Kim’s Winter Holidays Activities in Movies: Christmas in July Blogathon 2019

Hello, friends!

This is the final guest post of the 2019 edition of the Christmas in July Blogathon. Many of you should be familiar with the next guest. She has been on my site many times before, even co-hosting the annual Ultimate Decades Blogathon in February/March. That’s right, it’s none other than Kim from Tranquil Dreams! She shares the happenings of her life, her favorite recipes, and posts movie and game reviews. There is a variety of content on her blog so be sure to check it out. Kim always has unique entries for the Christmas in July Blogathon and this year is no exception. This year, she is talking about her favorite winter holiday activities in movies. Let’s get to it!

Christmas in July is here! After a really long deliberation between what to talk about, the heat in town has made think a little of some cooler days and what makes Christmas for myself in the more North, is snow and all that goes with it: snowball fights and skating, etc. That was some nice inspirations to sharing some Christmas activities during the holidays. Some of the winter activities aren’t exactly unique to Christmas but to keep in the blogathon theme, all of these scenes are from Christmas movies.

Snowball Fight – Elf (2003)

Elf is a staple of Christmas movies. Its like wrapping up Christmas themes in a nice little bow tie, at least at my home it is. The snowball fight here was pretty one sided. It was more like a retaliation against bullies.

Tobogganing – A Christmas Prince (2017)

Netflix really hits it out of the park with A Christmas Prince as a Christmas holiday romantic comedy. It embraces the Hallmark style films and this one works (the sequel not as well) but there are some really fun scenes and this tobogganing one is really nice. I swear there was also a snowball fight or something but I might be wrong. It had a ton of Christmas elements.

Snowball Fights – The Princess Switch (2018)

Last Christmas, Netflix came out with another romantic comedy which I loved a lot. Vanessa Hudgens as two roles was pretty hilarious in a It Takes Two adult version set during Christmas. Plus it had baking (in retrospect, I should do a Christmas baking in movies list). However, one of the best scenes were these two breaking out in a snowball fight.

Caroling – Gremlins (1984)

Nothing like some Gremlins caroling to bring out the Christmas spirit. But then, Gremlins are cute until they aren’t.

Snowmen – Krampus (2015)

I can’t remember how these snowmen showed up in the film for the life of me right now. However, the only other snowman building scene I could remember was either Gilmore Girls (which is TV) or Frozen, which isn’t exactly a Christmas movie. Stretching it just a little but still, creepy snowman is better than no snowman. Krampus might be an alternate Christmas movie, but it is full of darker takes on Christmas elements which is so much fun to watch.

Thanks again to Drew for bringing a little winter holidays reminder during the peak of summer!

For our holiday party, Kim is inviting Mike Angelo, a Thai actor popular in China and is part of the upcoming film The Misfits directed by Renny Harlin.

This has truly become an international holiday party. Fantastic invite, Kim!

And that does it for the guest entries of the sixth annual Christmas in July Blogathon. Tomorrow, I will wrap-up this year’s blogathon with review of another film off my list of favorite Christmas films.

Until next time, cheers!

Gremlins Review: Christmas in July Blogathon 2019

Hello, friends!

We have now crossed the halfway point of this year’s Christmas in July blogathon! SG from Rhyme and Reason is going to wrap-up day three. SG combines his two passions, film and poetry, to create truly unique reviews. He also loves a good list so you will find plenty of them on his site. Have a look after checking out his review of the non-traditional Christmas classic Gremlins.

‘Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the town,
Small creatures were stirring and scurrying round.
They once had been furry;
They once had been cute,
But now they were scaly, and evil to boot!

Because of one snack
After midnight had chimed,
The work of one boy who had gravely mistimed,
These creatures were rampant
And running amok,
And now the whole town had the awfulest luck.

The stop lights were blinking,
Car brake lines were cut,
The streets were replete with indulgence and smut,
And no one could stop them,
These little green men,
Who terrorized Christmas, resistless, and then…

They suddenly vanished,
A mess in their wake,
A warning to follow the rules, no mistake.
So be on your guard
Should your Christmas Eve stir,
Lest similar holiday havoc occur.

MPAA rating:  PG (definitely more of a PG-13)

It’s good to be back with Drew’s Christmas in July Blogathon! After much deliberation on what to review, I finally opted for a film that has become one of the most classic unconventional Christmas movies. Along with the original Star Trek episode “The Trouble with Tribbles,” Gremlins’ tale of small, seemingly harmless creatures running amok has become an oft-imitated plotline, but Gremlins stands out through its hostile critters and, of course, its Christmas setting.

