If you were a child of the 90s, then you probably remember popularity of Beanie Babies, Michael Jordan, the Power Ranges, and of course, the iconic face of child actor, Macaulay Culkin. His work in classic films like My Girl and Home Alone earned him the distinction of being the most famous child actor in the world. In this video, we’re going to talk about the disappearance of Macaulay Culkin in Hollywood and the reasons why he decided to leave a promising film career behind. Make sure you watch the whole video to find out what Macaulay Culkin is up to now.
Macaulay Culkin’s disappearance from Hollywood was all the more shocking due to his massive star status during the 1990s. After a few successful movie appearances in films like Uncle Buck in 1989, Macauley Culkin became a worldwide sensation after his starring role in the John Hughes film, Home Alone. The 1990 movie directed by Chris Columbus became the highest-grossing film of the year, with people all over the globe enjoying the antics of Culkin’s character, Kevin McCallister, as he tries to outsmart two home invaders after being left behind before a family trip. Culkin’s performance as Kevin earned him widespread critical praise, with both a Golden Globe nomination and a Young Artist Award, propelling him into what seemed to be a promising career.
Macaulay Culkin’s Movie Troubles:
After the success of Home Alone, Culkin began to venture out into other roles. In 1991, Culkin began to star in a Saturday morning cartoon show called Wish Kid and even hosted Saturday Night Live. His friendship and collaboration with the King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson, earned him an iconic appearance in the controversial music video for Jackson’s song, “Black or White.” In 1992, Culkin reprised his role as Kevin McCallister in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, which, like its predecessor, experienced mass success around the world. While all of these projects cemented Culkin’s star power, his career began to wane after his portrayal of a villain in the 1993 thriller The Good Son. In 1994, Culkin starred alongside Ted Danson in the comedy Getting Even with Dad, as well as a live-action-animated hybrid called The Pagemaster and family flick Richie Rich. Despite his large workload, Culkin failed to find the success that defined his earlier career, with all three films bombing at the box office. At the young age of 14, it seemed like Macaulay Culkin’s stardom was already burning out.
Culkin Takes a Break:
After the lack of success from his latest film efforts, Culkin decided to take a break from the job he’d once been known for all over the world. After years of not being able to even walk down the street without being recognized by crowds of people, Culkin disappeared from the spotlight in search of normalcy once and for all. His unprecedented exit from the industry came at a difficult time in Culkin’s personal life, as his parents decided to separate in 1995. What ensued with a vicious custody battle over Culkin and his six siblings, with full custody eventually awarded to his mother, resulting in Macaulay having a strained relationship with his father ever since. Along with his family troubles, Culkin also experienced an overwhelming influx of money when he became a legal adult. In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Culkin described what it was like to have massive amounts of money suddenly come his way on his 18th birthday, commenting: “I felt like some kid worked really, really hard, and I inherited all of his money. It allows me to treat everything like a hobby. I do nothing for my dinner nowadays.” Despite being financially set for life thanks to his childhood career, Culkin also was soon to learn how difficult it is to break back into the entertainment industry after you leave. Next, we’re going to be discussing the hardships Macaulay Culkin encountered while trying to make it as an actor during adulthood. If you’ve liked the video so far, make sure to hit the ‘like’ button and subscribe to Facts Verse for more videos like this one!
He Returns to Acting with Disastrous Results:
Macaulay Culkin’s acting hiatus came to end in 2003 when he made a guest appearance as an immature divorce lawyer on NBC’s hit sitcom Will & Grace. That same year, Culkin returned to the big screen in the biographical drama Party Monster. The film follows Culkin in the role of Michael Alig, the founder and leader of the New York City Club Kids, a group of club-goers whose style and partying created a cultural phenomenon throughout the late 80’s and early 90s. This was certainly a departure from Culkin’s wholesome family content of the 90s, as his character eventually serves almost 17 years in prison for manslaughter. But what was supposed to be a career-reviver turned into quite the opposite, as critics widely panned Party Monster, with Michael O’Sullivan of the Washington Post saying, “the psychologizing in Party Monster never goes deeper than what you might get out of Dr. Phil on a bad day.” Ouch! Audience reactions were no better, with the film scoring a mere 29 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and earning only $740,000 at the box office. It seemed like the most famous face of the 1990s was not fit for a post-millennium world—that was, however, until a controversial role would bring valor back to Culkin’s name.
