Honest Movie Review: ‘Home Alone 3’ Much More Thrilling Than the First 2, Just Less Classic (But the 4th Is an Absolute Turd)
Deep into 1997’s Home Alone 3, Alex Pruitt (Alex D. Linz) tells his pet rat, Doris, “No matter how old they are, no matter how big they are, they can’t beat me here. They can’t beat me at home.” In addition to international terrorists, Pruitt was fruitlessly battling the legacy of an invisible enemy: Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin). The third entry in the iconic franchise was the first (and only film) not to feature the McCallister family. Returning was John Hughes, who penned not a reboot or spinoff, but a unique (yet vaguely familiar) thing. However, its shortcomings prompted the studio to recast the McCallisters for its turdtastic made-for-television sequel, Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House (2002). In this Honest Movie Review, we look at how Home Alone 3, while lacking the hallmarks of a classic, was much more than thrilling than the first two.
Cover Photo: Twentieth Century Fox
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From Korea With Love ('Home Alone 3' Has Terrorists)
The best way to sell anyone on Home Alone 3 is to hit them with a quick synopsis: "the new kid on the block” defends his home against criminals working for a North Korean terrorist organization. That’s right, terrorists. When Alex’s mom (Haviland Morris) prepares to leave him home alone (with the chickenpox) he asks, if he should be afraid of “dragons, giant spiders, mummies, the living dead... and other figments of [his] imagination? Social unrest? Boredom…I hear it’s deadly in old folks.” Not even Alex imagined he’d be battling treachery on an international level. He was just afraid Mrs. Hess was “going to get tanked up on iced tea and make him smoke cigarettes.”
Shoot To Thrill
While Kevin McCallister prevents mere burglary, sparks a blood feud, and receives pep talks from bird ladies, Alex protects the livelihood of many, gets the girl (or rather saves the old lady), and a six-figure reward from the federal government. For a kid suffering from chronic “slamming the toilet seat on his thing again,” Alex is a genius when it comes to fucking with four true-blue baddies: Alice (Rya Kihlstedt), Petr Beaupre (Aleksander Krupa), Burton Jernigan (Lenny Von Dohlen), and David Thornton). Alex rigs a spring-loaded boxing glove to punch Petr in the jewels (prompting his gun to go off), electrocutes Burton and Earl, launches a lawnmower at Burton—which should have killed him. Everything Alex does should have killed these guys.
If Nobody's Gonna Do Anything About This, I'll Just Have To Do It Myself
You also have to admire Alex aka thee whose chickenpox dare not itch. After seeing criminals break into his neighbors' house, he calls the police. Side note: every time these cops show up, it’s like the climax of Fox’s new serial drama (whatever they’re airing now). Intense music plays, guns are out, and doors are kicked down (repeatedly). Overzealous law enforcement aside, no one believes Alex when he says that criminals are terrorizing the neighbor—not even his mother. According to his siblings (one of which includes Scarlett Johansson), he’s stained the family name. Instead of being deterred or scratching his pox ad nauseam, he puts on a brave face and protects the neighborhood.
'Home Alone 3's Plot Is In Full Focus
Near the end of the movie, Petr watches a parrot light the fuse of an array of fireworks, blowing him into oblivion. Harry Line (Joe Pesci) and Marv Merchants (Daniel Stern) walked away from Kevin’s antics. When cops show up (again) in Home Alone 3, the bad guys have chickenpox. Who trained this kid? Batman. All of the focus in Home Alone 3 is on Alex’s vigilantism. There are far fewer subplots. Unlike Home Alone’s Old Man Marley and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York’s Bird Lady, Mrs. Hess’ puts the entire story in motion—she accidentally takes the antagonists’ bag at the airport. This makes Home Alone 3 a faster film.
Home Alone 3’s departure from the trappings of the first two proved too dramatic; it isn’t a Christmas film and didn’t feature any beloved characters, related plot-lines, or John Williams’ iconic score. Instead of Chris Columbus’ steady direction, Home Alone 3 was Raja Gosnell’s directorial debut. Many things contributed to Home Alone 3’s "failure." However, Home Alone 4 didn’t even have a John Hughes’ screenplay. That film was presented as in-continuity with the first two movies. It follows “Kevin McCallister” (Mike Weinberg) upset in the wake of his parents’ divorce, trying to decide where to celebrate Christmas. Then, “Marv” (French Stewart) shows up and suddenly Kevin has to prevent a prince from being abducted. As previously stated, it’s a complete turd. A McCallister cash grab. You can watch the entire movie on YouTube without any copyright claims—it’s so bad, even its creators abandoned it. Home Alone 3 isn’t perfect but at least it tries to be something new. Still, it’s no classic.
No Matter How Old Or Big They Are, They Can't...
Home Alone and Home Alone 2 are too big to beat. Sure, Alex is sympathetic while Kevin comes off as bratty with an irresponsible family but the latter is a catalyst for charm. It’s through dysfunction that Kevin comes to appreciate his family for all their shortcomings—he’d rather spend Christmas with them than without (something we can all relate to right now). On top of that, no criminals will ever bumble better than the Wet Bandits, moms will never be as endearing as Catherine O’Hara, fathers as forgetful John Heard (even if they do forget their pants), big brothers as douchey as Devin Ratray, and being home alone will never be as fun as it was with Macaulay Culkin...no matter how many times Alex slams the toilet seat on his thing.
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