Macaulay Culkin
This is my house! I have to defend it!

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. "A former child actor is a hero of yours? Now you're scraping the bottom of the barrel!". Allow me to elaborate.

When I was 10, I first saw Home Alone on TV.
I loved every minute of it. I could quote all the memorable parts, even though I couldn't speak English. I knew the movie by heart. Me and my friends wanted to be Macaulay Culkin. It seemed so awesome to stay all alone and fight the comical bad guys. Never once did we consider the risks or the dangers of actually meeting two burglars. This kid could get away with anything. So, from the perspective of a 10-year old, Macaulay Culkin was a hero.

Today, I still have a sizeable modicum of interest in the actor. I collected most of his movies. Richie Rich is another childhood favourite that I have seen many, many, many times. The VHS tape is barely usable from repeated use (as coincidence would have it, I found both the LaserDisc and the DVD just a few months ago). A great movie to this day, that doesn't deserve the mediocre reviews. The screenplay alone is a lot more refined and chuckle-worthy than most childhood-focused flicks. "You also have a cute butt", "We do, dear. It's called 'Chanel' ...", "This is Nash!", "I'm not a seasoning!", "Need a new bed pan? I know I do!", "We give it away!!! (pause) We give it away?", "Never mess with a man with sensitive teeth" etcetera. Hilarious.

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is just as good as the first one. My favourite line is included in the fake speech Kevin records to impersonate his dad, in order to fool the receptionist. "Howdy doo. This is Peter McCallister. The faaaaaaaather." I have been looking for a TalkBoy ever since, just to replicate that moment. Sure, the movie is a carbon-copy of the first one, but that's what we wanted: more Home Alone! The Pagemaster is an underrated gem with a great book & great video game to boot. Getting Even With Dad is very good. The Good Son is, eh, creepy. I even have The Nutcracker on VHS, which I asked for Christmas, not knowing that it was a ballet movie. That put me off as an 11-year old kid , but I still have the tape and I'm about to give it a second chance.

In 2003, the Mac was back with Party Monster, which I have yet to see. 2004's Saved! is an excellent little film, with great lines. "She's planting a pipe bomb!?"

He acted sporadically after that, including a turn in Sex and Breakfast (found the DVD for $1.50, but haven't seen it yet). The cancelled TV-series Kings - which, by most accounts, was quite good - never reached Belgian shores/stores. The press always has a field day whenever Culkin turns up in public, looking either unshaven, unkempt or unhealthy. As long as it's something "un-", the paparazzi will be there. As a journalist, I have learned never to trust a journalist. I don't know if he has a substance abuse problem. I sure hope not. He'll be 33 soon, far too old to be doing stupid things. Then again, some never learn. Carlos Estevez, for one.

In short, calling Macaulay Culkin a hero is far-fetched and preposterous - compared to, say, Nelson Mandela, anonymous firefighters or doctors looking for an HIV-cure. But as a child, he was THE MAN to look up to. We read about his salaries, his next roles and his large collection of Super Nintendo-cartridges. Belgian weekly Story once proclaimed he got a video game a day from producers, to keep him happy. Probably another made-up story, but we ate it up at the time. I always wondered whether or not he sampled the games based on his own movies. Would he shout to the screen in frustration, as we tended to do? "Come on, Kevin, you can do it!"? Now that's a question I'd like to ask him.

Keep tight, Mr. Culkin. You were a very fine child actor - and, judging by Saved!-standards - you still have major chops.

Julian De Backer, 17 July 2013