Home Alone: The Holiday Heist (also known as Home Alone 5 or Home Alone 5: The Holiday Heist) is a 2012 American comedy television film and the fifth and final installment in the Home Alone franchise. It stars Christian Martyn, Jodelle Ferland, Malcolm McDowell, Debi Mazar, Eddie Steeples. The film premiered on ABC Family on November 25, 2012, during the network's annual Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas programming block. It is the second film, after Home Alone 3, not to focus on the McCallister family. It is also the first film in the series not to be set in Chicago, apart from the majority of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. There are numerous homages to the previous movies throughout the film.
The Baxter family move from California to Maine and settle into their new house during the Christmas season. 10-year-old Finn Baxter (Christian Martyn) and his older sister, Alexis (Jodelle Ferland), are technophiles, who isolate themselves from their parents Curtis (Doug Murray) and Catherine (Ellie Harvie) and the outside world. Finn is often playing video games and Alexis is often on her phone. Encouraged by his dad to socialize, Finn befriends his neighbor, Mason (Peter DaCunha), who informs him about the legend of a smothered gangster whose ghost haunts the Baxters' new home, leaving Finn paranoid.
While the family leaves their home to go Christmas shopping, a group of thieves and Miss Kathleen Gideny's (Angelina Hantseykins) henchmen consisting of Sinclair (Malcolm McDowell), the glamorous Jessica (Debi Mazar) and their new safecracker Hughes (Eddie Steeples), carry out their plan to break in and steal an old, long lost Edvard Munch painting valued at $85 million, unaware the house is occupied. They are unable to locate the painting in the basement safe, and as the Baxters return home, the thieves quickly flee. At night, Curtis and Catherine leave for a Christmas party hosted by Catherine's new boss, Mr. Carson (Edward Asner). Finn and Alexis stay behind; however, Finn's controller is confiscated by his parents. He is not permitted to play video games and Alexis can only use her phone for emergency calls.
That night after having seen the party invitation earlier, the thieves plan to return, thinking the house will be cleared of the entire family. Sinclair confides in Jessica and Hughes that the painting they seek is The Widow, a portrait of his great-grandmother and her family that was stolen decades ago. Meanwhile, Finn adventures in the house and finds a spare controller. He starts playing video games. Searching for new batteries for his controller, he accidentally drops one that rolls down into the basement. Finn has Alexis accompany him to retrieve it and they find the safe unlocked and a secret room behind it, which houses the painting Sinclair is looking for. Frightened by the portrait, Finn flees and Alexis accidentally triggers a trap and ends up locked in the room.
As an ongoing snowstorm worsens, Curtis and Catherine are forced to stay at the Christmas party, worrying about their kids at home. With Alexis locked behind the safe, Finn goes to shop for supplies at a hardware store to break her out, only being able to afford string which is useless. After stumbling across Sinclair, he overhears the trio discuss plans to break into his house. Rushing home, Finn tells his online video game friend and young college student, Simon (Bill Turnbull) about the situation, but Simon is initially oblivious. Finn sets up numerous booby traps around the house, including ice on the patio (a trap from the original film), a snow blower blowing marbles in the garage, a carton full of tar, a coal-filled stocking, some nasty-tasting gingerbread cookies, and cotton balls and flour flying out of the sink. The thieves are forced to go through the booby traps, getting injured as they do so, with the glamorous Jessica getting covered in tar. Soon enough, Curtis and Catherine are able to drive home. Using Finn's gamertag and his parents' credit card details, a concerned Simon contacts them to warn about the danger their kids are in, but they call the police on him instead, thinking that Simon kidnapped them.
Back at the house, Sinclair, Jessica, and Hughes capture Finn and detain him in the van. Sinclair and Hughes go to open the safe. Mason, however, saves Finn by throwing snowballs at the leather-clad Jessica, who is now very dishevelled from her normal glamorous state as she has been through the booby traps. She is eventually knocked out by the snowballs. Meanwhile, Sinclair and Hughes gain entry to the safe, finding the painting and Alexis, who threatens to destroy it. Finn flees and frees Alexis, while triggering the trap that locks the duo in the basement, which is seen on Simon's television by Simon and the police officers who detained him. With Jessica encased inside a snowman, the police arrive to arrest the burglars. The family receives four museum passes and $30,000 as a reward for capturing the criminals and recovering the painting. As an apology, Finn's parents send Simon a plane ticket to return home and spend Christmas with his family.
On Christmas Day, Finn receives a snowboard and an expansion pack to "Robo Infantry 3". Alexis gets a tablet computer, and Finn and his dad get a camping guide. Finn decides to take a break from video games and go snowboarding with Mason, who is now his best friend. The final scene shows the criminals having their mug shots taken at the police station as a female police officer splices a copy of the mug shots into a portrait.
Originally titled Home Alone: Alone in the Dark, development for the film began in March 2012 as a co-production between ABC Family and Fox TV Studios. Both production companies previously co-produced Home Alone 4 in 2002.
