Everyone and everything in this movie adorable. Billy is cute. Kate is cute. And Gizmo is cuteness incarnate.
Sure he has way too big eyes and weird little toes with humanoid toenails, but this was the '80s. Many kind of gross and creepy things were considered cute: Gremlins. Cabbage Patch Kids. Judd Nelson.
Gizmo is the face of Gremlins, an adorable puppet (sorry, kiddos, Gizmo isn't real) and wonderful merchandising opportunity. But, Gizmo didn't become a huge sensation until Gremlins 2. That's the movie where Gizmo dresses as Rambo and kicks gremlin tail.
In Gremlins, Gizmo basically sings, acts cute, and cries about bright light. It's adorable, but not much more.
However, Gizmo's the good mogwai. When Stripe and the others trick Billy into feeding them chicken after midnight, Gizmo has the opportunity to eat it too. Here's Billy offering it to him.
BILLY: Now maybe you guys will be quiet. You guys are really hungry. Hey, Giz, you want some? Do you want some chicken?
But Gizmo says no. In this moment, Gizmo proves to us that not all mogwai are created equally. Plus, Gizmo reading in bed and saying no is about the cutest darn thing we've ever seen in a movie.
Deal or No Deal
Gremlins gives its cute characters one opportunity to shine. Kate gets to defend the bar with a camera. Gizmo hops into a pink toy car and zips around a department store. He almost collides with Barney the dog, but, like everything Gizmo-related, it's more adorable than scary.
Seriously: cute mogwai meets cute dog is some serious cute overload.
Gizmo also gets to pull the blinds open and fry Stripe at the end. It's brave, because if the sunlight touches Gizmo, he, too, would roast. But Gizmo risks himself to destroy his ill-behaved offspring.
Before we go, we have to remind you that Gizmo is voiced by Howie Mandel. Yes, that Howie Mandel, the germophobe host of Deal or No Deal and judge on America's Got Talent. Mandel, with squeaky perfection, delivers Gizmo's only full line at the end: "Bye, Billy."
It's sad when Gizmo is taken away, but the movie leaves the opportunity open for a sequel. And it gives Mandel the greatest dramatic acting opportunity of his career.