Some movies and TV shows are bound to attract more wild fan theories than others. Sometimes, that’s by design. A show like ”Lost” is basically built for that kind of wild speculation. The mystery, the intrigue, and the possibilities are weaved into the very premise. The same could be said for movies like ”The Matrix” or “Inception.”
Then, there’s a movie like ”Home Alone,” the heartwarming holiday classic that made Macaulay Calkin a star. As a concept, a story, and a general overtone, it’s just not as conducive to elaborate fan theories. It’s a simple premise with a simple appeal, a clever kid being left home alone by accident and having to defend his house against a couple of bumbling burglers.
It’s a fun, entertaining movie all around. Whenever the holidays roll around, I find myself watching it at least twice. It has become a holiday tradition in its own right. Like eggnog, decorations, or presents, ”Home Alone” is just one of those movies that has stood the test of time and maintained that special appeal.
Despite that, it has been subject to some substantial fan theories in recent. Some are a bit more extreme than others. One in particular claims that ”Home Alone” is actually an origin story for Jigsaw from the ”Saw” movies. While I think it’s a creative theory, it falls apart when you just compare the age of Kevin and that of John Cramer.
Other theories are a bit less colorful, dealing with everything from time travel to deals with the devil. I don’t think those theories do much to really change, enhance, or undermine the overall viewing experience of the movie. In general, I like theories that get you to see a movie or show in a whole new light that makes watching it more engaging.
In that spirit, I’d like to share my own personal fan theory about ”Home Alone” that I came up with after rewatching the movie recently. It’s actually an expansion of another popular fan theory about Kevin’s father being a mob boss. Compared to most fan theories, I think this one is a lot more believable in that it fills in a particular detail.
Specifically, it asks how Peter McCallister can afford to fly his entire family to Paris for Christmas one year and Florida the next. On top of that, his family lives in this big, opulant house that allows Kevin to put in so many traps in the first place.
It’s not an unreasonable question. Kevin’s family is clearly quite well off. We never actually even learn what his parents do for a living. It never factors into the overall plot. It just means they’re wealthy enough to become targets for burglers.
However, I think the theory about Peter McCallister being a mob boss just doesn’t work. Most point to how he interacts with the police officer, who is actually Harry in disguise. He quickly asks if he’s under arrest or something, which is an odd thing to ask and something you’d expect a criminal to say. I don’t deny that’s odd, but I don’t think that makes Peter a mob boss.
Also, if Peter were a mob boss, I don’t think he would be quite as polite to someone he thinks is an police officer. In fact, I doubt he’d even let an officer get into his house. Mob bosses aren’t too keen on cops being anywhere near their homes or their families, let alone inside their house. If a cop just suddenly paid a visit, even if he was a fake cop, it would be a much bigger cause for concern.
On top of that, I think even if Kevin’s father was just a high ranking figure in the mob, he’d have body guards and henchmen to keep him from ever dealing with the police. They would probably stop Harry before he ever entered the house and told him, in not so many words, that he’s not welcome.
That said, I think there’s another way to look at this. I think there’s another version of this theory that makes more sense and fills in some other plot points within this movie. This is where I’m going to posit my own fan theory about ”Home Alone.”
Kevin McCallister’s father is a mob lawyer.
The difference might seem trival. On the surface, it doesn’t seem to change much with the theory about Kevin’s father being a mob boss. Why does it matter if Peter McCallister is a mob boss or a mob lawyer? Well, if you apply a bit of scrutiny, it makes a bit more sense in the grand scheme of things.
Mob lawyers do exist. They’ve always been part of organized crime in some form or another. They may not be as recognizable or famous as the mobsters they represent, but I think that only gives more credence to this theory. I also think it changes the context of what unfolds over the course of ”Home Alone.”
In essence, a mob lawyer is like any other lawyer. They just happen to specialize in clients that are high profile mobsters. They defend and represent those who others are too afraid to get near. It’s a high risk for anyone in the legal field, but with great risk comes great reward. If Peter McCallister is even moderatly successful, then that reward would explain his lavish trips and big house.