The movie was filmed in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The film was released on DVD on October 29, 2013, in the United States and Canada. It was released in Region 4 on November 12, 2014. In Region 2, the film was released in 2013 but was initially only available on downloads and online streaming and its distribution there remains mainly focused on those formats.[clarification needed] On November 2, 2015, the film was released on DVD in the United Kingdom as part of a box set of all five Home Alone films exclusively on Amazon.co.uk.
The great omission in American life is solitude; not loneliness, for this is an alienation that thrives most in the midst of crowds, but that zone of time and space free from outside pressure which is the incubator of the spirit. -- Marya Mannes, author and critic
In today's constantly connected world, finding solitude has become a lost art. In fact, Western culture tends to equate a desire for solitude with people who are lonely, sad, or have antisocial tendencies. But seeking solitude can actually be quite healthy. In fact, there are many physical and psychological benefits to spending time alone.
Benefits of Seeking Solitude
1. Solitude allows you to reboot your brain and unwind. Constantly being "on" doesn't give your brain a chance to rest and replenish itself. Being by yourself with no distractions gives you the chance to clear your mind, focus, and think more clearly. It's an opportunity to revitalize your mind and body at the same time.
2. Solitude helps to improve concentration and increase productivity. When you remove as many distractions and interruptions as you can from your day, you are better able to concentrate, which will help you get more work done in a shorter amount of time.
3. Solitude gives you an opportunity to discover yourself and find your own voice. When you're a part of a group, you're more likely to go along with what the group is doing or thinking, which isn't always the actions you would take or the decisions you would make if you were on your own.
4. Solitude provides time for you to think deeply. Day to day responsibilities and commitments can make your to-do list seem as if it has no end. This constant motion prevents you from engaging in deep thought, which inhibits creativity and lessens productivity.
5. Solitude helps you work through problems more effectively. It's hard to think of effective solutions to problems when you're distracted by incoming information, regardless of whether that information is electronic or human.
6. Solitude can enhance the quality of your relationships with others. By spending time with yourself and gaining a better understanding of who you are and what you desire in life, you're more likely to make better choices about who you want to be around. You also may come to appreciate your relationships more after you've spent some time alone.
Despite knowing these benefits, it can be a challenge to find time alone in a world that seems to never sleep. Here are a few ideas to help you find more time to spend with yourself.
♦ Disconnect. Set aside some time each day to unplug from all the ways you connect with others. Turn off your cell phone, Turn off your Internet. Turn off your TV. If you use your computer to create, such as writing, then write without all the bells, dings, and beeps that come along with being connected to the Internet. You'll be amazed at how much more you can get done when you're not distracted.
♦ Get Up or Get In Early. Wake up a half hour or an hour earlier than everyone else in your house and use that time to create, produce, problem solve, meditate, or whatever makes you happy. This strategy also works if you can get to work before everyone else arrives and the phones begin to ring.
♦ Close Your Door. It's simple, but can be very effective. A client who owns a community-based magazine puts a sign on her door when she wants alone time. The sign reads "I'm editing or writing. If the police are here, the office is on fire, or George Clooney calls or stops by, you can interrupt me. If not, please hold all questions until my door opens." She said that she decided to put up the sign after she realized that her presence in the office was a stimulus for questions. "Whenever I was in the office," she said, "it seemed like there was one question after the next. I was constantly getting interrupted, and it was hard to get my work done. Then I noticed that on the days I was working on a story outside the office, my phone hardly ever rang, even if I was out the whole day. Apparently, whatever questions came up somehow got handled without me. It made me realize that just by being in the office I was a magnet for questions. So I put up the sign and it works like a charm."
♦ Use Your Lunch Time. Don't spend your lunch time working at your desk. Don't spend it running errands. And if you regularly go out to lunch, don't think that it always has to be with others. Once a week or even just a couple of times a month, commit to spending lunch with yourself. Walk. Sit in the sun outside. Go to a park and eat. Enjoy the time you have alone.
♦ Schedule solitude. Literally. Mark off time in your day planner or calendar for spending time with yourself. If you can make time for all the little extras you fit into your day, like stopping at Starbucks or picking up something at the mall, you can schedule time in your calendar for solitude. It doesn't have to be long. Any time that you can spend alone with yourself to reboot, meditate, focus, relax, create, produce, and/or think deeply is better than no time.
In my next post, Why You Shouldn't Feel Guilty about Stealing a Little Time for Yourself, I talk about ways to negotiate alone time with friends and family and how to avoid feeling guilty about it. And if you have effective strategies you use to steal a little time for yourself, please share them with readers in the comments section below.
© 2012 Sherrie Bourg Carter, All Rights Reserved
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Sherrie Bourg Carter is the author of High Octane Women: How Superachievers Can Avoid Burnout (Prometheus Books, 2011).