For five years, film critic Scott Tobias compiled "The New Cult Canon" in a regular column for The A.V. Club…
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…
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…
"There is no stopping the alien force, but there is a new apocalypse in exposing them, as shown in the film’s final, darkly comic moments. Nada himself has no place of innocence that he could return to. Played by wrestler Roddy Piper, Nada is the epitome of 1980s machoism taken to an extreme, and while he originally declares that he 'believes in America,' the film makes him into a disillusioned enemy of the state who instead must destroy the country he loves. In a confession to Frank, Nada explains how he ran away from home because his father beat him, suggesting that perhaps this idea of a perfect 'Morning in America' was always a lie. He concludes, 'I ain’t daddy’s…
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.
Gracias diocito por los 80.
Hoop-Tober film #26
I could have done with like five minutes less of that fight over not wearing sunglasses. I get the film is a satire, and the last thing it does is take itself seriously, but it doesn't seem to really go anywhere. And it disappears with a weird, clumsy - albeit funny and rewarding - ending.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Perfectly fine for a B movie. Has a ridiculously long and silly fight scene, but has a handful of McGuffins and blatantly apparent plot holes. Which didn't bother me a whole lot, but were things that could have been cleared up easily enough.
Not John Carpenter's best work but is a fun story with some hilariously bad acting by Roddy Piper and some genuinely fun acting by Keith David.
Favorite Carpenter Film!
"Mama don't like tattletales." John Carpenter is a god.
Well this totes the longest fight scene is movie history so how can we go wrong? Rowdy Piper shows he can act (to some degree). We have the Chinese guy (Al Leong) who dies in every movie he is pretty much in. Interesting enough ending.
The film has a terrific concept and vibe, yet still feels very hollow to me. Perhaps I am spoiled by how well the X-Files took the concept and ran. The moments that were cool, such as the police raid and moments of surprise, just felt like cool moments without any connection to the film at large. I thought the famous one-liner felt forced, and the street fight scene felt completely pointless. it feels like the first draft of a great genre film that didn't get the rewrite it deserves.
Well done classic Carpenter film
- Donnie Darko
- Morvern Callar
- Irma Vep
- Miami Blues
- Babe: Pig in the City
- A Page of Madness
- Un Chien Andalou
- L'âge d'or
- Meshes of the Afternoon
A big collection of films that might be considered as strange, mindfucking, surreal and weird. Sorted by year. Suggestions are…
- Once Upon a Time in the West
- 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…