References:

The activist Kate mentions, Bree Newsome Bass, pulled down the confederate flag in NORTH Carolina not South. Oops!

Nikki’s Article on Gremlins!

Wealth Inequality in America

Wealth Inequality in America over Time

The Top 1% of Americans Have Taken $50 Trillion From the Bottom 90%—And That’s Made the U.S. Less Secure

Bree Newsome Bass’s Tweet

The saddest gif in the world, Gizmo playing his trumpet 

The Queen Has Entered a New Phase




Summary: 

Rotten Tomatoes

A gadget salesman is looking for a special gift for his son and finds one at a store in Chinatown. The shopkeeper is reluctant to sell him the “mogwai” but sells it to him with the warning to never expose him to bright light, water, or to feed him after midnight. All of this happens and the result is a gang of gremlins that decide to tear up the town on Christmas Eve.




Nerd Corner:

Capitalism

  • No, Gremlins is not actually a scathing critique of capitalism. 
  • It does not critique the system, merely people in it

Consumerism can refer to the “the theory that an increasing consumption of goods is economically desirable” AND the societal “preoccupation with and an inclination toward the buying of consumer goods.”

Consumerism specifically at Christmas 

  • Americans spend the most (in the world!) on Christmas

Joe Dante in an interview with The Skinny: “What goes around comes around. Christmas has been over commercialised for years, certainly in this country, and there are subtle messages, and sometimes not so subtle messages, in a lot of my movies. But yes, there is a certain anti-consumerism theme underlying Gremlins, which is much more pronounced in the sequel.”



Kate Notes:

 

Nostalgia, crimes against children of the 80s, gifts gone bad, literally no idea

Mrs. Deagle, the redhead from hell. 

Can literal teenagers work at banks as tellers?

Are they watching It’s a Wonderful Life? She’s cutting onions and NOT crying at it?

“Some junk store in Chinatown” okay fuck you too dude. 

Billy tuning his Mogwai lol. 

Okay listen I’m a Gizmo fan. He can kill the capitalists. 

If you stop the movie 20 minutes in nothing bad happens.

Omg Gizmo gave birth. A fuzzy egg? So many babeggs. 

The tilted camera after Gizmo gives birth

Babe do NOT put your face near that.

Why the fuck would you force it to multiply. It looked like Gizmo was in pain, why would you do that to another. That’s not fine. This is Billy’s original sin. 

He’s got powerful eyebrows. 

I know what you were wondering and don’t worry, she is married so she is allowed to have cutco. 

Okay the way the vent is broken is incorrect. 

OMG “phone home!” a Spielsberg reference??? ET???

Eating mail is probably a felony. Oh, just spitting it out. That’s legally allowed. 

Peter doing the lords work with the murder scissors. 

I don’t understand people that insist vests are enough. Show me the science! Snow me the science lol. 

Stripe chose violence over more certain victory and that’s why the gremlins couldn’t win. He could have jumped in the fountain way sooner but he wanted to shoot Billy first.

Barney, did you do anything to help?

Location of this movie at Christmas. Steven Spielberg loves to ruin childhoods. Favorite pastime. 

This movie is another crime against children of the 80s.

Wow that’s a very Poltergeist decay sequence. OMG a skeletal Stripe. Omg gnarly.

 

QUALMS:

“When Gizmo is mistreated, he also spawns countless off-spring. It is these malevolent off-spring that are the most destructive and that reflect negative Afro-American stereotypes. Not long after their unexpected birth, the gremlins are eating fried chicken with their hands. Their first target is the woman of the house, the quintessential kind mother, and they are soon pursuing the hero’s girlfriend at Dorry’s Tavern. In some unexplained way, several of them have managed to acquire shades and caps that cover their eyes. Cigarettes droop from the corners of their mouths. They cannot get enough to drink. They love music and can even breakdance!” -Patricia Turner; Reel Blacks: Blacks in Disguise

 

For example: thanks to a character’s monologue in the 2014 film Dear White People, most people now know that Gremlins can be viewed as actually being about suburban white fear of black culture.1 An attempt to describe the antics of the monsters who overrun the town reads like a litany of negative stereotypes about African Americans. The gremlins devour fried chicken, are loud and unruly in public, threaten the safety of white women, and (in a nod to specifically 1980s stereotypes) use a “ghetto blaster” boom box and breakdance.

Yet, before they morph into grotesque black caricatures, the gremlins are Asian, or, to be more precise, Asian American. The first gremlin—a model “other” that inadvertently spawns its monstrous, wicked peers—is a small, furry creature (a member of a mythical species initially called, in the film, mogwai, but later uniformly labeled “gremlins”) that was procured in a stereotypical Chinatown shop. Given to a young man named Billy Peltzer as a Christmas present by Billy’s father, Rand, this model gremlin does not object to being given a more “American” name. In fact, when Billy asks Rand if the creature has a name, Rand responds: “Mogwai. I don’t know. Some Chinese word. I just call him Gizmo. He seems to like it.” 

What would it mean to think about Gremlins as a film that has much to say about popular conceptions of Asian Americans—a film whose monsters reveal white America’s ambivalence about Asian Americans as the supposedly model minority?

(Public Books, Lee, 2019)



Tropes:

And Your Little Dog, Too!

Black Dude Dies First

Bungling Inventor

Technicolor Death



Scale:

Pupa stages



Works Cited:

Lee, Wendy Allison. (2019, July 5). Cute. Dangerous. Asian American. Public Books. https://www.publicbooks.org/cute-dangerous-asian-american-gremlins-35/ 

 

Turner, Patricia A. (1987) “Reel Blacks: Blacks in Disguise,” Trotter Review: Vol. 1 : Iss. 2 , Article 6.

Available at: https://scholarworks.umb.edu/trotter_review/vol1/iss2/6 

 

Scibelli, Anthony. (2013, January 30). The Anarchic Comedy of Joe Dante’s ‘Gremlins’. 

Vulture. https://www.vulture.com/2013/01/the-anarchic-comedy-of-joe-dantes-gremlins.html 

 

Dunn, Jamie. (2012, December 4). Christmas Slay: Joe Dante on Gremlins. The Skinny. https://www.theskinny.co.uk/film/interviews/christmas-slay-joe-dante-on-gremlins 



Kelly, Kim. (2020, August 25). What Capitalism Is and How it Affects People. Teen Vogue. https://www.teenvogue.com/story/what-capitalism-is

 

Mathur, Aparna. (2018, July 16). The U.S. Does Poorly On Yet Another Metric of Economic Mobility. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/aparnamathur/2018/07/16/the-u-s-does-poorly-on-yet-another-metric-of-economic-mobility/?sh=db4f4dc6a7b6 

 

Boettke, Peter J. (2021, August 11).  Capitalism. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/capitalism 

 

Bradshaw, Peter. (2019, December 6). Gremlins review – Spielbergian satire still has bite. The Guardian. 

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/dec/06/gremlins-review-joe-dante-steven-spielberg

 

Rank, Mark R. and Eppard, Lawrence M. (2021, March 13). The ‘American Dream’ of upward mobility is broken. Look at the numbers. The Guardian.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/mar/13/american-dream-broken-upward-mobility-us  

 

Broom, Douglas. (2019, December 20). Christmas, by the numbers: 5 facts about holiday season spending. World Economic Forum. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/12/christmas-holiday-season-shopping-retail-gifts/