Gremlins ★★★★½

"Patriotic little fella, ain't he?"
"Careful, Frank. He might tear your arm off."

Not breaking any new ground to call this quintessential Dante, a perfect smirking Looney Tunes subversion of Americana that suggests that the splintering of some vague, idealized-but-never-really-there way of life is basically our own stupid fault. Its internal logic is so elastic; the "rules" barely make sense to begin with, and so the cartoon anarchy seems inevitable from the start, and you just savor the merry-go-round breaking down. What I'd forgotten in the dozen or so years since I last saw this is what a phenomenal analog technical achievement it is. The animatronic work is almost completely seamless and entirely convincing. Somehow it's more amusingly unpleasant as an asshole adult than it was to me as an asshole kid.

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