Despite what my dad says, Home Alone is one of the essential Christmas movies. Macaulay Culkin was born to play Kevin McCallister (if, perhaps, for little else), who in the original kid-boobytraps-house-to-outwit-criminals tale is the perfect blend of precocious and likable. The movie fires on every facet: deftly delivering comedy both physical and character-driven, conjuring the best of suburban Christmastime, an utterly charming and believable cast, integrating an authentic pain and sadness, and a family love that pays off cathartically in the end.
An informal litmus test for my favorite pieces and moments of music is whether the music bypasses my inhibitions, and liberates me to act like an utter fool while enjoying it. A representative picture of this would be of me driving in my car, suddenly compelled to turn the music up to a deafening volume, crank up the air conditioning to the wind tunnel setting (for a physical rush that matches the emotional), and beat upon my steering wheel in rhythm with the song like a violent primate. Picture me doing this while singing along with abandon at my voice’s loudest register, eyes closed in euphoric bliss (but not enough to endanger myself or other drivers).