They Live


I’m a really huge fan of hyperbole. I like to think that every movie I see, particularly immediately after I’ve seen it, is the Best Movie Ever. And I tell everyone. “You absolutely have to see this movie, dude… It’s the best movie ever!” And they watch it, because I make them, and they usually don’t agree. Sometimes, even, they think I’m a quack and tell me that I have terrible taste in movies (this goes for music, too). But once somebody sees Rowdy Roddy Piper fight Keith David for seven minutes yelling “Put the glasses on!”, I hear few arguments.

I really do think this is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen, though. it’s an amazingly personal film, for having such a ridiculous concept. For those of you unaware, it’s about a guy who finds a pair of sunglasses that show him the world is run by aliens and subliminal messages. Basically, the best pair of shades in the world. What makes it so personal, is that John Carpenter loads this with his own politics… He takes every shot he can at people with expensive watches, big bank accounts, nice suits, banks, and sell-outs. All the people everyone normally hates.
Which was, actually, the only argument I’ve heard yet against the movie: That it’s already been said so many times, it’s just hating on people nobody likes anyways. We already know that we can”t trust bankers, politicians, cops, businessmen… To a certain degree, anyways. So what’s the point in watching the movie? Is it to have something reaffirm your own beliefs… To be assured that someone’s fighting on your side?


Maybe. it’s possible. I”ll admit that one of the main aspects of the film that really drew me in was the fact that I felt a little bit of loneliness skip away knowing someone agreed with me… Particularly someone with the reputation Carpenter has. “You mean there’s someone making semi-major films that thinks this shit up too? Cool!” But I don’t think it’s that. Even if you skip out on all the social-conscience metaphoric value, it’s a kick-ass action movie, which has the best one-liner since Die Hard:
“I’m here to chew bubblegum, and kick ass… And I’m all out of bubblegum.”

This followed by shotgun blasts fired at bankers who are really super-ugly aliens. I know, right? How can you say no to that? The actions scenes are good fun, the fist-fight is the best in movie history (there I go with that hyperbole again, eh?), so, yeah, even if you turn your head off to the thinkin” parts, it’s a lot of fun. But it’s pretty damn hard to ignore the obvious angry-at-everything political angle. So what’s the point in watching it if it’s all been said before?

Because there’s something lurking behind it. Sure, it tells you we’ve been brainwashed, that we live in a saturated world that doesn”t take any chances and is living in a perpetual state of selling out, but it points a pretty hefty finger at the audience. it’s like it’s saying “Look what you”ve let them do.” Just how much time gets wasted in front of TV’s watching the remake-series of Hawaii Five-0 is baffling, but no more than how much gets done and ruined in that time that we didn”t even know about. If anything carries real weight in the movie, it’s the implicit notion that we”re only here, this fucked up, because they did while we were sleeping, a nap we’ve yet to come out of. They Live While We Sleep.

So do you watch it? You’re damn right, you do. It even gives you a good one-liner yourself: Every time you learn something new that makes you see the world for how it truly is, you can look yourself in the mirror and say “Now I’ve got my glasses on.” The first step is watching the film. Get your damn glasses on, and get ’em on fast… I don’t know if I can throw down for seven minutes.

-The Mad Haunter