Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Best Christmas Movie of All Time

For my money, the best Christmas movie of all time is 1984's Gremlins. The Gremlins, you see, are a metaphor for American greed and irresponsibility, which is even more prevalent than usual during the Christmas season. The old, wise dude from the Far East warned the hack country singer/actor Hoyt Axton of all the many horrible dangers, yet Axton proceeds anyway with his reckless consumerism.

All he has to do is three simple things, like not get his Gremlin wet, not put him near light, and not feed him after midnight. Simple, right? Except for the fact that the majority of the planet is water, water falls from the sky A LOT, we are the third closest planet to a huge light source called the sun, and isn't it technically ALWAYS after midnight? Seriously, when can you feed them?

Perhaps the best part, however, is after the complete silliness of the Gremlins storming the town, some dressed in drag, some dressed as flashers, Phoebe Cates takes a couple of minutes for a dramatic monologue about her father dressing like Santa Claus, getting stuck in the chimney, and rotting there dead for months. Merry Christmas, everybody

(Photo copyright Warner Bros., 1984.)


Randy said...

My mother's first car was an AMC Gremlin (probably the 1972 or 1973 model). Somehow, these subcompacts became very popular for a few years, even though a Gremlin looked like a scalene triangle on wheels. My mom's car originally was powder blue, with a pair of thin, black racing stripes down the sides (as if racing stripes could "beef up" a powder-blue car). A few years later, she had the entire exterior painted brown.


It looked like UPS's dirty, little secret.

Still, the Gremlin had its virtues: My mom could push it to 40 mph without much shaking. The rear windshield flipped up, making grocery loading the highlight of my Sundays. And the lack of air conditioning and power steering prepared a young boy for life's inevitable cruelties.

I've always wondered, however, why AMC chose to name an automobile after the mythological creature that revels in diabolically sabotaging machinery. (For a more detailed explanation, see Falling Hare; Merrie Melodies; 1943; Robert Clampett, Dir.)

Pat said...

Yeah, the marketing department had to be asleep that day. "Let's name it after something synonymous with mechanical failure!". Falling Hare is my favorite Bugs Bunny cartoon. "Ran out of gas"

Randy said...

As for best Christmas movie of all time, my vote goes to The Wild Bunch. In Sam Peckinpah's 1969 classic, the Old West is taking its last gasps as it succumbs to the modern world. William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, and Warren Oates shoot everyone in sight, and a climactic gun battle makes liberal use of people being blown away in slow-motion.

The quintessential Christmas film.

Dave said...

Come on, Pat. You KNOW you would've killed for your own mogwai back in '84.

Pat said...

Of course I would. Then I would have taken him swimming immediately after hitting the late night window at Wendy's. We'd then hang out and watch the sunrise.

Randy said...

Those Wendy's drive-thru windows usually close by 2 AM. Even in summer, dawn doesn't arrive until about 5:30 at this latitude. That leaves a lot of time for those awkward lulls in conversation. You might want to save the sunrise thing for when you get to know the mogwai a little better.