Macaulay Culkin Gets Saved:
After his less-than-praised effort in Party Monster, Culkin was casted as a wheelchair-bound, non-Christian student in a conservative Christian high school in the film Saved!
In the film, a teenage student named Jena Malone sleeps with her boyfriend as a way of ‘curing’ him from being attracted to men. Her actions soon lead to disaster when she becomes pregnant and is shunned by her religious classmates. The film, albeit controversial, was a box-office success, nearly doubling its production budget. Culkin’s performance was also the recipient of high praises, with Keith Phipps of The A.V. Club saying that Culkin gave “his paraplegic doubter an acerbic edge.” Despite his previous struggle to reenter the entertainment industry, Macaulay Culkin was once again seen as a promising actor.
Culkin’s Book Comes and Goes:
After his roles in Party Monster and Saved!, it was clear that Macaulay Culkin was never going to be predictable in his public image. Rather than going the usual celebrity route of writing an autobiography, Culkin traded promotional appearances and interviews on talk shows for a more creative outlet. His book Junior, rather than being a straight-forward recollection of his life, is a collection of personally written poems, letters, comics, and more. While the experimental style of the book was sure to garner attention from readers, critics were not as impressed with Culkin’s literary abilities. Publisher’s Weekly gave a scathing review, saying that “this self-indulgently infantile book is a novel in only the loosest sense: it looks and reads more like a book-length zine,” with Kirkus Reviews commenting that the book “managed to lower the already low bar set for the celebrity fiction.” Unfortunately, this pattern of criticism would permeate throughout his next professional projects as well.
His Next Movie is a Major Bomb:
The publishing of Culkin’s book would happen to coincide with his starring in the independent dark comedy, Sex and Breakfast. The film follows young couples experimenting sexually in order to redefine their attitudes towards sex, love, and communication in a relationship. Similar to his other work at the time, Sex and Breakfast went completely against the family-friendly reputation Culkin’s childhood roles had established. Just like his book, Sex and Breakfast was destroyed by critics, and ended up going straight-to-DVD. John Anderson of Variety Magazine called the film “a tortured talkfest with a premise far less ripe than its title.” At this point, it seemed like Macauley Culkin’s comeback was destined to fail.
Culkin Starts the Pizza Underground:
Despite his lack of success in the film industry, Macaulay Culkin still managed to find a creative outlet to indulge his artistic abilities. He started a musical-comedy project called the Pizza Underground, which parodied songs by famous band The Velvet Underground while adding pizza-themed names and lyrics. While the group was made with the intention of being funny, not everyone was as enthused by the band’s work. In 2014, the Pizza Underground were booed off the stage at the Nottingham music festival, with some audience members taking offense to the band’s “mockery” of what they considered to be “one of the greatest bands of all time,” clearly missing the joke aspect of the project. In January 2018, Culkin revealed that his band had broken up, saying he “was a little tired of it.”
The Child Actor Lives His Life:
Most of Culkin’s recent media appearances have included him parodying his iconic role of Kevin McCallister, with three specific Home Alone-related projects in 2018. Culkin has also made appearances on various podcasts where he has discussed various Home Alone-related content. Most notably, he appeared in an advertisement for Google Assistant that suggested Kevin McCallister wouldn’t have struggled as much had he had access to an internet-connected virtual assistant. At this stage in his career, it’s clear that Culkin has positively taken to reflecting on his most famous role, even changing his middle name from ‘Carson’ to ‘Macaulay Culkin’ in 2018, therefore making his legal name ‘Macaulay Macaulay Culkin Culkin.’ Despite the ups and downs of his career, Culkin told People magazine in 2018 that him and girlfriend Brenda Song “have a good life.” What more could we ask for!
That wraps up the dark reasons Macaulay Culkin disappeared from Hollywood. What’s your favorite Macaulay Culkin movie? Let us know in the comments. And if you liked this video, make sure to hit the like button and subscribe to Facts Verse for more videos just like this one!