It’s safe to say that every holiday has a movie associated with it. Independence Day has 1776, Halloween has…well Halloween, Thankshiving has Planes, Trains and Automobiles and Christmas has…too many to count. That being said, there is a franchise associated with the time of gift-giving and good cheer that is rightly associated with the holiday; Home Alone. Ever since the first film’s release in 1990, the movies have been seen as holiday classics, aired annually during the month of December. Does a series about a mischievous boy creating elaborate traps to thwart burglars hold up? Let’s find out! Without further ado, here are the best Home Alone movies from worst to best, ranked!
5. Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House (2002)
This straight-to-TV tale is rightfully in last place, infamously considered to be the worst Home Alone film. After protagonist Kevin McCalister’s parents announce they will be divorcing, Kevin heads to his father’s new mansion, where he enjoys luxury after luxury. The only problem? Not-so-cunning thief Marv Merchants plans to get a big payday by robbing the place. The solution? Use high-tech gadgets to thwart the dopey thief, of course!
While it’s understandable that the film’s cast had to be largely replaced, that doesn’t excuse the utter lack of charm that this film has. Indeed, Home Alone 4 seems to have been created solely for the sake of cashing in on the success of the franchise. If that’s not cynical, I don’t know what is.
4. Home Alone: The Holiday Heist (2012)
After the utter critical thrashing that Home Alone 4 received, it only made sense that any plans for a sequel, televised or not, were put on hold. Ten years later, the executives gave the series a second chance with Home Alone: The Holiday Heist. Does it solve the problems that plagued the previous installment, or is it a total Christmas turkey?
For starters, the film makes the wise choice of ditching the series’ previous protagonist Kevin McCalister in favor of newcomer Finn Baxter. Finn, who is a total technology addict, is left home alone night after causing mischief. But when three thieves plan to plunder the house dry, it’s up to Finn to save the day. Can he thwart the dastardly plot?
Home Alone 5 doesn’t quite reach the levels of the earlier films, but it is fun nevertheless. It’ll never be a holiday classic, but it’s certainly no waste of time either.
3. Home Alone 3 (1997)
While technically not a Christmas film, Home Alone 3 IS part of the franchise, so it’s only fair to include it. In this installment, the action shifts to child prodigy Alex Pruitt. After being forced to stay at home while sick, Alex must contend with four thieves who have connections to a North Korean terrorist organization. Can Alex use his nifty inventions to stop the crooks?
Home Alone 3 doesn’t have the charm of the first two films, but it’s a good time spent regardless.
2. Home Alone (1990)
The first film in the franchise, Home Alone kickstarts the plot sequence we all know so well. After the large McCalister family plans to go on vacation, rambunctious Kevin McCalister is sent to his room after a misunderstanding at dinner. The next day, his family forgets to bring him to the airport and he winds up in the titular predicament. Though he enjoys his newfound freedom, Kevin must contend with burglars Marv Merchants and Harry Lyme, who plan to loot his house for all its valuables. Can Kevin’s elaborate traps save the day?
It’s safe to say that Home Alone is a holiday classic. It features memorable characters, a simple, yet engaging setup and hilarious slapstick comedy. It will forever be associated with Christmas and for good reason.
1. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
There are many sequels that outclass the original and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is no exception. Taking the basic structure of the first film and ramping it up to eleven, Home Alone 2 once again features Kevin McCalister being…well, home alone. Except this time, only half of that is true. Kevin is alone, but not at home. Rather, he ends up in the city that never sleeps after a boarding mishap. Free to roam the big apple with his father’s credit card, Kevin once again has the time of his life. But when recently released crooks Harry and Marv plan to rob a toy store, can Kevin recreate his knack for making comically painful traps?
Home Alone 2 takes what worked about the first film and upped the ante on all fronts. The setpieces are bigger, the stakes higher and the traps even MORE comically painful than in the first film. Sometimes, getting the same thing isn’t bad and this film is proof of that. If I could only watch one of these films for the rest of my life, it’d surely be this one.