MaCaulay Culkin

Uncle-Buck-Scenes

Maybe it’s because the anniversary fell on the weekend, but it’s shocking how few tributes there are to Uncle Buck turning 25. I know, it’s only John Hughes‘s second-highest-grossing movie as a director (out of eight), and only currently (according to Rotten Tomatoes) the ninth best-reviewed of his movies in any creative capacity (out of 31). I understand that it’s a fairly insignificant comedy without a lot of cultural or historical relevance. It’s just Mr. Mom (scripted by Hughes) without the social contexts of the recession and the rise of women in the workforce that makes that movie an important piece of American cinema. It’s a sitcom that didn’t even translate well to television. A saccharine family film that’s actually not that appropriate for children — and that’s after a cut was made to the theatrical version due to parent complaints (the drunk clown scene was apparently more profane). Uncle Buck might suffer for being sort of sandwiched between two more popular movies: Planes, Trains and Automobiles, which may have inspired John Candy‘s role here, and Home Alone, which is said to have been inspired by a scene with Macaulay Culkin in this movie. Yet speaking of Culkin, he’s one of the reasons that Uncle Buck deserves more recognition. While the movie is primarily a vehicle for Candy and his sloven, ignorant and occasionally violent childcare shtick, it’s most notable for its youngest players, namely Culkin and Gaby Hoffmann, who own every scene they’re in, with or without their large co-star. Their performances are mainly limited to reaction shots, […]

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The holidays are a time for families, gift-giving, and general peace on Earth. Unfortunately, it’s also a time of high crime rates, robberies, and evil-doers who take advantage of the innocent. With all the money being spent at the malls, and how often people leave their own homes during the holidays, these safe havens are often a target for prowlers. Just ask the Wet Bandits, who ran a mostly-successful crime spree in Chicago in the early 1990s, before they were thwarted by eight-year-old Kevin McCallister. However, times are tough, and the economy still isn’t what it should be. Not everyone can afford a new-fangled security system…or even an old-fangled security system that the McCallisters should have had on their home in 1990. There are still plenty of ways to protect your home from prowlers this year, using found items, and a dose of cleverness.

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When people are talking about the best horror movies of all time, they often use the term “horror classic.” I’m not exactly sure how that’s different from a movie that’s just a “classic,” but I think it’s somehow implying that movies where people get decapitated aren’t as good as serious dramas. I often hear the 1976 version of The Omen referred to as a “horror classic,” so I guess what that means is that it’s really good for a movie where people get decapitated. In 1993 a couple of superstar little kids named Elijah Wood and Macaulay Culkin starred in a movie called The Good Son. It’s never been called either a “classic” or a “horror classic,” but that might be because nobody gets decapitated in it.

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I am legitimately worried about I Am Number Four star Alex Pettyfer. Of course, he doesn’t need my concern – the 20-year-old star of director D.J. Caruso’s teen alien flick is on the rise, with two movies in the can (Beastly and Andrew Niccol’s Now) and a slew of others in the works. That’s how Hollywood operates: hone in on young talent, put them in a zillion movies and let it ride. The difficult part is the escape plan, transcending above “it” star to full-fledged “actor.” The pretty faces of Twilight are attempting to keep the ball rolling, while Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter may have already escaped the gravitational pull of teen star suckage – but it ain’t easy. This is why I fear for Pettyfer. He has obvious talent, and I Am Number Four occasionally allows him to play with more than his Teen Beat-worthy pouty faces. But if Pettyfer intends to stick around and grow up into something substantial, he’s going to have to learn an important lesson from fallen heartthrobs and by looking to the past.

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