Coming home, staying home: 'Apollo 13' and 'Home Alone' among 25 films picked for national registry

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Macaulay Culkin attends a ceremony honoring him with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Houston, we have a problem: Where's Kevin?

Perhaps the ultimate coming-home movie, “Apollo 13,” and the ultimate staying-home one, “Home Alone,” are both being honored this year, selected for preservation in the National Film Registry They're part of an annual group of 25 that this year spans more than 90 years of filmmaking.

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The 2023 collection includes the sci-fi sequel “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” the Disney animated classic “Lady and the Tramp,” and the searing, Oscar-winning drama “12 Years a Slave.” Just in time for the holidays, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is included.

The oldest film is from 1921: “A Movie Trip Through Filmland,” a very early look at the impact of movies. The newest are both from 2013: “12 Years a Slave” and the Oscar-winning documentary “20 Feet From Stardom,” about backup singers.

The registry is housed at the Library of Congress, which since 1988 has selected movies for preservation based on their cultural and historic importance. The current picks bring the registry to 875 films — some, but not all, among the 2 million items in the library’s collection. Turner Classic Movies will host a TV special on Thursday, screening a selection of this year’s movies.

A look at some of the films entering the registry

”The Wedding Banquet” (1993): Ang Lee’s romantic comedy about a gay man from Taiwan trying to hide his orientation from his family, featuring an over-the-top wedding banquet.

”Bamboozled” (2000): Spike Lee’s stinging satire about race in entertainment, with Damon Wayans as a program executive at a cable network.

”Maya Lin: A Strong, Clear Vision” (1994): Freida Lee Mock’s Oscar-winning documentary about the artist who created two famous memorials.

“Apollo 13” (1995): Ron Howard’s impeccably told chronicle of the near-tragedy involving U.S astronauts trying to get back to Earth, featuring Tom Hanks and the famous (and slightly altered) quote: “Houston, we have a problem.”

“Desperately Seeking Susan” (1985): Susan Seidelman’s uniquely New York saga featuring Rosanna Arquette and none other than Madonna as the elusive Susan.

“Matewan” (1987): John Sayles’ tale of efforts in 1920 to unionize a company town in West Virginia.

“Home Alone” (1990): Chris Columbus’ holiday classic about, let's face it, deeply questionable parenting that made wide-eyed Macaulay Culkin — aka Kevin — a star.

“Alambrista” (1977): Robert M. Young’s story of a Mexican migrant laborer in the United States.

“Fame” (1980): A story of students seeking fame at the High School of Performing Arts in New York City, and known for Irene Cara’s version of the title song.

“Lady and the Tramp” (1955): The classic Disney canine love story, featuring surely the most famous spaghetti kiss in animated film.

The Full List

“A Movie Trip Through Filmland” (1921); “Dinner at Eight” (1933); “Bohulano Family Film Collection” (1950s-1970s); “Helen Keller: In Her Story” (1954); “Lady and the Tramp” (1955); “Edge of the City: (1957); “We’re Alive” (1974); “Cruisin’ J-Town” (1975); “Alambrista” (1977); “Passing Through” (1977); “Fame” (1980); “Desperately Seeking Susan” (1985); “The Lighted Field” (1987); “Matewan” (1987); “Home Alone” (1990); “Queen of Diamonds” (1991); “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991); “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993); “The Wedding Banquet” (1993); “Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision” (1994); “Apollo 13” (1995); “Bamboozled” (2000); “Love & Basketball” (2000); “12 Years a Slave” (2013); “20 Feet From Stardom” (2013).

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