Home Alone, the second-best Christmas movie behind only It’s a Wonderful Life, is a rollicking celebration of negligent parenting and standing one’s ground. In the 27 years since its debut, the film has aged very well as childhood independence and bad guys getting hurt are both timeless.
There are, however, certain elements that are frozen in time — like the decor of the McCallister’s suburban mansion. Thirty-somethings revisiting the movie are also prone to bouts of nostalgia when Kevin roots around his older brother’s room and turns up a BB gun and some Starting Lineup figures, the ultimate status symbol for early 1990s school recesses.
Remember those things? Kids collected them and played with them before adults started hording them up, unopened, for optimum resale value. Perhaps that’s why it was so arresting to see the most mischievous McCallister lining up four of them for cold-blooded execution.
I remember straining to see which unlucky athletes were sent to their ultimate basement demise while seeing this movie for the first time in the theaters. The task is made exceedingly more difficult because none of the players’ numbers or team logos are visible. This is something I never realized until recently. It suggests Chris Columbus failed to get licensing approval from either Starting Lineup, the professional sporting leagues, or both.
After so many years and dozens of additional screenings, I feel confident in saying it was: Babe Ruth, Mark Bavaro, Walter Payton, and Larry Bird.
There is surprisingly sparse online content to cross-reference this conclusion against. It’s almost as if no one has asked this very specific, unimportant question.
Of course, maybe the filmmakers just wanted to avoid overt suggestions to take down Larry Bird just as Kevin’s hometown Bulls were rising to a championship-caliber squad.