Thursday, June 25, 2009

Now There's Something You Don't See Everyday

They Live(1988)
Directed By John Carpenter

Everyone should see this once! Few films are this perfectly paranoid.
Wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper, plays a homeless day laborer in Los Angeles, who finds a pair of sunglasses, while sleeping in an abandoned church, that allow him to see the hidden nature of reality.
The world is actually ruled by creatures from another dimension, who are using subliminal messages to dominate the minds of the human population and control them to unseen ends.
Piper horrified, begins shooting the creatures down on the street where ever he finds them. After a ten minute fight with his best friend in an alley, where he forces he is able to force another person to put on the glasses, and share the view.
The fight is fascinating because the resistance that is put up for a whooping 10 minutes, is symbolic of how we are always naturally resistant to analysis.
It is a brutal battle, but an act of love on Piper's part, he must force his new point of view onto his friend, because he does not want him to go on being exploited, manipulated, and controlled. How many of us walk away after the first few blows we receive of criticism. Communication is always violent.
He eventually meets up with some human resistance forces (who it turns out designed the glasses), and the group set off to destroy the transmitters the creatures use to blind us to the real state of the world.
To quote Slavoj Zizek, "It's the forgotton masterpiece of the Hollywood left".
And it's got one of the best fights ever, and inspired poetic dialogue like "I'm here to kick ass and chew bubblegum...and I'm all out of bubblegum" as well as "Brother, life's a bitch...and this time she's in heat!"
The ending is also one of the best in cinema, "Hey baby, what's wrong!"
But God almighty, John Carpenter composed some bad music for his movies, and this is maybe the worst.
Still it's a great ridiculous concept, and it's failures improves it in ways, sane, balanced hand would never have been capable of.
You won't believe your eyes.

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