Gremlins ★★★

After watching this for the first time since childhood, I was amazed by how cheerfully xenophobic "Gremlins" is. This is basically a movie where the crafty, malevolent, Eastern "other" runs roughshod all over a Frank Capra wet dream. If I didn't know better I would swear that John Milius had a hand in this movie.

Still, "Gremlins" is infectiously goofy and actually quite well made. Joe Dante knows how to sell a visual gag (the smooth-jazz-listening, fedora-wearing Gremlin will always be a favorite of mine), and he handles the frantic pace of the film's second half with a deft touch. I was also impressed by how well it works as pure B movie horror, full of things that go bump in the night and startle the bejeezus out of everyone. It turns out that what I found frightening twenty years ago is exactly what I still find frightening today.

So yes, "Gremlins" is still fun, and has aged quite well. Apart from a little casual racism, that is.