We just saw the Home Sweet Home Alone trailer yesterday, marking the sixth movie in the franchise. And it didn’t take viewers long to see, not just a striking resemblance to the original film, but a shot-for-shot match-up through the entire trailer. Consequence over at YouTube did the work for us. Home Sweet Home Alone vs. Home Alone. Go!
Aside from the side-by-side ‘homage’ being paid in Home Sweet Home Alone, directors have been giving props to their heroes since the beginning of film. Some of our favorite scenes in our favorite movies are the ones that the viewer and director get to celebrate their shared love of said scene together. Many come to mind.
Jon Favreau came out swingin’ (eh?) when he wrote and starred in Swingers. He gave his heroes the nods he and the fans agreed on. The homage, using the walk through the kitchen to the club shot, to Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas, though clunky was ambitious, and, you could tell, was heartfelt.
He also gave us the Quentin Tarantino Reservoir Dogs walk that all made us all giggle.
Boogie Nights director Paul Thomas Anderson knocked it out of the park with the club-entering shot. Four minutes of one seamless one camera shot. It’s beautiful. While it might not be an homage to Scorsese himself, we all can see he gave the concept praise.
Movies like the remake, which is to say near-exact replica, of Psycho created by Gus Van Sant can be described as nothing short of a bowing to the sensai, Alfred Hitchcock. The score is reused with new arrangements by Danny Elfman, The script has minute changes. The cast included Vince Vaughn, Anne Heche, and William H. Macy. The film was a flop, but its worth the watch. It all stemmed from an experiment to see if an incomparable masterpiece could have the same warm embrace from new viewers unfamiliar with the original and the critics. Van Sant was repeatedly told his original works weren’t as exciting to movie execs, as maybe a sequel to something else. He used his clout after the success of Good Will Hunting to test his and the studios’ theories.
Years later on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, he discussed the results. “So it didn’t work. But the idea was whether or not you could remake something and it would repeat the box office. That was the sort of weird science experiment… It’s more important now I think, because people like yourself will ask questions about it. It’s more alive now than it was back when it failed, just with the art world or the modern world.”
So we’re right smack in the middle of a remake, reboot, sequel, threequel, spin-off, reimagining, origin story, rinse and repeat era for film and TV which continues with the breaking of Home Alone. I write an article nearly every day on one of the above. The boos and cheers follow in equal measure. I don’t always end those articles with this question, but I always ask it in my head. Is there a formula for the embraced reimagining? I’d love to hear your theories. I think a solid part of the equation is original cast members. This commercial is just a small part of my hypothesis.