Aside from the blogathon reason, I mainly wanted to rewatch Gremlins because I only had a vague memory of the first time when I was a kid. Certain scenes definitely stuck out, but I couldn’t recall the connective tissue. The beginning is a classic horror set-up: dad stumbles upon a cute mogwai in a Chinese antique shop and brings it home to his son Billy (Zach Galligan), along with some very specific handling rules that you just know won’t be followed. While the cute creature named Gizmo (voiced by Howie Mandel) and his more rascally spawn are clearly puppets (except for one larger stop-motion scene), that only adds to the film’s status as a minor ‘80s classic. I’ve no doubt that a modern version of this film would use CGI instead, and that very datedness is part of the movie’s charm. Plus, I liked Billy’s inventor dad and his disastrous inventions, which reminded me of Caractacus Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

As was the intent, I was surprised then at how dark the antics got at times, the evil gremlins being much more malicious than the mischief-makers I thought I remembered. I mean, it’s not just pranks; people die, a fact which, along with the more gruesome deaths of some gremlins, directly contributed to the institution of the PG-13 rating. I also distinctly remembered a gremlin popping out of a medicine cabinet, which gave me a mild fear of medicine cabinets when I was a kid (I haven’t been able to find a scientific name for such a phobia); and of course, seeing it again revealed that the scene in question involved a normal school cabinet. Ah, what a fool I was…

But the best thing I found I had forgotten was how enjoyable a film Gremlins is, as well as how Christmas-y it is. It’s not merely set at Christmastime with some yuletide trappings in the background. The little devils embrace the holiday black-heartedly, attacking Santa Claus, pouncing from Christmas trees, suspending Billy’s dog in Christmas lights. And let’s not forget the horrific holiday story/urban legend that explains why Billy’s crush Kate (the lovely Phoebe Cates) doesn’t celebrate Christmas, an aversion that the events of this movie no doubt strengthened.

As both a dark family-ish film and a horror-comedy, Gremlins isn’t on the level of E.T. or Ghostbusters, but I doubt its well-worn plot has ever been done better. The creatures themselves are well-crafted meanies, though their ever more ridiculous antics in a bar scene go past parody into annoyingly silly territory. Otherwise, it’s a perfect scary-lite film to watch any time of year, but especially at Christmas.

Best line:  (Chinese boy, describing the rules to Billy’s father) “First of all, keep him out of the light. He hates bright light, especially sunlight; it’ll kill him. Second, don’t give him any water, not even to drink. But the most important rule, the rule you can never forget, no matter how much he cries, no matter how much he begs:  never feed him after midnight.”

Rank:  List Runner-Up

© 2019 S.G. Liput

P.S.  And for my Christmas guest, I think I’ll invite the lovely Chloe Bennet (aka Skye/Daisy of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), with mistletoe in mind. Thanks again to Drew for hosting a great Christmas party!

Chloe Bennet

It’s my pleasure to, SG! As an Agents of SHIELD fan, I applaud your guest choice. 😀

Tomorrow is the second to last day of my annual Christmas in July blogathon and you won’t want to miss it!

Until next time, cheers!

Gremlins Review: Christmas in July Blogathon 2016

Closing out today’s portion of the Christmas in July blogathon is non other than my Ultimate 80s Blogathon co-host: Kim from Tranquil Dreams.  Kim covers a wide arrange of topics on her site, from movies, to TV, to unboxings, to game reviews. She even co-hosts several podcasts over at That Moment In.  She kind of does it all. Go check her site out because whatever your interests may be, chances are she covers it.  Today, she stops by to offer her review of the 80 classic, Gremlins.

Gremlins (1984)

Gremlins DVD poster

Director: Joe Dante

Cast: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton, Corey Feldman, Polly Holliday

“A boy inadvertently breaks three important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town.”- IMDB

Gremlins is not your typical happy happy joy joy Christmas movie. However, it is still part of a lot of Christmas movie lists because it is set during Christmas and our little guy down there, Gizmo was an exotic Christmas gift with the best intentions gone wrong. Except the fact that the effects are back in 80s and rewatching it makes it a little laughable, nothing else is wrong with Gremlins. I haven’t seen this movies since in the early 90s when I was a little girl. I can’t remember much of it or maybe I remember getting a little scared perhaps by the Gremlins. Rewatching it now is completely with fresh eyes.

gremlins gizmo

Gremlins is a fun adventure. While it is something of a creature feature, it plays on a lot of adventure and technically the city being taken over for the night by essentially deadly and menacing kids. Gremlins are young and they are gangs and they pull off things like drinking in the bar or watching a movie at the theatre except exponentially blown up. Their creature design (while outdated), is pretty creepy and that is definitely the point here especially when we wonder how they suddenly mutated from cute little Gizmo fluff balls to the disastrous monstrosity just by eating after midnight. There’s a prominent message for the younger audience about respecting rules and taking care of the creatures in it, which they do mention at the end.

gremlins dog

I’m sure at this point everyone knows it but to me, it was a surprise to see that the Mogwai had Chinese background, especially seeing the actual characters on the wall. Mogwai in direct translation is “Monster” and I had always wondered if there was a connection. It is a cool little tidbit that I cleared up in my mind.

