CBGs(Cool Black Guys): 7/10
Alien Ass-kicking: 8/10
We live in a world controlled by the media. We are constantly receiving messages on what it socially appropriate, what is expected of us on a day-to-day basis in order to be accepted. From commercials to billboards, magazines to newscasts, all day long our senses pick up this constant stream of information. I’ve always wondered why my natural inclination is to obey authority and reject original thought, and thanks to the movie “They Live”, I finally understand.
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper stars as the George Nada, your everyday man’s man whose just looking to get a job, work hard, and accomplish the American dream. Things begin to get strange when Piper stumbles upon a special kind of sunglasses that reveal the world as it really is: a subliminal nightmare. Billboards for vacations and various products show secret messages of “OBEY” and “NO THOUGHT”, droids roam the sky to ensure everyone is serene and clueless, and the people….well, half the population (the wealthier half) is really a secret alien race slowly taking over the planet. No sooner does Mr. Rowdy discover this than he is verbally assaulting an old lady (one of them!) and revealing that he can see past their pretty disguises to the bug/corpse faces beneath.
Within minutes of outing himself as a wise-ass, the Pipe-ster beats up some cops and gets some serious artillery, vowing to destroy the alien menace. His initial plan of kicking ass and chewing bubblegum quickly falls through, however, due to a lack of bubblegum and an overwhelming population of asses. He needs help, and luckily there is a rebellion group close by! He teams up with his former construction coworker and resident CBG, Frank (Keith David), after spending a good 10 minutes fighting him in an alley(the template for the great South Park Cripplefight), and joins the freedom fighters in a desperate attempt to show the world whats really going on.
When their rebel base is invaded by the evil empire(hahaha), Rod-man and Keith accidentally fall into the alien headquarters and discover just how wide-spread this conspiracy is, but remain optimistic that they can win the day by blowing up a satellite dish on the roof of the news station. Not the best plan I’ve ever heard, but hey, Dr. Phil says its good to have goals, so more power to them. After disposing of some space garbage they make their way to the roof, only to be betrayed by a real human! Oh the humanity….or lack of humanity…or whatever. Years of crushing blows to the head have left His Royal Rowdyness stubborn and single-minded though, and he makes sure he sends that satellite dish to hell with a final one-finger salute to his pursuers, winning the battle and forgetting the war.
The movie ends on a delicious montage of aliens losing their disguises in the most awkward and hilarious of positions while John Carpenter woos you with his signature “one-guy-and-a-synthesizer” soundtrack, leaving a lasting impression of ass-kickery on the brain. This is one of those movies that met my expectations fully, and served up a series of memorable and campy scenes for pop culture references for the next couple centuries. John Carpenter, you never let me down.
Don’t let me down! Let me know what movie I should watch next!