Home Alone

Question: Maybe I missed it, but did the McAllisters even bother to call home? I don't remember them calling the house at all. Why wouldn't that be the first thing they do? Kevin seems to be pretty independent for his age. He might have not answered the door, but I'm sure he would have answered the phone.

Carl Missouri

Chosen answer: They did but the power and phone lines were down due to a tree branch that had fallen on them the night before the family left. A flight attendant on their plane mentions that attempts had been made to call the McAllisters' home but "the phones are still out of order".

Jeff Swanson

But how did he call the police at the end if the phone lines were down.

That was several days later. Clearly the phone lines were repaired over the course of the film.

The film takes place over 3 or 4 days.

Ssiscool Premium member

After the storm the lineman tells them the power has been restored but the phone lines are "a mess" and that it would take several days to get them fixed. They were out initially, and then in various stages of repair afterward.

Also explains calling for a pizza.

Ssiscool Premium member

It's ridiculous though that the phones are apparently working by the time they land (Kate's SIL calls everyone on their street). Yet none of them try the house again.

Answer: The phone lines were fixed by the end of the movie. Remember, this takes place over the course of several days.

Answer: That is also how Kevin was able to order his cheese pizza from Little Nero's.


Question: If Old Man Marley is actually a nice man (and not a "shovel slayer" as Buzz claims) then why does he always give Kevin that cold, creepy stare? After Kevin ran away the first time wouldn't he want to talk to Kevin the next time, to assure him that everything is okay?

Answer: Marley appears that way mostly because the audience sees him from Kevin's point of view. Marley is miserable and sad because he is estranged from his family, but we see him as a crotchety, unpleasant person because that is what Kevin believes. Buzz had tainted Kevin's opinion of him by spreading the false stories that a gullible Kevin believed were true.

raywest Premium member

Answer: Because he's understandably angry that Kevin's so unreasonably scared of him and assumes the worst in him without even getting a chance to know him. He never gets a chance to talk to him, because he always runs away too quickly. The first time he gives him that stare was when Kevin was watching him shovel from the window. Nobody would like to be stared at like that while doing a simple task.


Question: Why was Kevin's family so mean to him?

Answer: I think it was a way to make leaving him "home alone" more realistic and understandable as opposed to absurd. Being perceived as a brat/pest and annoying to be around, it is (somewhat) conceivable that none of the family members would be eager to have Kevin by their side. This "frees" all of them from noticing that Kevin isn't with them. Everyone would just assume that Kevin is somewhere among them and each be glad they didn't have to sit next to him on the way to the airport or during the long flight.


Answer: The ones who were mean just saw Kevin as a brat. However, it's not uncommon in situations of being in an overcrowded house to easily lose one's patience and temper and become frustrated with small, but irritating things; which seems to happen to his mother. Buzz just has that general big brother contempt for his kid brother, but obviously still loves him, along with everyone else in the family, at the end when he finds out Kevin is safe.


Nuts to that. They all could've tried a little harder, that's one lame excuse for treating someone like garbage and I come from a good sized bunch who've done the same to me. You also forget his uncle didn't care about him regardless of the situation.


Like it or not the answer is perfectly valid. Families have different dynamics. Kevin is something of a brat (he calls his mother "dummy" and openly wishes he didn't have a family), as are his brothers and sisters, especially Buzz. I for one have TWO uncles in my family who behave just like the uncle in the movie. We don't invite them over, but we've had similar situations to what's depicted in the film.

Hey I've had three uncles, father's older brothers, he hated all three of them, cared only when they started dying. Yeah the dynamics and all, my mother has stated "You ruined this family" though this bunch didn't need my help in being messed up. My sympathies to you Mr Hoffman, your uncles Dustin and Philip Seymour must be/been terrible, just kidding only on the famous names there, no offense meant.


It's just a movie! The characters are fictional and were given contrived, exaggerated, over-the-top personalities to fit the comedic plot. It's pointless to compare them to real-life family dynamics.

raywest Premium member

Exactly. It's done for entertainment.

Ssiscool Premium member

Question: When Kevin is shooting Buzz's Starting Lineup figures down the laundry shoot with the BB gun, who are the two figures left of the spatula? I know the one on the far right is Larry Bird, and I believe next to Bird is Walter Payton.

Phaneron Premium member

Chosen answer: Yes, Walter Payton. The other two are Babe Ruth and Steve Largent.


Question: Why did it take so long for the police to arrive at the Murphy's House since Kevin called 911? Since he called them we went through the Spider Scene, Kevin cutting the rope, Marley rescuing Kevin and then after he returned Kevin home the cops finally arrived. Why did it take them so long to arrive?

Answer: A lot of things come into play during a police call and it's not all cut and dry. Proximity of units to the call, other calls happening at the same time, severity of other calls, location of backup units, etc. Realistically, anything under 10 minutes is considered a fast response time. I've personally waited in upwards of 40 minutes for police response at my job.