Even if that’s true, you might still ask whether he couldn’t just be a really successful legitimate lawyer? Yes, he certainly could. Those types of lawyers do exist, but Peter being a mob lawyer also helps explain a few other details more than just being a typical successful laywer.
Specifically, it offers another reason as to why Harry wanted to rob the McCallister house more than the rest on that block. On multiple occassions, he tells Marv just how much he values that house. He makes clear he wants to rob it, even after finding out that Kevin is home alone.
Why would he want to risk that? He has to know that, even if he doesn’t know Kevin can set all those traps, the police could get involved. Even if he and Marv aren’t particularly bright, they know enough to avoid police.
However, if Peter McCallister is a mob lawyer, then that changes things. Mob lawyers, much like regular mobsters, are less inclined to get involved with the police. They understand that the longer they talk to the police, the greater the chance they’ll slip up and reveal something incriminating. Also, given the nature of their work, they probably wouldn’t have too many friends at the police.
That does seem to manifest at one point in the movie. The McCallisters don’t seem to be particularly fond of dealing with them. Just look at how Kevin’s mother talked to the police. Even if they were just worried about their son, they weren’t exactly patient with them.
It’s almost like they know the police in that area aren’t overly competent, nor are they inclined to go out of their way for the McCallisters. You’d think that if they were a wealthy family from a wealthy neighborhood, the cops would do a lot more than just send one officer over to check on Kevin. Doing the bare minimum would surely attract a scandal or a lawsuit.
That only makes sense if you take into account that the police know the McCallisters have mob ties. Even if Peter is just a lawyer, they’re probably have experience with how they protect the criminals they arrest. So, why would they go out of their way for a family like that? Plus, if Peter McCallister is a competent mob lawyer in any capacity, he knows it’s better to avoid unnecessary publicity than to attract it.
Being a mob lawyer also makes sense of another unusual detail towards the end of the movie. When Kevin finally does call the cops, he doesn’t call them to his house. He pretends to be his neighbor, the Murphys. Why would he do that? Why wouldn’t he want the cops to come to his house?
Well, if his father is a mob lawyer, then he also knows the importance of minimizing their interaction with the police. Perhaps Peter McCallister teaches all his children to avoid calling the police to their house. He might not give a reason. It’s just a rule that his kids aren’t meant to question and, in the name of defending his home, Kevin decided to keep that rule.
That same inclination to avoid police interaction could also explain why Harry targets the McCallister’s house. Perhaps he actually knows of Peter’s mob ties. He might also know that if he were to rob a mob boss, even without threatening his son, he and Marv would probably end up dead and disappeared within a week. However, robbing a mob lawyer is a different story.
Not only are mob lawyers rich, they’re not going to involve themselves with the police more than they have to. Even if they lose a lot of valuables, they’re more inclined to just buy new stuff rather than deal with the police. They may complain to their mob associates, but their lawyers being robbed probably wouldn’t bother them as much as it would if they got robbed.
This theory even explains why Kevin’s Uncle Frank is so cheap. Maybe he knows about his brother’s mob connections. He may also think that it’s only a matter of time before Peter gets in trouble for all this and he’s just bracing for that.
In its totality, Peter McCallister being a mob lawyer just explains so much in ”Home Alone” that it’s hard to ignore. If you rewatch the movie with the assumption that Kevin’s dad is a successful mob lawyer, it changes the context of the story in all the right ways. It makes sense of things that were otherwise left unexplained, which is the hallmark of any good fan theory.
Now, I don’t deny that the theory is without flaws. In the sequel, the McCallister’s did seem a bit more comfortable in dealing with the police. Then again, that’s the NYPD and not the Chicago PD, so I still think it holds up.
What do you think, though? Do you think this fan theory holds up? Do you have a better one to offer for this holiday classic? Please let me know in the comments.