Home Alone is 25 years old
SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil (The Philippine Star) - November 5, 2015 - 9:00am

Come Nov. 16, it will be 25 years since the movie Home Alone opened in theaters. Everybody knows Home Alone. Even those of you out there who have yet to see the movie or its equally enjoyable sequel are no doubt familiar with Macaulay Culkin’s now iconic startled face. Home Alone made the then nine year old the most successful child actor in motion picture history. I am sure that there are many of you who recall parents who named their sons, Kevin, just like Culkin in the picture.

 Of course, as everybody who keeps track of Hollywood gossip knows, Culkin did not grow up handsome and happy. His years since Home Alone have mostly been problematic. Things have been quiet from his front for quite a while now. I hope that means he has learned to cope with his issues. But for all of us who enjoy watching movies, Culkin will forever be the ingenuous, irrepressible, utterly adorable Kevin of Home Alone.

The movie was produced by the late John Hughes who also did Pretty In Pink and The Breakfast Club and was directed by Chris Columbus of Mrs. Doubtfire and Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone. It is about a boy who was accidentally left behind by his entire family and ended up spending Christmas alone. So with no parents keeping an eye on him or older siblings picking on him, Kevin starts to have fun. He does chores, makes friends, plays grown-up and best of all fends off two bumbling burglars played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern. His fight with them is totally hilarious.

I still like watching Home Alone. I still laugh at the cartoony antics. I am still touched by its simple message of goodwill. And I still think Culkin was cute and smart. But what I really adore about it though is the music. The Academy Award-nominated score is by a true master, John Williams. He is the same genius responsible for the memorable music from films like Star Wars E.T., Jaws, Indiana Jones, Schindler’s List, three of the Harry Potter movies and many others. Home Alone did not require music that is majestic, suspenseful or of epic scale but it is certainly filled with the whimsy and joy of the Christmas spirit.

One of the albums I look forward to listening to every Christmas season is Home Alone Christmas. This is made up of the well-chosen tracks used in Home Alone 1 and 2. Included are Christmas classics like All Alone On Christmas by Darlene Love; A Holly Jolly Christmas by Alan Jackson; Silver Bells by Atlantic Starr; Sleigh Ride by TLC; Christmas All Over Again by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers; Please Come Home For Christmas by Southside Johnny Lyon; Carol Of The Bells instrumental by John Williams; O Come All Ye Faithful by Lisa Fischer; and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas by Mel Torme.

All of those titles are Christmas recordings to treasure but the true highlights of the compilation are the beautiful original songs that Williams wrote for the film. These are My Christmas Tree, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas and the Academy Award and Grammy-nominated Somewhere In My Memory. All of them are now considered Christmas standards.

Williams makes movie music that stays inside hearts and minds with passages evoking much-loved screen images. So just as we see a space battle when we hear the Star Wars theme, see the imposing hall of Hogwarts when we hear Harry Potter and imagine bicycles flying up the sky to the moon when we hear ET’s music, we feel Christmas when we hear these songs.

You have the chance to experience a live performance of Home Alone Christmas music using Williams’ very own arrangement on the evening of Dec. 12 at The Theatre of Solaire in The Magic of John WIlliams. Now on its third year, this particular repertoire has proven to be one of the most popular from the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Gerard Salonga. I am not surprised. I do not know anybody who will not enjoy music from Superman, Jaws, ET, Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and others created by Williams.

 This edition of The Magic of John Williams promises to be extra special though because it includes for the first time music from Hook and luckily coinciding with its 25th anniversary the Christmas score from Home Alone. Call Ticketworld for tickets to the show at 891-9999. Jose Mari Chan and Nikki Gil will also be performing.

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