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Christmastime: Gremlins

  Probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think Christmas movies, but Gizmo is an early Christmas present, and all hell breaks loose on Christmas eve, of all nights.   Kind of makes the official story on the news – about an entire town going berzerk and rioting – take on a whole new meaning.   Riots on Christmas eve?   Little green men?   Men dressed up like Santa Claus getting stuck in the chimney until their decomposed bodies are discovered by their innocent daughters?   “That’s when I knew that Santa Claus wasn’t real,”  Phoebe Cates emotes.    It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

What’s amazing about Gremlins is that it manages to be mischeivous, and a little creepy, without crossing the line into nightmarish or mean.  Gizmo’s just so cute, and it helps that he sings.  And his evil spawn are really more like adolescent boys looking for a laugh than like vicious monsters.   I’m always impressed with the montage of the Gremlins wreaking havoc and having a great time – capped off by a scene of a theater full of little monsters, singing along with the dwarves in “Snow White.”    If that’s not Christmas spirit, I don’t know what is.  

The acting is uniformly terrible, led by Zach Galligan (though note a young Corey Feldman – acting exactly like an older Corey Feldman) but it doesn’t matter much.   Somehow Gremlins works, managing to be sweet, campy and a little bit scary, a guilty pleasure in a season of sentiment and sap.    It’s must see Christmas viewing at my house.

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