As it turns out, his family left for a holiday without him, completely unintentional of course. Jesus, they're not THAT mean. Kevin, who isn't sure of why he's home alone, decides to make the most of his time. That is until two burglars, Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern), try to break into Kevin's house, forcing Kevin to stand up and defend it.
Now, I enjoyed Home Alone a lot when I was a young kid. I thought it was a very entertaining movie, but of course, every kid did when they were young. I even have the DVDs of the first three films in the series, which is why I decided to put this film on for the first time in many many many years. Unfortunately, I enjoyed Home Alone a lot more when I was younger, which is something I'm really sad to say. It fails to hold up, both in terms of comedy and quality, although I'm sure my old DVD has something to do with the second part.
There are undoubtably some very fun scenes in Home Alone, mostly thanks to the clever booby traps made by Kevin, but there's just not enough humour to get me through the film's runtime. Seeing Kevin unleash hell on these burglars is a lot of fun, even if there's no possible way that Kevin could actually come up with plans that genius. Not even I could come up with plans that smart. But most of the other humour just didn't work out too well. It's unfunny and rather awkward to watch, and on occasion, even cringe worthy. Sorry.
When you think about it, Home Alone is really just a PG version of Saw. I presume this has been said before, but hey, I'm willing to taking credit for it because I'm just that sorta guy. Home Alone gets its laughs off people being assaulted and tormented by ingenious traps. Saw does the same thing, except it gets its laughs unintentionally. So yeah, for years now we've been showing our children a Saw movie and not even realising it. Good work humanity.
The cast try, but unfortunately, they fail. I love Joe Pesci as an actor, he stars in my favourite film of all time after all, and in Home Alone, he's easily the best thing about this movie, even though he's still not that great. His performance is fun, although most of the performances in this film are, but his character just exists and is here for a laugh. We don't really know anything about him besides he's clumsy and bad. None of the characters in this film have any real depth, as a matter of fact. Who knows? Maybe I'm just overthinking a movie for children. Or maybe I'm not and maybe this film really just isn't good.
To sum up, Home Alone is a Christmas classic that really shouldn't be a classic. There are some really fun moments to be found, but not enough to fill the runtime. The cast try, but not even Joe Pesci can save them from this rather dull, PG version of a Saw movie.
2 1/2 Stars
Boogie Nights is director Paul Thomas Anderson's second film, and arguably one of his best. It tells the story of Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg), a young man who dropped out of high school so he could have more time to work. That's when he's approached by a man named Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds), a porn director who's interesting in hiring Eddie. He accepts and is soon taken to the set of his first film. From here on out, the film follows his rise and fall as a porn star through the 70s and 80s, and it does so in the most entertaining way possible.
Films about porn can be difficult. From the very few I've seen, and I mean very very few, they seem to be a rather mixed bunch. There are some great ones, such as Zack and Miri Make A Porno, and then there are some not so great ones, like Lovelace. While I enjoy Lovelace for what it is, I can completely understand why it received so much negativity. With these porn films, there's always a restriction on how graphic or explicit they can be, and that's just one of the many problems that arises when dealing with such topics. With Boogie Nights, however, there's no holding back, and because of this, as well as many other things, it's a damn awesome movie.
Taking us on this journey is a very young Marky Mark. I like Wahlberg as an actor. Sure, he's not the most reliable actor when it comes to the film's quality, but no matter how shitty his films get, and trust me when I say they can get pretty shitty, he always brings a much needed charisma and personality to the screen. In Boogie Nights, he suits the part just fine, playing a character that's trying to hide how broken he really is.
Marky Mark is great and all, although the entire cast are too, but it's Phillip Seymour Hoffman who steals the show. I had no idea he was even in this film and so when he graced us with his presence, I gave off a cheer. The moment this character comes on screen you know it's not your typical Hoffman performance, and that's probably because it's not. He steals every scene he's in, even if he doesn't speak a word. His presence is just that notable, and it damn well should be as he gives one of the most odd performances he's ever given.
I have never taken drugs in my life, nor do I intend to, but if I had to guess what a drug addiction would feel like, I think it's safe to say that watching Boogie Nights comes close. For the first hour and a half, Boogie Nights is one hell of a time. It's a deliberately showy movie, but not done so in a pretentious way. Think Scorsese-like showy. It's a riot, never slowing or relaxing, making every moment entertaining. Then a certain event happens and things start to hit the fan. The next hour is a spiralling downhill slope for these characters, and while it's not as fun, it's just as exciting to watch.
To sum up, Boogie Nights is a hilarious, non-stop riot with some absolutely outstanding performances for the first hour and a half and then a more serous, yet just as entertaining journey for the next hour.
4 1/2 Stars