In spite of my sincere effort to look at every movie in this series on its own merits and without a sense of nostalgia or eagerness to forgive, I fully believe in the idea of the "at that time" movie. We all have them – you know, those flicks we saw when we were ten or 12 or some other impressionable age that we still love, but we realize probably aren't that good now that we're grown up.
This seems especially true for folks who grew up in the 1980s, when cable television broadcast five or ten movies hundreds upon hundreds of times, immortalizing them in consciousnesses despite the fact that they mostly sucked (I'm looking in your direction, Modern Problems). Of course, the rise of VHS rentals also had much to do with these films' ubiquitousness, but there was an unusual (and I'd argue, unprecedented) connection viewers had with movies during the 1980s that unfortunately produced a wealth of box office successes that, in retrospect, kind of stunk.
All of which brings me to Gremlins. Joe Dante, like many prominent '70s and '80s filmmakers, emerged from the remarkable stable of directors producer Roger Corman discovered, and quickly established himself as a passionate and successful purveyor of gussied-up genre fare. After writing Rock & Roll High School and directing The Howling (among other projects), Steven Spielberg enlisted him to bring Chris Columbus' script for Gremlins to life. It became a notable box office hit upon release in 1984, and inspired a follow-up in 1990. But is it still any good?