Sunday, 18 December 2011

Christmas Countdown: Film #16 - Home Alone 3 & Film #17 - Flint Street Nativity

The boxset of Home Alone films included both the third and the fourth ones, so film number 16 was Home Alone 3. I don't think of this film as being a particularly Christmassy film, unlike the others it's taking place in the run-up to Christmas, rather than actually at Christmas. But there are wreaths on the doors, Christmas trees in the gardens and snow on the ground, so it's Christmassy enough.
I think of this one as more of a children's film than the original two films. It's a lot more slapstick and it doesn't have as many of the more sensitive moments as in the first two - though it does a good job with the elderly nextdoor neighbour.
This one is a little bit more contrived than the others, I always feel a bit annoyed at the way that the parents go away and leave the little boy home alone during the day when he's not well. But it's obviously done just to get them out of the way. Because of the change in family and burglars it feels only tangentally linked to the original franchise whereas with a few changes it probably could have been a perfectly acceptible stand alone film.
The kid playing Alex is really cute, I love the way he giggles and laughs. I get the impression that he probably had a great time making the film, he certainly seems to be having fun on screen. The team of burglars works well in this film and the climax of the film with them assaulting the house is really funny.

I also love the rat in the film. We sat watching the film with all of ours out. I couldn't help but notice that the apparently female rat is quite clearly a little boy rat. I wish I'd taken a photo of the moment when two of our girl rats were both sitting on top of the cage watching the big rat on TV.

One of my favourite films in the run up to Christmas is Flint Street Nativity. I actually remember watching it when it was originally on TV in 1999 and then wanted to see it for years afterwards. When I discovered that it had come out on DVD I snapped it up and it's been part of our Christmas TV tradition since then.
I've also discovered that it's now a stage play as well, that's something I'm really going to have to keep my eyes out for (or bully my local drama group into doing in the future). I love everything about Flint Street Nativity, the fact that there's adults playing the parts of children is just an added bonus.

I love seeing the way everything is made bigger to make the adults seem smaller. It looks just like hundreds of other primary school classrooms up and down the country. After a while you almost forget that you're watching adults pretending to be children and just get caught up with all the classroom politics instead.

I remember when I saw it the first time thinking that this was pretty true to life. It's a bit compacted to fill the hour long slot it was originally in, but everything that goes on there happens in real primary school classrooms. I especially love the fighting over who gets to be Mary and the kids getting stage fright, forgetting their lines and generally making it up as they go along in the play.
As well as being ridiculously hilarious, it's also got some lovely sensitive moments. Especially with the child with the lisp and Tim, the narrator. It actually ends on a bit of a sad note. But it is very clever how the children's parents are played by the actors themselves. It brings it round to the end nicely.

My one complaint with the DVD is that it retains the original breaks from when it was on ITV. It's kind of cute the way the children's recorder choir introduces the beginning and end of each break but it would have been a bit nicer to just run the whole thing through without chopping it up.

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