Take a Drink: whenever the Gremlins multiply
Take a Drink: whenever the arbitrary rules are explained or ignored
Take a Drink: for every film reference
Do a Shot: for awesome Christmas anecdotes
With Bonus Drinking Action field-tested and courtesy of reader Heather:
Take a Drink: every time Gizmo (the star mogwai) sings
Take a Drink: every time one of Dad’s gadgets fails
Take a Drink: every time a Christmas decoration is used as a weapon
BONUS (Drink x 2): every time one of the Gremlins says “Yum Yum.”
By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –
I’ve mentioned before how my rather unique, generally TV-less upbringing kept me from watching many of the pop culture staples of the 80s and 90s. While maybe I missed out on cultural phenomena like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, on the plus side, I missed out on stupid shit like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Make ‘em aliens, Michael Bay. I couldn’t give less of a shit.
It’s also allowed me to see many of these clay-footed cultural icons with fresh eyes which gives me a unique perspective. This week’s victim? Gremlins.
Gremlins is the timeless tale of a bumbling inventor Dad who finds some sort of unidentifiable creature he knows nothing about in Chinatown and buys him as a gift for his mentally challenged son. When they fail to follow the three damn rules they were given to care for it, chaos ensues. In this movie, Chaos has a first name, and it’s Gremlin.
There’s a reason why this movie is titled Gremlins and not (Buy Your Kid a) Mogwai. As cute and cuddly and merchandisable as lil’ Gizmo is, it’s the raving destructive little Ids that are the Gremlins that are this movie’s real stars. Before they show up, the film is just one more 80s (and boy is it 80s- Judge Reinhold! Corey Feldman! Phoebe Cates! Flashdance references!) Spielbergian knockoff. When they do, Gremlins becomes a delightfully weird, surprisingly violent, utterly hilarious one (that Santa story is incredible).
To be fair, if you’re going to go and make a Spielberg flick, you can’t do much better than the 80s movie Justice League of Joe Dante directing, Chris Columbus writing, and oh, the Great Spielberg himself producing. The effects are delightfully practical, the filmmaking is competent, and Frances Lee McCain’s mother character is the biggest knife-wielding, microwave-abusing badass you could ask for.
Ripley, eat your heart out
Also, I have to admit I giggled every time they talked about “getting wet”. That leads to multiplication for most things, last time I checked.
Let’s be honest… this plot is dumb. It’s entirely reliant on pretty much every character being a complete idiot. Dad: “Let’s buy this mystery exotic animal to live in our house!”
Always a solid decision
Everyone: “Fuck the rules that are literally all we know about this animal.” Son: “This thing is super-intelligent, can learn and play music at a whim, and even pretty much talks. Just like my dog!” Everyone: “Nothing to see here, government! Guns? What guns?”
Not only are these characters dumb, but they’re incredibly broad. I couldn’t care less if any of them lived or died, even the one character we’re all supposed to hope dies – “Dogs in the washing machine” Mrs. Deagle. Also, what’s with the clearly 18 year old or so Billy Peltzer acting like a ten year old half the time? It’s just creepy.
When the titular Gremlins are around, this movie is a hilarious anarchic romp. When they’re not, it’s kinda lame, but they’re worth waiting for.