On another note, while Christmas being overrun by monsters is kind of a scary thought, you can’t help but be amazed at how masterful this is done where there is a clear balance between fear and cute and funny. Always remembering to keep that balance and put in hints of Christmas from the Gremlins being carolers and the snowy cityscape. There are scary Christmas anecdotes from our characters as well. Not to mention Christmas lights as a tricksy trap and a few other bits here and there.

gremlins singing

Gremlins is a true 80s gem. Not only because it can pass for a Christmas movie which is a plus. It embraces the 80s cheese from the dialogue to the style to our characters here. Obviously the effects are dated but it never takes itself too seriously so that we, as the audience, also can bond but also remember to have fun and laugh. It doesn’t have to be all horror and thrills, we can still breath a little.

A huge thanks to Drew for putting on this awesome Christmas in July Blogathon so that I can revisit a really fun movie!

Thanks, Kim! I’m glad I could give you the chance to check this out again.

As for her guest in hopes of meeting under the mistletoe at our totally awesome Christmas part is the son of Dirty Harry, Scott Eastwood.

Scott Eastwood

Tomorrow, I close the the third annual Christmas in July Blogathon with my review of one of my all time favorite Christmas classics.


Christmas in July Blogathon 2015: Gremlins

Welcome back to the Christmas in July 2015 Blogathon.  Today starts with Darren from Movie Reviews 101 sharing his review of Gremlins. The stage is yours, Darren!

GremlinsDirector: Joe Dante
Writer: Chris Columbus (Screenplay)
Starring: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton, Corey Feldman, Dick Miller, Judge Reinhold, Belinda Balaski, Frances Lee McCain

Plot: A boy inadvertently breaks 3 important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town.

Verdict: Classic

Story: If you got a mysterious pet who has to be kept under three strict rules, no water, no feeding after midnight and no bright lights. It seems simple really but what if one of the rules was broken, well Billy accidentally breaks on of these rules leading to everything that happens.

It all comes off as a good creature feature that at the time you could show children to scare them but the fun side of it all works out well for them too. It comes off as an alternative Christmas film with its horror elements. It is now 30 years old and hardly feels like it has dated at all. So this Christmas instead of being forced feed the usual Christmas film watch this because it is easily much more fun. (9/10)

Actor Review

Zach Galligan: Billy the young man given the Mogwi to look after only to accidently get him wet, leading to new ones being spawned, then gets tricked into feeding them after midnight and has to fight off the Gremlins to save his small town. Solid performance from Zach, who does the fighting teen idea well.(7/10)

Phoebe Cates: Kate love interest of Billy who has a dark past when it comes to Christmas, who ends up teaming up with Billy to save the day. Solid supporting performance, fresh off the back of her biggest film. (7/10)

Supporting Cast: All of the supporting cast add something to the overall story, we have good and bad characters, with the good coming off strong and the bad getting what is coming to them. It really is all up to the Mogwi stealing all the scenes. (7/10)

Director Review: Joe Dante – Great direction to create a film that is still talked about today. (9/10)

Comedy: Has its funny moments mostly once the Gremlins turn up. (8/10)

Horror: This has good horror level because it was aimed at younger audience who would be scared with what happens. (8/10)

Settings: Most of the settings are around the small town but each works taking on the Gremlins. (7/10)

Special Effects: Great Special effects used throughout that have barely aged a day. (9/10)

Suggestion: This is a classic that has to be watched by all. (Watch)

Best Part: GizmogizmoWorst Part: The plot hole rules as it will always be past midnight.
Believably: No (0/10)
Chances of Tears: No (0/10)
Chances of Sequel: Has one
Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No
Box Office: $148 Million
Budget: $11 Million
Runtime: 1 hour 46 Minutes
Tagline: Cute. Clever. Mischievous. Intelligent. Dangerous.
Trivia: Generally credited (along with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)) to influence the MPAA to create the PG-13 rating, as many felt the scenes of violence in both movies were too much for a PG rating, but not enough for an R rating.

Overall: Enjoy


Now for Darren’s person he would like to meet under the mistletoe. He chose… Saraya-Jade Bevis, aka WWE Diva Paige.

PaigeThanks, Darren! Leave it to you to pick the English wrestler. What a great choice.  Kim will join in this afternoon with her favorite Christmas movie characters.  See you soon!