A big collection of films that might be considered as strange, mindfucking, surreal and weird. Sorted by year. Suggestions are…
Who are they? And what do they want?
Nada, a down-on-his-luck construction worker, discovers a pair of special sunglasses. Wearing them, he is able to see the world as it really is: people being bombarded by media and government with messages like "Stay Asleep", "No Imagination", "Submit to Authority". Even scarier is that he is able to see that some usually normal-looking people are in fact ugly aliens in charge of the massive campaign to keep humans subdued.
What strikes me most about Carpenter is his coolness, the calm deliberation with which he lets his plots unfurl. This premise, in the hands of any other filmmaker, would be a lightning quick action comedy, Men in Black or Big Trouble in Little China style. But instead it's almost an hour into a 90 minute film before the hero convinces someone else to try on the glasses. And the film's signature showpiece, the big action number, is a good old-fashioned slugging match between two friends, all over the one's stubborn refusal to do something as simple as try on a pair of glasses (hilariously allegorical, of course). Even the film's most famous line, one I've known for years (as I…
I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass... and I'm all out of bubblegum.
John Carpenter's commercial appeal peaked in 1984 when he made Starman, a film that earned Jeff Bridges an Oscar nomination. A mere two years later Carpenter's brilliant Big Trouble in Little China would bomb at the box office and his career would never really recover. It only took one box office disappointment and suddenly the director could no longer find financing for his films. The quality of his next films are arguable, but there is no question that his best work was now behind him although he did have one last success in him.
They Live is Carpenter's last box office success, even…
April 17, 1954 – July 31, 2015
What a horribly sad day this turned out to be. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper isn't just a former wrestler, he was a huge part of the golden age of wrestling in the 80s when professional wrestling was one of the most important things in kid DuLac's life (like many kids of the 80s). It really is the passing of a childhood hero who was just as much fun to watch when he was a villain.
Now Canadian wrestling fans have a tendency to be incredibly loyal to their countrymen. It's like a pride thing I guess... for a fake sport. Now Piper was billed from Glasgow, Scotland, but us Canucks knew…
What an awesome movie! I can't believe I've waited so long to watch this one. So metaphorical, a sad theory that has more truth to it than you'd think. Not to mention one of the most bad ass prolonged fight scenes, ever? This movie came to kick ass and chew bubble gum, and it's all out of gum!
This is one of very few Carpenter movies I've avoided for so long that it almost feels silly watching it today, when I'm thirty and should've developed some nostalgic love for this movie ages ago. I did just that with Big Trouble in Little China, and even though the theme in They Live should fit an adult (as my self, even though I refuse to really grow up), I found myself not getting as entertained as I should've been. I also had some problems with it not being Kurt Russel that played our beefy hero in a mullet.
They Live has more than one great thing going for it though. It has a does-this-fight-never-end? moment that I loved. It gets…
This is one of Carpenter's few comedies. This isn't a horror or action film, it is purely a satirical comedy that just happens to have science fiction elements.
I think that when you take this film seriously you'll end up hating it. It has so much tongue in cheek and cheese in it (tongue in cheese??), that it is hard to really take seriously. Not that it matters, because it is so much fun. The premise works, the corny one liners are hilarious and it just ambles along at a pleasant pace, never outstaying its welcome.
And the fist fight scene is just one of the best things ever put on film.
Somehow I'd never seen this all the way through before. As far as low-budget sci-fi satire goes, this is aces. It does peak early, however; and Carpenter clearly longs for his pal Kurt Russell in the lead, with Roddy Piper made up to resemble him. "Rowdy" isn't bad, but he has more attitude than personality, and lacks the presence of not only Russell but the comic chops of fellow WWFers Dwayne Johnson and Dave Bautista. Nevertheless, an essential Reagan Era time capsule.
Put on the glasses!
Put on the glasses!
PUT ON THE GLASSES!
[They fight, and it's awesome.]
had no idea the "wrestler in a lead role" thing was happening so long before the rock
As a John Carpenter fan, I had a certain degree of expectation, while keeping in mind that They Live is a campy cult film. The first 20 minutes or so were quite boring actually, with amateurish B-acting and a repetitive country-style soundtrack going on and on.
Then the moment arrived that the protagonist put on some magical sunglasses, and suddenly there was this very cool Orwellian twist in the story, with a wink to 1950s pulp sci-fi. That concept is actually too interesting to be ruined by caricatural characters, bad acting, a slow plot development and ultimately a quite ridiculous ending.
John Carpenter and his crew undoubtedly had fun creating this pulp movie, but I prefer his masterpiece The Thing.
I can acknowledge that They Live is not necessarily a "great" movie, but it is really fun. Once the movie gets going (it is pretty slow to start) the characters, cinematography, and choreography really make it worthwhile.
Whether you read it as a satirical view on conspiracy theorists or genuinely stand amongst its narrative revelations as easy truths within the American system of life - John Carpenter takes B-movie pizzazz and injects it with a highly tongue-and-cheek social allegory through "They Live". Our world controlled by aliens via the media? It’s something that seems even more logical by today’s standards, but it was Carpenter who made this supremely alive action film about the subject decades ago. By placing the inexperienced WWE wrestler Roddy Piper in the lead role as the theorist’s ultimate savior, you would be expecting a trainwreck. That "They Live" is constantly funny and very intimidating shows Carpenter is probably the pioneering master of vulgar auteurism.
Unapologetically, awesomely 80's.
As John Carpenter's sole socio-political satire, They Live is underappreciated, often dismissed as dated camp. But it's just Classic Carpenter, this time with admittedly blunt not-quite-sub-text.
Incidentally, watching Keith David and Rowdy Roddy Piper trounce each other is just what I needed today.
Add this to the list of "movies my brother showed me", but it probably didn't take a whole lot of convincing, considering it starred "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and I've been a huge wrestling fan my whole life?
Am I crazy or did The Matrix rip this film off, even if not intentionally? I mean, the idea of living in this dream world where everything is copacetic and then one day you put on the glasses/take the blue pill and BAM!, the world is nothing like you thought it was and in actuality, it's a nightmare. Sure, They Live is kind of a terrible movie, from an aesthetic point of view anyway. The acting is horrible. I mean, I LOVED Roddy…
For five years, film critic Scott Tobias compiled "The New Cult Canon" in a regular column for The A.V. Club…
A blend of personal favorites and films that I consider to be the "greatest." Top two-hundred is definitive. Only 1940-2015.