The Good Son Recap


The Good Son is a good movie… and by that I mean the last movie we watched in the “good movie” series. It’s also the first in the series of films we watched that aired on the same date as Citizen Kane. On December 30, 1994, The Good Son aired in the primo 10pm spot on Cinemax. Earlier in the day on AMC, 5pm to be exact, Citizen Kane aired. Phew. No need for a Sophie’s Choice on this one. You have plenty of time to watch CK, eat dinner, smooch the wife, put the kids to bed, and fire up The Good Son. “But Daddy! I want to watch the Culkin film too!” They’ll scream. No, no children, this one’s for Mom and Dad. Then you waggle your eyebrows cause you just noticed that Body of Evidence comes on at 12:30am. It’s gonna be a looong night. How do we know all this? Cause Patrick has a big ol’ genius brain that can rip apart the nytimes tv listings and produce pristine movie data for our perusal. We’re through the looking glass, folks. Cycles in BMT will never be the same.

To recap, Elijah Wood’s mom is dying, but understandably he can’t cope with that so he promises that she won’t die (he won’t let her) which then kinda fucks him up when she does die. His dad just needs ONE BIG DEAL so that he can be there for his son forever, so he sends him to Maine to stay with his bro and his family. They have also not too long ago come through a tragedy. Their little baby accidentally drowned in the bath. But they still have Macaulay Culkin and his younger sister and are happy to have a third kid in the house. Elijah is having a grand old time with Macaulay… that is until he starts doing some real bad stuff. Like he creates a gun that shoots nails and kills a dog and then he drops a mannequin onto a busy road and causes a big crash. Elijah is legit like WTF, mate?!?! But every time he tries to tell someone they don’t believe him or Macaulay is one step ahead of him, expressing concern over Elijah or Macaulay is like “you better not tell” in a creepy kid voice. He then starts threatening his little sister and Elijah becomes focused on keeping her safe… unfortunately he snoozes on the job and Macaulay is able to fling her through the ice while skating. She survives but Elijah starts to get the mom thinking. She decides to take Macaulay for a walk and confront him. This results in Macaulay using his super human brain and strength to throw her from a cliff where she is left dangling. Elijah finds them and starts to battle Macaulay and before they roll off the cliff together, the mom is able to climb back up and grab them both. Now it really is a Sophie’s Choice as she has to decide between the angelic nephew and the full blown serial killer son. She chooses Elijah and drops Macaulay to his death. THE END.

Well they did it guys. They actually did it. They made a movie where a mom had to look in the eyes of her psycho child and drop him off a cliff to the rocks below. I really didn’t think they had the guts. But they did. My main assessment of this film is that it effectively accomplishes the creepy kid psycho movie that it was trying to make with some decent writing. You can certainly quibble with the accuracy of Macaulay’s character. And you can definitely agree with Ebert that this is a real miscast of Macaulay Culkin both for the reason that Ebert is railing against (this looks like a kids movie when it is not), but also because Culin plays it very similar to Home Alone. His same Culkin kinda flat delivery. He doesn’t seem to make a choice on how to play the sociopath character. He just plays it kinda like himself. Overall I kinda liked it though. I was engaged.

Hot Take Clam Bake! I do not buy that in a matter of weeks Culkin’s character goes from perfect angel, never done anything wrong in his parents’ eyes, never done anything wrong in the community kid, to admitting to killing his sibling and trying to kill his mom all in the time that Elijah Wood is hanging around. Sure he’s making a nail gun and building dummies, but before this week he’s just building his Good Son brand so strong that no one will ever believe Wood. Bullshit. I think the parents knew the whole time. The dad probably brought Elijah Wood into the fold to see if he could be a good influence. But he wasn’t…. Ooooooh, quite the opposite my friend. Just the sight of the real Good Son made Culkin go crazy. Good job dad. This is all your fault. Hot Take Temperature: Poison Ivy.



‘Ello everyone! The Good Son? More like Word, Son, amirite? What up Macaulay, you’re a bad guy now? Reprising your villain role from Home Alone? Heyoooo. Let’s go!

  • Yo, Macaulay … youz a psycho in this film.
  • Within the core of this film is a good film. An interesting film about a young sociopath and the adults who are willfully blind to all the signs of his pathology all revealed by another young person they force themselves to not believe.
  • The film itself? I found it interesting. Not good. Not really bad. It has a reason to be (more than most BMT can say), but still, is it good? No, I don’t think so.
  • Culkin is actually disturbing in the film, but more in a way that makes you wonder about the writer of the film. Shooting a dog with a bolt out of a crazy self-made crossbow? That’s weird. Throwing a dummy off a highway and hightailing it out of there without a second thought? That’s straight from the headlines I suppose. Killing your brother and then trying to kill your sister? That’s actually bonkers though.
  • In that same way I guess there is an argument that the writers get some things right (the obsession with death, the trophy he keeps, killing animals, etc.) and some things wrong (I’m not sure, but I would think the escalation would have gone from animals to a random person, not one’s own brother, just out of a sense of self-preservation). I think I understand the complaint that the entire thing falls apart under the weight of trying to explain Culkin’s sociopathy.
  • I definitely understand Ebert’s complaint that the film is a dark, twisted, crazy movie with a question of precisely who it is being made for.
  • Elijah Wood and Macaulay Culkin in a film together though? Ages like wine. Kind of stunning to see two incredibly good child actors carrying a movie together.
  • The setting of Maine also is just chef’s kiss. Obviously a nod to the Stephen King undertones to the film. It feels precisely like a King short story in the vein of The Body.
  • The movie itself is pretty tight, and entertaining, and tense when it needs to be. Probably the silliest bit is the ending. The contrived cliffhanger moment with the mother having to choose between her son and nephew is a bit beyond credulity.
  • Definite Setting as a Character (Where?) for Maine. And a solid Worst Twist (How?) for the ultimate final scene and the forced choice between killing Wood or Culkin. I think the film is closest to Good, although it really walks that line between Good and Bad (all I know is it isn’t BMT).

Check out the sequel, The Good Man, in the Quiz. Cheerios,

The Sklogs


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