JUNK FOOD: The Mogwai Variant

December 2021

The movie that best captures the complicated emotions surrounding Xmas is – in my haughty humble opinion – Gremlins. There’s snow, and carols, and Santa hats, and cookies, all of which ultimately take a backseat to unfolding disasters, and latent trauma. As the titular creatures wreak havoc on the teeny-tiny snowglobe of a town, our main characters each get a moment of reflection, of reckoning. We learn of deaths, desertions and disappointments that each character has masked under a pastiche of loud sweaters and prescribed holiday fare; just like Gizmo they each have a darker side that is barely kept in check. The holiday veneer becomes grotesque as even their thinly-veiled issues must take a backseat to the literal invasion of deadly organisms outside their doors.

man looks at Mogwai and mini piano; Gremlins

Which brings me to Xmas 2021.

The holidays are tricky anyway for me as I think about those who are no longer here. But this year (kind of like last year) I’ll be remembering my people and trying to keep my chin up apart from my family. My gorgeous boyfriend and I have determined it is not prudent, nor safe to expose our respective families to anything outside their biomes—we’re vaxxed and masked, but Omicron don’t care—so we’ll be staying put in our stupid little house. So this year I’ll be missing the folks who are gone, as well as those I’m glad are still around.

man with head on pillow next to scared looking Mogwai; Gremlins

The scary, tricksy Gremlins that beset the little Xmas town had one agenda, two action items: 1. Multiply. 2. Mayhem. I am predisposed to being super cautious, and have seen enough movies to know that there is no amount of fake snow, dubbed caroling, or bad dialogue that will trump a bad decision in the face of catastrophe. So even though I’ll be missing just about everyone this weekend, I’d rather stay put and hunker, than risk missing even more folks next year.

Mogwai puppet in box; Gremlins

Happy Holidays, all. Here’s hoping 2022 is less dumb.