With the holidays coming closer each day, it’s also Home Alone season. Every year, there’s a few Christmas movies many of us revisit and for many of us, the Home Alone movies are high on the list. This year, there’s an addition to the franchise with Home Sweet Home Alone starring Archie Yates as Max Mercer, a 10-year-old boy who finds himself in similar circumstances as Kevin McCallister during the Christmas season. The movie is its own thing, but it certainly pays homage to the 1990 original through a number of references throughout the movie.
If you’re curious about the specific times Home Sweet Home Alone references the original series that starred Macaulay Culkin, look no further. We’ve noted all the major ways the Disney+ release tips its hat to the iconic holiday film.
Angels With Filthy Souls Remake On The TV
How can we forget the old timey movie Kevin McCallister digs up while he’s on his own to watch and eat ice cream in the original movie? It’s called Angels With Filthy Souls, which is actually a movie within a movie based on the real 1938 gangster film Angels With Dirty Faces that starred Humphrey Bogart. Later in the film, Kevin cleverly uses the audio from the movie to order pizza too. In Home Sweet Home Alone, the same lines that involve “no-good keister off my property” are recited on a TV as its viewer complains about why Hollywood bothers with remakes. It’s a super meta joke that CinemaBlend spoke with director Dan Mazer about.
The Return Of Buzz McCallister
In the original movie, Kevin has numerous relatives we meet, one in particular being his older brother Buzz, played by Devin Ratray. They clearly have a bit of an antagonistic sibling relationship in the Home Alone movies. In the new one, Ratray returns to play an adult version of Buzz, who is now a police officer. His name is clearly marked on his uniform, but he also mentions Kevin, sharing that his brother still prank calls him every year and now has his own alarm system company. Ratray is the only actor from the original films to return to the franchise.
The McCallister Home Alarm System
Piggy backing off the return of Buzz, as he points out in the scene where he talks about the whereabouts of his brother these days, he mentions something called a ‘McCallister Home System’ which the home of Archie Yates’ Max is armed by as you can see in the screenshot above. It sounds like Kevin grew up to be an entrepreneur who took his talents and really used them. The ironic part is the MacKenzies pretty easily make their way into his house, so Kevin’s system isn’t necessarily foolproof. And honestly, it doesn't seem that creative either. You tried to connect the dots though, Home Sweet Home Alone and we see you.
Nobody Has A Landline Anymore
This one is super on the nose, but Home Sweet Home Alone is inherently different from the classics because we live in a different age of smartphones and such. That would typically make it more difficult for an incident like Home Alone to happen these days, but this movie does attempt to show that there are some elements to 2021 that could still create this situation. When the Mercer family figures out that they’ve left Max at home, they realize they can’t contact him because landlines simply do not exist these days and it doesn’t seem like Max was given any cell phone device. As Pete Holmes’ Uncle Blake shares, “It’s not 1993,” which is a direct reference to the times the originals were made.
Church Choir Singing O Holy Night
One especially memorable Christmas tune that shows up in Home Alone and Home Sweet Home Alone in similar ways is in terms of the song “O Holy Night.” In the original movie, Kevin is in a church when he sees the choir sing the traditional song and in a callback moment in the new movie, another choir is singing the same song later on in the film as well. The reference takes us back to the mood of the original film and offers up some nostalgia about that excellent original scene directed by Chris Columbus for Home Alone.
How Memory Flashbacks Are Shown
Now this one is a deep cut, but maybe you noticed it. So many of us have seen Home Alone every year for much of our lives so hey, it’s possible. When Kevin first realizes he’s actually home alone, he keeps seeing floating heads of his family who are saying hurtful things about him before realizing he perhaps “wished away” his family after making a wish. And in Home Sweet Home Alone, Ellie Kemper’s character has the same thing happen, leading her to decide to help her husband to get the doll back from Max’s house so they can save their own.
The Slippery Sidewalk
One of the most iconic elements of the first Home Alone movie is when the “Wet Bandits” finally go into Kevin McCallister’s house and are positively floored when they slip on a sticky surface he has created to make it difficult for them to enter his house. In Home Sweet Home Alone, it’s nostalgic to see our new invaders face the same obstacle upon arriving to steal back the doll they think Max stole. When the MacKenzies do get inside, there’s a mix of old and new tricks, one especially new one being the VR scene. We do have to wonder if the McCallister Alarm System did come with a guide book about how to pull off some of those hilarious pranks.
Did you catch all these references? For fans of the original film, it’s interesting to see how so many elements of Home Sweet Home Alone are influenced by Home Alone. The original movie is one of the most iconic Christmas movies of our time, so of course it had some winks to the original. Both generations of Home Alone movies are now available to stream on Disney+.
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