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Opinions: John Carpenter's "They Live"

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Opinions: John Carpenter's "They Live"

Old 03-24-04, 11:47 PM
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Opinions: John Carpenter's "They Live"

This was on as I was flipping through the channels the other day, and I'll have to admit, I stopped channel surfing and finished watching it.

I've seen this movie countless times and it still make's me laugh. It's so bad, its great.

Piper carries this film like he carries a match with a bunch of jobbers. Beat the crap out of them and then laughs in their face. His "storm trooper like aim", "bubble gum" line and bow-legged strut leave me wondering why John ever hired him...

But then my attention turned to the ever creepy-eyed Meg Foster (the only other film I remember seeing her in was Masters of the Universe as Evil-Lyn), and her eyes scare the beejeezus out of me... that and she could act her way out of a paper bag.

But the best thing about tis show is the final shot... "What's wrong baby?"

What do you think about the film...?

By the way, here's a link to the short story "Eight O'Clock In The Morning" the movie was based on.

(I'm pretty sure that smirnoffski had a John Carpenter thread a little while ago, so I didn't make this a poll... EDIT: it was Rivero who started the poll.)
Old 03-24-04, 11:49 PM
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They Live! owns... I love this film. I wish we could have gotten the SE R2 has.
Old 03-24-04, 11:56 PM
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I've got the R2 SE of this. Love this film. I actually think it's one of Carpenter's best, and not just for the camp value.
Old 03-25-04, 12:10 AM
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I think it's an excellent concept, but a mediocre film. Still, it's a film I love. The acting is subbar, the aliens are laughable and the direction isn't stylish or anything... but the concept, the idea of alien conspiracy hidden from the working man and so on, is GREAT.

Some EXCELLENT moments, which can never be reproduced...
The reveal of the big, bold black-lettered signs.
The alley fight!

I can see someone making a much better film one day. One without a wrestler delivering awful lines and with better filmmaking. But what would be the fun in that?

Last edited by DonnachaOne; 03-25-04 at 12:13 AM.
Old 03-25-04, 12:36 AM
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I think you're a little harsh there, gillberg. They Live is a very strong film and one of John Carpenter's best. You want some high art, do the Merchant-Ivory thing. You want excessive explosions, call Michael Bay. But if you want an offputtingly chilling sci-fi action pic with:

1. The greatest fight ever caught on film(alley brawl)
2. One of the best lines ever(I come here to chew bubble gum and kick aass. And I'm all out of bubble gum)

There is a lot more stuff worthy of trashing, not perfect, but one of John Carpenter's best in my book. He's never made a perfect film, but almost everyone is smart on some level and has heart and integrity. This is no different. Far from perfect, but an oasis of motivated action when the rest of the 80's was pretty mindless.
Old 03-25-04, 12:49 AM
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The Thing is his best work. They Live comes in second for me.
Old 03-25-04, 01:11 AM
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JUst read "8 o'Clock In The Morning". Good, wasn't great, and praise to Carpenter for finding the potential in that and expanding it so well.
Old 03-25-04, 05:38 AM
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One of my all-time favorite films... saw it in the theater actually.
Old 03-25-04, 06:46 AM
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One of my most-watched DVDs. It can be subjected to a lot of justifiable criticism, but that doesn't matter. because it works!
Old 03-25-04, 07:36 AM
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Carpenter's last good film.

I look at as a a satire on the science fiction B-movies of the 1950s and of 1980s America. It's essentially taken the cold-war paranoia of the Cold War era science fiction film (most notably Invasion of the Body Snatchers) and juxtaposed it onto 1980s Culture and Reaganomics: heavy-handed moralizing, the Rambo-like muscleman as protagonist (played by a WWF "villain" no less), yuppiescum. The bad acting only serves to set the b-movie tone.
Old 03-25-04, 07:59 AM
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Originally posted by The Nature Boy
I think you're a little harsh there, gillberg.
NTB... I think you misunderstand me. I love the film... I really do.

It rates up there with Critters, Arena and Robot Jocks as a few of my guilty 'sci-fi camp' pleasures. I've got to tip my hat to John Capenter for making enjoyable movies no one would have dared make in the 80s.

Big Trouble In Little China is my favorite Carpenter film... but this a close second.
Old 03-25-04, 08:08 AM
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Originally posted by Josh-da-man
Carpenter's last good film.

Agreed. With this and Prince of Darkness back to back, at least he went out (of the making-good-movies business) with a bang.
Old 03-25-04, 08:16 AM
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One of my faves from John Carpenter!

The alley fight alone (with some rasslin' moves!) makes it worth it.
Old 03-25-04, 09:32 AM
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A classic - arguably my favorite Carpenter flick!
Old 03-25-04, 09:38 AM
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Great movie, though I've always been dissappointed that it degrades into mindless action in the last half hour or so. I love the first part of the movie.
Old 03-25-04, 09:42 AM
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Originally posted by The Nature Boy

1. The greatest fight ever caught on film(alley brawl)
Word!
The fight between Roddy Piper and Keith David is pure art!
Old 03-25-04, 10:44 AM
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Originally posted by Goldberg74
NTB... I think you misunderstand me. I love the film... I really do.

It rates up there with Critters, Arena and Robot Jocks as a few of my guilty 'sci-fi camp' pleasures. I've got to tip my hat to John Capenter for making enjoyable movies no one would have dared make in the 80s.

Big Trouble In Little China is my favorite Carpenter film... but this a close second.
Then I'll rescind my comments. I just get emotional about this film!!! No hard feelings intended!

In regards to other posts saying this was Carpenter's last good film, I'll also put out a small vote for In the Mouth of Madness. Definately take it or leave it for many people, and not as good as they live, but not as bad as most of the recent stuff. Enjoyable movie.


And has anyone ever seen the South Park with Timmy and another handicapped character reenacting the "They Live" alley brawl punch for punch? I personally haven't but my friend has and says it's hilarious!
Old 03-25-04, 10:46 AM
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Hated it.
Old 03-25-04, 11:46 AM
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One of the most kick ass films ever to be created! I love it to death!
Old 03-25-04, 06:52 PM
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You... you look like your face fell in the cheese dip back in 1956.
Old 03-25-04, 07:15 PM
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Originally posted by clappj
Word!
The fight between Roddy Piper and Keith David is pure art!
I kinda liked the fight between Timmy & Jimmy a 'lil better...
Old 03-25-04, 10:59 PM
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I loved this flick when I was a teenager. I saw it in the theater and rented it many times.
A week ago I watched it again on DVD for the first time in ten years. For me it did not age well at all, and I don't just mean Piper's haircut.
I love the concept, and the aliens, but I was so frustrated with Nada's pure stupidity. Starting with the moment he began blabbing his discovery in the grocery store he made one poor decision after another until I just stopped rooting for him.
Old 03-28-04, 07:53 PM
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for the first hour of this film, it seems like this might be a 4 hour epic. carpenter was really taking his time. and then when they drop through the hole, it's as if carpenter realized 80 mins. had gone by, then he had to wrap it up, so he ended it as abruptly as possible.

still good.
Old 03-28-04, 09:30 PM
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I think the movie is just brilliant. Just take a look around right now and compare what "our" government is doing now compared with the "authorities" in the movie. Some very interesting/scary similarities. I always viewed this movie as the Ultimate Anti-Authority movie. And of course one of the greatest endings of all time. Not to mention a Bad-A** Music Score by Carpenter.
Old 03-28-04, 10:32 PM
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It was good enough for Duke Nukem. ;_

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