The Surprisingly Violent Booby Traps of ‘Home Alone’ Turn 30
Nothing brings the family together like watching Joe Pesci getting set on fire by a psychotic 8-year-old. Few films capture the wonder of suburban childhood fantasies quite like Home Alone. It has heart, slapstick violence and a stellar John Williams score. It’s one of the most profitable holiday movies of all time and one of the most memorable films of 1990. For 21 years, it was the highest-grossing live-action comedy. It spawned a whole franchise of films and is currently being rebooted.
However, the fates of its cast have been mixed. Some have gone on to become big stars, while others have faced tragedy. The film’s breakout star, Macaulay Culkin, battled the effects of fame at a young age. We catch up with him and the other cast members on the film’s 30-year anniversary. If you haven’t seen Home Alone in a while, there are many names on this list that might surprise you.
Photo: Twentieth Century Fox
Macaulay Culkin survived the curse of the child star, abusive kleptomaniac parents and a childhood friendship with Michael Jackson. When he’s not acting in TV shows like Dollface or films like Changeland, he’s the frontman for the Pizza Underground, which — no joke here — covers Velvet Underground songs but makes the lyrics all about pizza.
Catherine O’Hara’s portrayal of Kevin’s mom grounds Home Alone emotionally and is a big part of why it endures as a classic to this day. Now she plays a much "Schittier" mom in the delightful TV comedy Schitt’s Creek.
John Heard plays Kevin’s dad, the movie’s hapless straight man, with a subtle comedic genius. He died in 2017, but he’d filmed five movies that have been completed posthumously including HBO’s 2018 film The Tale.
Devin Ratray portrays Buzz, Kevin’s older brother who sort of causes the whole movie’s misadventure. Ratray continues to portray memorable characters like Tinfoil Kevin from The Tick and Stephen in 2019’s Hustlers.
Angela Goethals plays Kevin’s disapproving older sister, delivering gingersnap clapbacks with charming ease. This actress is no one’s red-headed stepchild, having been in blockbusters like Jerry Maguire and many dozens of TV shows over the years.
When Joe Pesci’s character Harry gets an M burned on his hand, we almost felt bad for him. Pesci has been tortured and murdered in many films, but he’s found new life in Netflix’s The Irishman.
Daniel Stern played one half of the blundering crime duo attempting to invade Kevin’s home and got a BB pellet right in the face for his troubles, plus hot tar on his feet. He still does TV work and the occasional movie role, but also has directed and recently made a hilarious short film called City Slickers in Westworld.
John Candy slayed in lederhosen as the leader of a Polish band that helps reunite Kevin McCallister with his mom. Sadly, the man passed away four short years later, though he left many iconic performances as a legacy.
Blonde beauty Hope Davis played the French ticket agent dealing with Kevin’s mom as she battled to return home. Davis has worked steadily since, acting in critically acclaimed masterpieces like Synecdoche, New York or more recently in TV shows such as Strange Angels, For the People and Your Honor.
It might be easier to list what legendary character actor Larry Hankin hasn’t been in than what he has since Home Alone. He played a cop in the 1990 comedy but has also played a hit man in HBO’s Barry, a pastor in the 2013 film Pain and Gain and Old Joe in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie.