Before I get to today’s post, a little self-promotion. Yesterday I wrote about National Cheese Lovers Day on Elite Daily. Read the delicious post here. Also, I’m guest posting on Bourbon, Lipstick, and Stilettos today. That post is here. Finally, you can still enter a giveaway I’m helping host. Click here for your chance to win $200 PayPal cash. Ok then!
Everyone knows who Macaulay Culkin is, but do you guys know that he has a bunch of siblings and two of his brothers are also actors? And that they’re actually really good? It’s one of those things where nepotism is actually a good thing because it yielded some great performances in some great movies.
Today I’m going to rank my top 10 movies featuring a member of the Culkin family — either Macaulay, Kieran, or Rory (and sometimes more than one!). Please feel free to weigh in with your own opinions. There are no wrong answers here (unless you don’t like any of the Culkins — in which case, you are wrong).
10. Home Alone (1990)
Which Culkin? Macaulay (duh) and tiny Kieran
I actually just saw Home Alone for the first time last month. I know, I know. I really enjoyed it. It was legitimately funny and really cute. This is, of course, the movie that launched Macaulay’s career. I can’t imagine any other kid in the role of Kevin McCallister.
Home Alone is one of those movies that has been so far immersed into societal culture that you may hear quotes from it and forget where they came from. As for myself, I only recently discovered where “keep the change, ya filthy animal” came from.
In addition to little Macaulay, Kieran Culkin also had a bit role in Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost In New York. He played Fuller McCallister, as in, “Fuller, go easy on the Pepsi!”
9. Saved! (2004)
Which Culkin? Macaulay
I avoided watching Saved when it first came out because I thought, as a Christian, that I would be offended. When I finally watched it a few years back, I was bummed that I waited so long. The film doesn’t mock the religion itself — it mocks extremists who don’t really know what they’re talking about.
It’s a biting satire revolving around a teenager in a Christian high school who gets pregnant and thus shunned by her classmates. Jena Malone plays the main character, a fairly normal teen who finds herself pregnant after she had sex with her boyfriend to prove he isn’t gay. She does a great job playing the straight character while Mandy Moore (the school bitch) plays the more off-the-rails character. Macaulay plays Mandy Moore’s wheelchair bound brother.
8. The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys (2002)
Which Culkin? Kieran
This movie threw me off. As in, I thought it was going to be a fairly lighthearted coming-of-age film. NO. It started off that way and then it just got darker and darker. I felt slapped in the face on at least two separate occasions.
This movie revolves around kids at a Catholic school who are kind of rebellious. The group of boys who the movie follows are obsessed with comic books and draw themselves as superheros and teachers from their school as villains. They also get into all kinds of trouble for doing things like stealing statues from the school. Kieran’s character is the most daring, where Emile Hirsch’s character follows his lead. Emile also has a crush on a girl played by Jena Malone (who was in Saved! crazy!). He discovers that she has some issues of her own when they start hanging out.
It’s a really good movie, but don’t expect not to cry.
7. Igby Goes Down (2002)
Which Culkin? Kieran and tiny Rory (as young Kieran)
I didn’t like this movie that much when I first saw it at age 15-16ish. I watched again not long ago and liked it a lot more. This is a movie where most of the characters are pretty selfish and privileged, but then I realized that’s kind of the point.
In arguably his best performance, Kieran Culkin plays Igby, a rich kid who hates his mom (Susan Sarandon) for her coldness and her role in turning his dad into a depressed, heavily-medicated zombie. Igby is kicked out of every school he attends. He finally runs away and hides out in New York City at a studio owned by his godfather (Jeff Goldblum) and rented by a dancer/drug addict played by Amanda Peet. Igby meets Sookie (Claire Danes), an older girl who really gets him as a person but ends up dating his brother (Ryan Phillippe).
Igby makes a lot of really bad choices, but it all kind of makes sense when you consider the world he was raised in. His family is full of really awful people. The movie is funny at some points and kind of poignant in others. The tone is kind of harsh and I don’t know if it’s a film that everyone will enjoy, but it’s definitely worth a watch.
