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Home Alone always gets a lot of repeat viewings this time of year because it takes place at Christmas. For some people, it’s as much a Christmas staple as A Christmas Story and It’s a Wonderful Life. 

So imagine what those people will think when they find out that Home Alone isn’t Macaulay Culkin’s favorite movie. It’s not even his favorite movie with him in it.

Now that his child star years are well behind the 39-year-old, and now that Home Alone itself is almost 20, Culkin takes a look back at his movies. And he’s not always warm and fuzzy about it. 

‘Home Alone’ made Macaulay Culkin famous

Culkin was everywhere in the early 90s. Home Alone wasn’t his first movie, but it’s unquestionably the movie that made him a star. He owes his career largely to John Hughes, who wrote Home Alone and who made several teen movies in the 80s that people consider seminal, including Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

By the late 80s, Hughes started to drift away from teen movies. His 1989 movie Uncle Buck starred the late John Candy as a ne’er do-well who babysits his brother’s kids, one of whom is Culkin.

Culkin and Candy shared a memorable scene together that included this exchange:

Miles: You have much more hair in your nose than my dad.

Buck: How nice of you to notice.

Miles: I’m a kid, that’s my job.

Culkin’s performance in this movie led to Home Alone, and that movie changed everything. Its makers didn’t expect much of it, so they were surprised as anyone when the movie became a massive hit, grossing $285 million, or $617 million in today’s money.

And just like that, Culkin was the star of the moment, with his movies including My Girl, Richie Rich, Getting Even with Dad and The Good Son

Macaulay Culkin was just one member of an acting family 

Macaulay Culkin
Macaulay Culkin | Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

As happens with so many child stars, Culkin struggled as he aged, his career hampered in no small way by a strained relationship with his father, Kit Culkin, from whom Macaulay is estranged. He more or less quit acting after the mid-90s, although he appeared in a few movies in the early 2000s to shake up his image, including Party Monster and Saved!

One of his few public appearances later in life was to pay tribute to the departed John Hughes at the Oscars. It fell to Culkin’s siblings to be the actors of the family, including Rory Culkin and Kieran Culkin.

For a while, they acted alongside their brother, with Kieran appearing as Fuller, one of Kevin McCallister’s siblings. Rory Culkin’s most prominent role was probably as the older son in M. Night Shyamalan’s alien invasion movie Signs, with Mel Gibson as his father and a very young Abigail Breslin as his sister

It was Kieran Culkin who built up the family’s acting cred, with Igby Goes Down, The Cider House Rules, and most especially HBO’s Succession, where Culkin plays the sarcastic Roman Roy. His portrayal has earned him two Golden Globe nominations. 

What does Macaulay Culkin think of his work? 

If Culkin makes news or public appearances these days, it’s usually to pay homage to, or poke fun at, his past. He does both on the satirical website Bunny Ears, where he lists his 10 favorite movies that he starred in.

He placed Home Alone at number 5, writing: “The whole movie hinged on a little kid, which was a lot of pressure, but in the end it did so great that I got to go to school that year and say, ‘I beat Rocky’—because we did better than Rocky 5.” 

Culkin is also less fond of My Girl, another well-loved movie from many a childhood, of which Culkin says: “Least favorite because I died. It was also when I learned I wasn’t allergic to bees.”

But fans of the Home Alone franchise shouldn’t feel too bereft. Culkin lists the sequel, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York as his favorite movie, although it’s not really because of the movie itself. Culkin said: “That’s the one that helped me buy a new house.”