As Christmas rapidly approaches, the annual argument surrounding Christmas movies is picking up steam once again. From cult classics to nostalgia-laden masterpieces, there’s an endless variety of movies imbued with the holiday spirit. But which is the quintessential Christmas movie? It’s an impossible question to answer, but a strong argument could be made for Home Alone, the hilarious and heartwarming holiday romp starring Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, and Daniel Stern.
Both Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York follow a young boy named Kevin McAllister (Culkin) as he fights off nefarious crooks Harry and Marv (Pesci and Stern) using a slew of hysterical and inventive booby traps designed to inflict maximum pain and embarrassment on his nemeses.
In their attempts to best their 8-year-old rival, Harry and Marv face red-hot doorknobs, mounted flame throwers, automated staple guns, and cascading paint cans, just to name a few. And though Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern had stuntmen to face most of the serious danger, it’s the actors’ reactions to the torment that takes the franchise from amusing to side-splitting. As such, the pair took a lot of the punishment themselves.
Joe Pesci Suffered Extensive Injuries Filming the ‘Home Alone’ Movies
In a recent interview with People in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Home Alone 2, Joe Pesci revealed that he didn’t escape the weeks of physical comedy unscathed. Far from it, in fact. But while the majority of the stunts left only bumps and bruises, the flammable toilet water trap in the sequel left him hospitalized.
“In addition to the expected bumps, bruises, and general pains that you would associate with that particular type of physical humor, I did sustain serious burns to the top of my head during the scene where Harry’s hat is set on fire,” Pesci explained.
“I was fortunate enough to have professional stuntmen do the real heavy stunts,” he added.
Despite the bumps, bruises, and burns, however, Joe Pesci wouldn’t exchange his time as Harry for anything. Home Alone 2 was especially fulfilling for the Goodfellas star, as the chemistry between actors developed in the original only grew, making for an even better on-set experience.
The sequel gave “the same, if not more, energy and enthusiasm as the original,” Pesci said. Though Home Alone was a massive success, Lost in New York allowed for “more spontaneity and creativity on the set.”
“It was a nice change of pace to do that particular type of slapstick comedy,” Pesci recalled. “But the Home Alone moves were a more physical type of comedy, [and] therefore a little more demanding.”
Could the Original Cast Return to the ‘Home Alone’ Franchise?
The success of the original two films spawned an entire franchise eventually comprised of six films and three video games. Lost in New York, however, marked the end of Kevin McAllister’s battle against Harry and Marv. The remaining films follow other boys and other villains (technically, Home Alone 4 features Kevin and Marv. But they aren’t played by Culkin and Stern and therefore don’t count).
A return to the original cast after a thirty-year hiatus wouldn’t be unheard of. Joe Pesci, however, believes the magic of the originals can’t be recreated. “While you never say never, I think that it would be difficult to replicate not only the success but also the overall innocence of the originals,” he said. “It’s a different time now. Attitudes and priorities have changed in 30 years.”