6. Signs (2002)
Which Culkin? Rory
Aww, look at little Rory Culkin and little Abigail Breslin. Weren’t they precious?
Oh, Signs. It’s that movie after The Sixth Sense that M. Night Shyamalan made that didn’t suck. Granted, I’m one of the few people that actually liked The Village. But this is better.
It’s that movie with the aliens, crop circles, and Mel Gibson and company wearing tinfoil hats on their heads. Basically, a good time all around.
5. Party Monster (2003)
Which Culkin? Macaulay
Oh man. This movie is like a ride through the nightmares of Stefon from SNL. If you’ve seen it, you’ll know what I mean.
This movie — starring Macaulay Culkin as Michael Alig and Seth Green as James St. James — is based on the true story of club kids in New York City (club kid = people who dressed up really crazy and got paid to hang out in nightclubs and draw crowds). Basically, these guys partied all night and slept all day when they weren’t super wired on drugs.
Michael Alig and this guy Freeze killed a drug dealer and then left his dead body in the bathtub for days while they partied. And then they decided they needed to do something with him, so they cut him up and threw him in the Hudson River. This is a thing that actually fucking happened.
Party Monster is based on the book of the same name (originally published as Disco Bloodbath, which is arguably a better name) by James St James. I read the book earlier this month and it’s as insane as the movie.
As far as the movie goes, it’s fully ridiculous and includes the following line:
It’s everything in your life that you need.
4. Lymelife (2008)
Which Culkin? Rory and Kieran
What a lovely little movie. It’s sweet, funny, and sad all at the same time.
Based somewhat on writer/director Derick Martini’s life growing up, Lymelife revolves around Rory’s character, Scott, as he grows up on Long Island in the 1970s. Scott faces being bullied, his brother (played by his real life brother, Kieran!) going into the military, his parents experiencing marriage troubles, and his own first love (played by Emma Roberts). Rory plays a super awkward kid and Emma Roberts plays the high school vixen who isn’t as experienced as she lets on.
This is a great coming-of-age movie that’s also a little bittersweet. Some people hate the ending. I didn’t hate it, but it did feel kind of out of place from the rest of the movie. But it’s a gem of a movie that not enough people have seen.
3. Gabriel (2015)
Which Culkin? Rory
This movie made my top 10 list for movies released last year. It’s a pretty quiet film that requires Rory to do a lot of acting with just his mannerisms and his eyes. It’s a film that studies the slow burn of mental illness. It’s a performance that is electrifying, terrifying, and also incredibly heart wrenching.
2. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (2011)
Which Culkin? Kieran
This movie. This movie!! I remember hearing a lot about it when it came out, but for some reason I thought I’d hate it. My ex really liked it and he insisted we watch it one night. Best decision ever. This is easily one of my favorite movies so far this decade and probably one of my favorite action comedies of all time.
It is so clever — both in dialogue and in the execution of its plot. This film isn’t just based on a comic book. It’s basically like a comic book put on the screen. The characters — especially Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera), Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and Wallace Wells (Kieran) — are lots of fun. It also has an exceptional supporting cast including Aubrey Plaza, Brie Larson, Anna Kendrick, Mae Whitman, Chris Evans, and more. This movie is the definition of badass.
1. Electrick Children (2012)
Which Culkin? Rory
This movie impacted me so much that I wrote an entire post about it. It goes into more detail about how much I love it and why. You can read that post here. The abbreviated version of that is this: it’s a unique, dreamy film with gorgeous cinematography and insanely honest performances by Julia Garner, Rory Culkin, and Liam Aiken. It’s a film that doesn’t really rely on realism, but which kind of embraces escapism despite its very serious subject matter. In a sentence: it floored me.
Honorable mentions go to: My Girl (Macaulay), The Mighty (Kieran), and Mean Creek (Rory).