Answer: A lot of things happened after Kevin called the police but all of these things took place pretty quickly. And the movie is set in a suburban area so it took the police more time to get there that it would've taken, say, downtown.

Lol, suburban police respond in minutes. Big city police, even downtown precincts, can take 30 minutes or more.

Answer: This is just one of many inconsistent and/or unrealistic details in this movie. Police would normally respond to an emergency call much sooner. If the movie were more realistic however, the plot could not play out in the funny way that it does.

raywest Premium member

What's unrealistic about it? There's a caller claiming to be in the house which is a possible hostage situation. In that case, you would want as many officers as you could get on scene, emergency call or not.

Answer: There had been a hoax call that evening already so perhaps this is actually much more accurate than initially thought.

Answer: Suburban cops usually do not respond quickly.


Question: Why did Kevin's mother take him to the third floor instead of his own room?


Answer: Possibly because with so many family members staying in the same house, in order to all fly to France together, one or more of his relatives were sleeping in his room and he was relegated to the attic; it's likely a sacrifice forced on him rather than one offered to him. As is common with young children, they often get the short end of the stick compared to their older, more mature siblings and are given a lesser degree of latitude and independence.

Cubs Fan Premium member

Answer: Earlier in the film it's mentioned that Kevin is sleeping in the hide-a-bed with Fuller. So it was pre-arranged where everyone was going to be sleeping. The hide-a-bed was on the 3rd floor. I don't think they mentioned who was sleeping in Kevin's room. I've been in similar situations (where several families are staying in one house) and kids' rooms are either given to an adult couple, or girls in one room, boys in another, etc.


Question: How come Kevin never told his parents or his family about the Wet Bandits? He also never told them in the sequel either.


Answer: If your kid came to you and said he single handedly captured to two robbers, you'd believe him.

Answer: He never tells them onscreen, nor does the movie give any indication that they know, but realistically, Kevin was a witness to their crimes, and he would be called in to give statements and testimonies in order to put them away. So his parents would have to know about his encounters with them, otherwise it would be a major plot hole. Perhaps the film-makers thought it would be funnier and more in line with his character for Kevin to be secretive about it.

Phaneron Premium member

Not necessarily. The police caught them red-handed and one of the cops said their habit of flooding houses was proof as to which houses they hit. It's possible no-one knew Kevin's connection.

Brian Katcher

Mr. Marley, the elderly next-door-neighbor, knew about it. He, too, was also a witness. It's highly unlikely that it would not come out that Kevin had some involvement. The burglars did break into the McCallister house, further adding to their crimes.

raywest Premium member

Question: Harry burns his hand by touching a red hot doorknob, and then cools it off by putting in the snow. In real life, wouldn't putting in his hand in the snow make the burn worse?

Answer: Yes, on major burns you never want to use ice or cold water because it can further damage the tissue and water can cause bacterial infections. A 2nd degree burn on the hand is considered a major burn. However, in the context of the film not only would Harry not know this and seek for immediate relief, we don't really see the extent of the tissue damage so we don't know how much the ice affected it.


Would Harry have gotten a 2nd degree burn if the door knob was as hot as shown in the movie?

He definitely would have gotten 2nd degree burns, more likely 3rd degree given the handle was shown to be red hot. Although it should be noted, the red glow would indicate the handle was over 900°F and at that temp, the door itself would probably have caught fire before Harry touches the doorknob.


Answer: Putting ice or cold water on a burn provides immediate temporary relief. It wouldn't make the burn worse.

Question: After Harry and Marv are taken away, how would Kevin have been able to get the tar off the steps in the basement? The other traps are quite easy but to remove tar would be nearly impossible.

Answer: There's no reason that Kevin would be the one removing this, not could he. At some point, his family would know about him protecting the house. His parents would have the steps professionally cleaned or replaced.

raywest Premium member

There is no evidence to suggest that Kevin ever told his family about the wet bandits.

Considering the police were involved at the end, as well as the next-door-neighbor, and the two burglars were arrested in the house across the street, it's highly unlikely the parents would not, at some point, know what happened and Kevin's involvement. Kevin is a witness to the criminal activity. Also, the parents would also question why the steps were covered in tar.

raywest Premium member

Answer: Remember his neighbour takes him home so maybe he helped with the cleaning. He may have also helped with the tar on the steps as well, but they just didn't show it.

Question: I have never understood the scene where Kevin questions the store clerk about the toothbrush (whether the brush is approved by the American Dental Association). It just seems odd for him to be concerned with this. Am I missing something?

Answer: It has nothing to do with the plot. This is just a humorous bit that shows Kevin's quirky personality and thought process. He focuses on small, odd details that most kids his age would never notice. It shows how he is able to devise the rather unique plan to combat the would-be robbers. Even Kevin's father comments about what a funny (as in peculiar) kid he is.

raywest Premium member

Question: When Heather is counting the children it appears to me that she counts herself twice as number 3 and 11 - am I correct?

