I know too much about the plot of Home Alone. I have watched it more than once, not out of real desire but because I grew up in the ’90s and it was ubiquitous. It seemed like it was airing constantly, and as a result even when I stopped being entertained by the silly slapstick of the film I still saw scenes, because if you were in the same room as a television in December of 1992, you saw Home Alone.
Which leads me to this comic which made its way around recently, made by Jen Lewis of Buzzfeed.
As someone born in 1985, I can say Jen Lewis fundamentally does not understand the plot of Home Alone.
The main arc of the film is that Kevin McAllister, the character played by Macaulay Culkin, does not like his family, until he has spend most of the film without them (and defeated a couple burglars via elaborate traps.) At the beginning of the film, where such a scene would take place, he is actively happy that his family isn’t there. He has made his family disappear, this is what he’s wanted, because he hates his family. The first half of the film is him celebrating having an empty house to himself, he is excited that his family has disappeared and instead of trying to contact the airport, the police, some relatives, his parents or anything like that, he spends the entire time doing all the stuff he wasn’t allowed to do with his family in the house. He isn’t going to send a text.
The problem with Lewis’ comic, and in fact her entire article, is that it assumes the possession of a phone changes the behavior of characters. Lewis also suggests that phone alarms would negate the “everyone’s late due to a power outage” plot point. Except, it doesn’t, because it assumes this disorganized mess of a family would remember to charge their phones or set their alarms. The family is also excessively late in the sequel, they don’t learn their lesson, no amount of technology is going to change their fundamental nature.
Home Alone is far from a good movie, but its internal logic wouldn’t change with the introduction of a cell phone. The film is based around the inherent awfulness of the family at the film’s center. No amount of phones can fix that, which means no amount of phones can change the plot of the movie.