Study Guide

Gremlins Family

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RAND: I was trying to move a little merchandise maybe find a present for my kid.

Does Rand know his son well? Does he pick out a good gift for Billy, if we ignore the murderous rampage side effect? Or does his action show the irresponsibility of some parents buying random gifts for their kids?

GERALD: Look at you. You're practically supporting your whole family.

The family issues in this movie are subtle, and speak to the larger culture of suburbia. Gerald, the bank boss, is a pompous yuppie, who looks down on Billy for having to work to support his family. Billy's working class family doesn't exactly fit into the suburban utopian stereotype.

BILLY: Is something wrong?

MOM: No, it's a sad movie.

Mom's watching It's a Wonderful Life, but she's really crying because her family life isn't wonderful. Here we get another suggestion of the stress lying beneath the surface of the Peltzer family. Mom's stressed because dad is a failed inventor, and the family is struggling financially. The last thing they need is for him to be bringing home expensive Xmas gifts. If Dad had brought the family a hug and a card, none of the terror would have happened.

MRS. DEAGLE: Kopeck, you stop that, you bad kitty!

Mrs. Deagle's only family now is her cats. With her nasty attitude, she gives crazy cat ladies a bad name.

KATE: The worst thing that ever happened to me was on Christmas. Oh, God. It was so horrible. It was Christmas Eve. I was 9 years old. Me and Mom were… were decorating the tree... waiting for Dad to come home from work. A couple hours went by. Dad wasn't home. So Mom called the office. No answer. Christmas Day came and went, and still nothing. So the police began a search. Four or five days went by. Neither one of us could eat or sleep. Everything was falling apart. It was snowing outside. The house was freezing, so I went to try to light up the fire. That's when I noticed the smell. The firemen came and broke through the chimney top. And me and Mom were expecting them to pull out a dead cat or a bird. And instead they pulled out my father. He was dressed in a Santa Claus suit. He'd been climbing down the chimney on Christmas Eve, his arms loaded with presents. And he was gonna surprise us. He slipped and broke his neck. He died instantly. And that's how I found out there was no Santa Claus.

This is one of the greatest movie monologues ever, and it reminds us to think about other families during the holidays. It might not always be a happy time. Also, don't try climbing down the chimney. Ever.

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