Christmas Movies II

film 14 of 25


Film Review by Dean Duncan Jul 6, 2015

GremlinsMy younger, more wide-eyed and Capra-corny self was very perturbed when this movie first emergéd, mostly because of that nastily contrived dad-died-at-Christmas story that Phoebe Cates delivers toward the end. Impiety! How dare they profane It’s a Wonderful Life? More, what mean-spirits!

Now, in my antiquity, I see it all a bit differently. A comparison. The Pythons’ Life of Brian has no quarrel with Jesus, but rather with some of the dumb-and-worse things that his adherents get up to. In the same way Gremlins is not so much anti-Christmas as anti-E.T. (you know, o’er wondrous o’er sentiment). Knowing that puts the stuck-up-the-chimney thing into a different light. Same with all those gleefully malicious titular creatures. (You should see them in the sequel! [Really…])

Life of Brian likes Jesus well enough, but it doesn’t believe in him, and as a result goes well into offensive territory on a number of occasions. Inadvertently, I think, but still, and actually. I guess the viewer chooses which one to key on. Same thing here. Gremlins, as it goes gleefully along, misbehaves quite a bit. Be bothered. Don’t. Remember, though, all didacticism and no anarchy makes childhood a pretty smothering place. Read Luke, chapter 2. Sleep on it. Then put on Jerry Lewis.