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.
Highly underrated film by John Carpenter just oozing with politically subversive biting satire that is even more relevant today then it was back in the 80's!
Roddy Piper's fight with Keith David's was quite a delicious little spectacle!
The film and score were so hip it had a swagger!
Last Word: I'm giving you a choice.. either put on "They Live" or start eatin' that trash can! ;-)
Recommended by Mick Culleton via my list "Movie Request Hotline"
Great Flick Mick! Thank You very much for recommending it!
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…
Overall as a complete package, this isn't Carpenter's best film. However the great moments are better than most filmmakers will get close to in their career.
Roddy Piper, having had his eyes opened, tries to wake his friend Keith David from his slumber but he's stubborn. So he literally has to beat him into submission in a bout that seems like it will never end. David is unwilling to accept that the world he lives in is more totalitarian (right word?) than he could imagine. Not until he has to.
I do this to friends who watch X-Factor.
They Live! Regarded now as a cult movie, and directed by the legendary John Carpenter, this movie is one that has somehow evaded my attention for the last couple of decades.
The film has a very interesting idea and premise, and one that appeals to my way of thinking. Considered a satire and inspired by the ever-increasing commercialization of 80's pop culture and politics, the idea for the film came from a short story called 'Eight O'Clock in the morning', written in the 60's.
With regards to the political slant on the film - this is best explained in the Wikipedia article:
The more political elements of the film are derived from Carpenter's growing distaste with the ever-increasing commercialization of…
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.
Hadn't watched this in years. It's still hilarious and transgressive but I forgot that it meanders a little halfway through the second act and loses some momentum.
Best movie brawl ever?
An incredibly perplexing movie. The Orwellian concept was perfectly suited to a director of Carpenter's singular talents, but its execution leaves much to be desired. The effects are atrocious, especially when compared to those in stronger Carpenter efforts like The Thing, and the decision to cast professional wrestler Roddy Piper as the blue collar hero Nada was bizarre.
On the nose? This film lives on the nose. But for all the B-movie credentials dialled up to 11, this is fun, with the best bit of fisticuffs on celluloid.
They Live is at times totally absurd (the bubblegum line, for example, which I’ve never thought was all that funny), but its central revelation is masterful, melding the film’s political satire with its good old-fashioned alien invasion narrative. You laugh when those cartoonish bug-eyed aliens pronounce their capitalistic agenda – think about that; in what other movies do aliens want to harvest Mother Earth's monetary instead of horticultural resources? – but behind the ridiculous one-liners and the shootouts and the spectacularly elongated fight scene is a genuine frustration. I wish more movies ballasted such absurdity with sincerity.
Thumbs Up: The concept is genius and all of the effects - from the matte-painting skyline to the monster make-up - look awesome. I wanted to love this movie so damn much.
Thumbs Down: Firstly, both the character of Nada and Rowdy Roddy's performance are total shit; sure, you didn't come here for an intense character study, but its 30 boring minutes before he puts on the freaking sunglasses and it wouldn't have hurt to have some...I don't know...personality in there. Plus Roddy may be able to handle the campy action-hero stuff well enough but that monologue about his dad or that bit where he's homeless and falls asleep shivering in an alley...brutal. Secondly, for all the loud noises and…
I loved the concept and the way the film depicted the world when sunglasses were worn.
HOWEVER, the score is AWFUL if you can call it a score as it's just the same minute of music looped over and over and over again. And the wrestling scene that went for, what felt like, 20 minutes was absolutely pointless. Sorry Rowdy Roddy don't quit your day job...
Very creepy concept. Some people complain that I use big words, I just don't want to sound fucking illiterate like some gay asses.
Some slimy gay asses. Bloated slimy gay ass.
I'm always so keen to fall in love with John Carpenter's films that they often disappoint slightly on a first watch, and I felt the same way coming out of They Live for the first time. It's got plenty of wonderful moments, including one of the best - possibly the best - fistfights of all time, but it's also paced incredibly oddly and Roddy Piper doesn't exactly light up the screen with his performance.
The satirical stuff that is revealed when Piper dons his magical sunglasses works really well, and the general look of the film is very strong - I enjoyed it a lot despite it feeling a fair bit longer than it actually is, and I think it'll grow on me over time.
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- Un Chien Andalou
- L'âge d'or
- Meshes of the Afternoon
- Donnie Darko
- Morvern Callar
- Irma Vep
- Miami Blues
- Babe: Pig in the City
For five years, film critic Scott Tobias compiled "The New Cult Canon" in a regular column for The A.V. Club…
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- Assault on Precinct 13
- The Good, The Bad, The Weird
- Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia
- Hard Boiled
I started with a top 10 list and decided what the hell lets see how far I can go. Top…