Answer: She does indeed...she counts herself as "3" in the wide shot, and in the shot from inside the van, right after she counts the neighbor kid as Kevin, one can see her tap her own head again and say "11". It's a continuity error (yet still, for some reason, the correct number of kids).

Question: Why does Kevin scream when he slaps the aftershave on his face? He didn't shave so he doesn't have any cuts, so it wouldn't burn at all.

Carl Missouri

Chosen answer: Kevin did shave his face. His skin is sensitive from his first shave so the alcohol in the aftershave makes his face sting. Hence, the screaming.

Shannon Jackson

Answer: The high alcohol content could hurt/sting a very sensitive (such as a kid's) skin even without cuts or abrasions.

Question: When a police officer comes to Kevin's house, the officer rings the doorbell, but since he gets no answer, assumes no one is home. But in real life, wouldn't a policeman break into the house, and then search the house, and then bring the child out of the house, and take to him to his family, just in case a the child did exactly what Kevin did, hiding under the bed or couch? Also wouldn't Kevin's parents get arrested for leaving Kevin behind if the police did find out they left him behind?

Answer: To answer your first question, no. As a right protected under the Fourth Amendment, the police are prohibited from entering a private residence without either a warrant and probable cause or the consent of the homeowner. Since, as you point out, the policeman assumes no one is home, there's no cause to enter; had he heard, say, a cry for help from inside the house, that would constitute an exigent circumstance, an exception that would allow him to enter in order to help someone in imminent danger. To answer your second question, I doubt it. What happened wasn't done deliberately or out of neglect; it was an accident caused by circumstances beyond their control; accidents can, and do, happen.

Cubs Fan Premium member

He did get consent. The mother asked the police to go get him.

Fair point, but the question relates to if such an incident were to occur in real life.

Cubs Fan Premium member

Answer: No she asked for a police officer to be sent to the house to check on Kevin and make sure that he was OK.

Question: Near the end of the movie, Kevin makes the 911 call because of the bandits. Why couldn't he had just done this instead of bothering to set up all the traps in the first place? Was he possibly trying to see if he couldn't kill them first instead, then call? Either way, the police were coming over with the call.

Answer: If Kevin called 911 sooner and was found to be "home alone" he knows the police would probably put him into Child Protective Services, leaving the house unguarded. His parents could face some legal issues for having left him behind. Since the burglars hadn't actually done anything yet, the police could not have taken any action against them. Also, Kevin's a kid. He was not trying to kill the burglars, but by his reasoning, he thinks it's his duty to protect the family's home.

raywest Premium member

Answer: Kevin was afraid to call the police because he had stolen a toothbrush so now considered himself to be a wanted criminal. This is why Kevin didn't want to show his face to the pizza delivery man (since the same man worked at the drug store) and also why Kevin changed his voice when he finally did call 911.

Blair Howden

The pizza delivery boy didn't also work at the drug store. The reason why Kevin didn't show his face to the pizza delivery boy is because he wanted to prank him and make him think a man with a gun was opening fire on him.

Phaneron Premium member

Yet Kevin is happy to call to the police with his real voice near the end of the second movie and is present when the police arrest the Bandits despite being a wanted criminal for stealing a credit card.

Question: I know it's just a movie, but how were Gus Polinski and his wife unable to even realise they left their own son behind at a funeral home, let alone leaving him there all day, as Gus was explaining to Kate near the end of the movie (especially under the assumption that it began the night before during a typical service or even during calling hours)? Surely, any parent with common sense would know not to leave their children unsupervised in an event like that.


Answer: It can be any number of things. High stress. Forgetfulness. Just being tired. Maybe they got hyper focused and it simply slipped their mind. Etc. (And since it's a funeral home in his case, it could be all of those things, plus more.) And it's really not all that uncommon. One survey I found online showed that over 10% of parents admitted to accidentally forgetting their child was in their car with them and leaving them in the back seat. And in another survey, 9% of parents have admitted to accidentally either losing track of or leaving a child behind somwhere while they were out. It just... happens.


Answer: While Gus doesn't state many of the particulars of the event, I've attended numerous funerals where kids are constantly on the move. Going in and out of family rooms, going outside, etc. It's possible to lose track or think they're with another relative. Gus is used to being on the road and isn't always in "Dad mode." My own parents forgot me at school numerous times.

Other mistake: Kevin rides down the stairs on his sled and out the door. He originally lined up the sled at the top of the stairs, but it is clear that the stairs lie to the right of the door. His sled went straight down the stairs, therefore making it impossible to go straight out the door in one movement as shown. (00:25:25)

More mistakes in Home Alone

Check-Out Woman: Are you here all by yourself?
Kevin McCallister: Ma'am, I'm eight years old. You think I would be here *alone*? I don't think so.

More quotes from Home Alone
Home Alone trivia picture

Trivia: When Kevin is in Buzz's bedroom, he finds in the box a picture of Buzz's girlfriend. This is actually a picture of the art director's son dressed up to look like a girl, because the director, Chris Columbus, thought it would be too harsh to make fun of a girl like that.

More trivia for Home Alone

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