The Surprising Link Between Home Alone and Straw Dogs

Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

While it's a beloved (and family-friendly) holiday classic, there's still no denying that Home Alone's self-appointed vigilante, Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin), kind of resembles a tiny towheaded version of mathematician David Sumner (Dustin Hoffman) from Sam Peckinpah's 1971 film Straw Dogs. Both characters resolve to defend their abodes at all costs, and in the absence of real weapons rely on makeshift ones to fend off their respective intruders.

Unlike lightning, great ideas can—and often do—strike Hollywood twice. But Home Alone wasn't created in a vacuum, production designer John Muto told Slate in 2015. In an interview, he acknowledged parallels between the two films, saying that, “I kept telling people we were doing a kids version of Straw Dogs."

Home Alone is notably less graphic than Straw Dogs, the latter of which contains sexual assault and plenty of blood. There aren’t any visible injuries in Columbus’s film, aside from a burn here and a glue-coated feather there. Still, Muto says he initially thought that a few of Home Alone's more cringe-inducing physical stunts wouldn't make the final cut. They did, thanks in part to Julio Macat, the film's director of photography. He, himself, appreciated physicality in movies, and gave Harry and Marv's painful comeuppances the go-ahead.

If you think about it, Sumner’s boiling oil and bear trap aren’t too different from Kevin’s tar and hidden nails, aside from the fact that they result in body counts. So no, you weren’t delusional if you ever compared the two films. Even still, you should probably refrain from pointing these similarities out to those who can't get enough of Home Alone’s fuzzy happy ending.

Wayfair’s Fourth of July Clearance Sale Takes Up to 60 Percent Off Grills and Outdoor Furniture

Wayfair/Weber
Wayfair/Weber

This Fourth of July, Wayfair is making sure you can turn your backyard into an oasis while keeping your bank account intact with a clearance sale that features savings of up to 60 percent on essentials like chairs, hammocks, games, and grills. Take a look at some of the highlights below.

Outdoor Furniture

Brisbane bench from Wayfair
Brisbane/Wayfair

- Jericho 9-Foot Market Umbrella $92 (Save 15 percent)
- Woodstock Patio Chairs (Set of Two) $310 (Save 54 percent)
- Brisbane Wooden Storage Bench $243 (Save 62 percent)
- Kordell Nine-Piece Rattan Sectional Seating Group with Cushions $1800 (Save 27 percent)
- Nelsonville 12-Piece Multiple Chairs Seating Group $1860 (Save 56 percent)
- Collingswood Three-Piece Seating Group with Cushions $410 (Save 33 percent)

Grills and Accessories

Dyna-Glo electric smoker.
Dyna-Glo/Wayfair

- Spirit® II E-310 Gas Grill $479 (Save 17 percent)
- Portable Three-Burner Propane Gas Grill $104 (Save 20 percent)
- Digital Bluetooth Electric Smoker $224 (Save 25 percent)
- Cuisinart Grilling Tool Set $38 (Save 5 percent)

Outdoor games

American flag cornhole game.
GoSports

- American Flag Cornhole Board $57 (Save 19 percent)
- Giant Four in a Row Game $30 (Save 6 percent)
- Giant Jenga Game $119 (Save 30 percent)

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The Office Writers Considered Making Michael Scott a Murderer, According to Greg Daniels

NBCUniversal, Inc.
NBCUniversal, Inc.

Greg Daniels is best known as the showrunner of The Office, a job that earned him two of his four Emmys. As reported by Screen Rant, the acclaimed creator dished in a recent interview with The Guardian about why the American version of the much-loved show almost wasn't made, along with a proposed plot twist for Michael Scott that forced Daniels to put his foot down.

"The UK version hadn’t finished airing and I’d never heard of it. My agent sent me a VHS tape of season one. It had a somewhat boring title so I didn’t look at it. He told me he wanted to show it to someone else if I wasn’t interested, so I popped it in. I watched the entire first series that evening," Daniels said.

As the show really got going after Steve Carell's role in The 40-Year-Old Virgin made him a household name, Daniels said some ideas in the writers room got too wacky for their own good. He recalled one particular instance, saying, “There were times where [the writers] would become enamored with a joke, and I'd have to put my foot down. For instance, they really wanted Michael to kill Meredith with his car. That was an early pitch, where he runs her over in the parking lot and then comes back, gets a tire iron and finishes the job. I was like, 'You can’t do that, that’s crazy!'”

Michael being a murderer certainly would have changed the tone of the show, so it makes sense that it never happened. Imagine the courtroom scenes we would have had to endure! The Scranton Strangler storyline would have paled in comparison.

[h/t Screen Rant]