Macaulay Culkin’s Bright Fire and Slow Burn

Perhaps no one can know the true meaning of what it’s like to be a child star and then grow into a less than lovable adult quite like Macaulay Culkin (except maybe Corey Feldman). From the go-to actor in John Hughes movies, including Uncle Buck and, most famously, Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, to that kid everyone wanted to be in Michael Jackson’s “Black or White” video, you couldn’t go anywhere in the early 90s without catching a glimpse of that signature face (or scream).

As a youth
As a youth
With such a quick ascent to fame, and already having the ego of a New Yorker (he was born and raised in Manhattan), Culkin was ill-prepared for the lukewarm reception to his films as the 90s wore on, particularly in 1994. With the release of Getting Even With Dad, Richie Rich and The Pagemaster all in the same year, one would have expected Culkin’s trajectory to continue, but alas, it merely waned.
As Thomas J. Sennett in 1991's My Girl
As Thomas J. Sennett in 1991’s My Girl
Instead of trying to fight what the public wanted by continuing to act, Culkin seemed simply to disappear, re-emerging in 2003 in the well-received Party Monster. As club promoter/murderer Michael Alig, Culkin channeled a side of himself that audiences had never seen before, redeeming him in the eyes of many who saw him as just another child actor that the spotlight had dimmed on. His only subsequent movie worth noting since then has been Saved! (one does not count Sex and Breakfast as a notable movie). In the meantime, he has been focusing on a band called the Pizza Underground–possibly the result of a delayed side effect from sleeping at Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch so many times.

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