Home Alone vs. Today’s Technology

Home Alone is perhaps the Christmas classic of the ’90s…but would it have worked with today’s technology?

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The surprise hit of the 1990 holiday season (and featured on our list of favorite holiday comedies), Home Alone’s popularity (and that of it’s equally-enjoyed sequel) has only blossomed thanks to VHS and DVD sales and countless airings on television from November through January. My sister and I loved the first movie so much, we watched it all year long! My dad continues to quote Angels with Dirty Faces (the fake movie Kevin watches despite previously being told “If Uncle Frank says “no”…it must be really bad”) to this day and recently told me it is his all-time favorite Christmas movie.

If you have never seen Home Alone, rush out to your local Target for a copy or rent or stream it on your preferred device immediately! Home Alone is the story of bratty Kevin McAllister whose family is preparing to leave for Paris for the holidays and accidentally leave him behind! Kevin must brave a frightening basement, do his own laundry and grocery shopping and defend his home against a pair of the worst burglars in movie history.

Part of the movie’s charm are the fashions so popular in the early ’90s, and the lack of modern technology that would make Kevin’s adventures and misadventures completely impossible. So here I am, spoiling one of my favorite movies with the advent of smart phones, fast internet and other gadgets the last 26 years have brought us.

Surveillance Systems

The McAllisters live in a beautiful, mammoth brick house in a Chicago suburb that sold for a cool $1.5 million in 2012 (yes, it’s a real house!). Surely, any responsible homeowner would have several cameras trained on the property and its contents which would have included iPads, laptops and tablets, the finest Bluetooth speakers and an expensive juicer or two in the year 2016.

The addition of cameras inside and outside the home would have captured images of Harry (one half of “The Wet Bandits”) posing as a police officer and later, Harry and Marv’s attempted break-ins. Many surveillance systems now include an application you can access from your smart phone (more on those later) which would have allowed the McAllisters to check on Kevin as they made their way home to him.

A closed-circuit camera system would have likely prevented Kevin from becoming “a criminal” thanks to the shoplifting of a toothbrush that may or may not have been approved by the American Dental Association. The idea of being seen on camera escaping payment might have been enough to deter a potential thief, no matter how scary old man Marley might be. It can be assumed that if he had not been running from a bumbling police man and a stock boy who takes his job much too seriously, he would have been paying closer attention to the road and he likely never would have run into Harry and Marv in their van.

Cell Phones and Tablets

I ask myself what I would do without a cell phone at least twice a day. The convenience of instant communication with important people has changed our lives irreversibly and would have such an impact on this beloved movie that the film would be over in just a few minutes.

Firstly, Kevin and his family would have set several alarms ahead of their TransAtlantic vacation. Although the power goes out in the middle of the night, surely one of the many teenagers in the home would have had a fully-charged mobile device equipped with several alarms to ensure they woke up on time. After all, it is the initial rush out the door and Kevin’s banishment to the third floor the night before that seals his fate. Cell phones obviously would have made contacting Kevin a snap and his parents could check up on him at-will and assure him that his mother was on her way to comfort him.

Cell phones also would have made it possible to get in touch with a neighbor who may have been out shopping — or in Mr. Marley’s case endlessly shoveling (and not away on vacation, as the entire block is presumed to be) — who could have watched him until Mrs. McAllister’s arrival. Think of how fast Kevin could have called the police with an iPhone in his hand! Thanks to his smartphone, Kevin could have summoned an Uber for his solo trip to the grocery store!

As an eight-year-old, Kevin may or may not have had his own cell phone. In this day and age though, Kevin certainly would have  had access to an alternate device such as a tablet. A FaceTime application would have been the perfect solution for the McAllisters! I can’t help but picture Kevin Snapchatting his friends pictures of him gorging himself on a mountain of ice cream or riding a sled down the stairs, but his fun would be short-lived as he would have several adults aware that he was without supervision.

Internet

Oh the things we’ve learned thanks to the wonderful invention of the internet! The internet would have provided Kevin with some much needed insight into the life of “Old Man Marley” whom his cruel brother Buzz claims is “the shovel slayer…murdered his whole family and half the block.” A quick look at his (hopefully) empty criminal history would have assuaged Kevin’s fears about his lonely neighbor.

Kevin also might have been able to look up reports of burglaries in the area which would have led to a quick arrest for Harry and Marv, who had been stalking Lincoln Avenue.

If nothing else, though, the internet would have presented Kevin with more elaborate and possibly dangerous options for his various traps! Of course, Kevin could have looked up an ADA-recommended toothbrush and had his groceries delivered to his Christmas-color-wallpapered fortress thanks to the internet. He also could have investigated the stinging side-effects of aftershave on WebMD. However, the results of that search would not have been all that helpful…

Home Alone is one of the rare films that truly makes you suspend your beliefs for 90 minutes. It does not seem to matter that you know full-well children cannot legally be left alone without their parents facing stiff consequences or that criminals are not nearly as gullible and goofy as they are portrayed in this Christmas classic.

There is no better movie brat than Macaulay Culkin and no one had a more hilarious, polka-loving cameo than John Candy. Add a festive sprinkle of holiday songs and a brilliant score by none other than John Williams and you’ve got a magical, family-friendly comedy. I pray to the movie gods that this movie that brings back so many memories of my sister and I giggling from our seats on the living room floor is never remade.

Who needs technology when you’ve got a movie that makes you feel this good? Turn off your phone for a while and remember a time that was much more simple…when all you could ask for in life was a lovely cheese pizza just for you, and your whole family together for the holidays.

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