‘They Live’, John Carpenter’s 12th film as a professional filmmaker, is an experience like no other and still-arguably more, resonates today with powerful ideas of conformity and mindless consumerism. Now, we celebrate.
They Live; A cult classic that many feel is a documentary due to it’s pertinence towards an extraterrestrial reptilian species. Some say it documents how certain factions on Earth control us subconsciously. Ironically many people do not have independent thought.
They do as they’re told like a trained German shepherd. I ask that you abide by and adhere to me. Though I am surpassed by FOX’s ability to influence when it pertains to declaring a fictional holiday (Alien Day), the aforementioned holiday wasn’t official by any means.
So I unofficially announce the commencement of Obey and Conform Day; the date is up to you. I ask that you begin with dedicating an hour and thirty-seven minutes of your time. After that, you can return to the mundane hobbies some of you partake in, such as: complaining, vomiting, breathing, DDP yoga, or driving in an abhorrent fashion in Los Angeles at eight o’ clock in the morning.
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There are three stipulations you must follow in order to properly celebrate Obey and Conform Day. Actually, there should be four stipulations but the film They Live should already be in your collection. Unless the flick, No Holds Barred, ruined movies that involve wrestlers for you.
The first prerequisite, you must log on to rowdyroddypiper.com and purchase authentic merchandise. There are too many of you blokes selling rubbish; such as bootleg shirts among other things. I recently saw a Bolin Services shirt that appeared to be some off-brand fabrication but was told the shirt was purchased from Kenny “Starmaker” Bolin himself. I don’t consider Bolin to be a reprehensible unscrupulous reprobate but Kroger might, allegedly.
Now that I’m finished impersonating various writers at WWE and KFC marketing, I now give you the second provision of Obey and Conform Day, watch John Carpenter’s 1988 classic film, They Live. I personally thought that Roddy’s acting was superb considering he wasn’t a highly-trained actor who studied at Julliard.
There is an instance when a helicopter apparently wounds him fatally which was a bit peculiar but it only led me to believe that perhaps there is a chance John Nada didn’t succumb to his injuries. Then again that could be an excuse to conceal the one brief moment of lamentable acting in an otherwise brilliant performance by the Hot Rod.
The film’s fight scene between Piper’s character and Keith David, who plays Frank Armitage, is an excellent sequence with a comedic quality. The moment that has the ability to elicit a laugh is after Nada puts a 2×4 into Frank’s car through the back window. He realizes that he could have injured Armitage severely and apologizes. Armitage then breaks a bottle and cuts his own hand which makes Nada chuckle.
I once read an opposing opinion towards the fight scene written by… let’s call them Vincenzo. Vincenzo pointed out that the fight was essentially meaningless; but when you consider an interaction between two acquaintances in which one of them is wanted for multiple homicides, you can accentuate plausibility of violence to intervene. Especially when the alleged murderer is demanding you put his sunglasses on.
Those viewpoints aside, the arc of the story is Nada’s attempt to provide the truth of the world to the only person that he trusts. Quite frankly, many of us turn to violence as the first resort. How’s that for news, VINCENZO!
Official US One-Sheet
I recollect the memory of seeing the fight for the first time as I was channel-surfing as a child. I was the Martin Potter / Kelly Slater of channel-surfing back then. Anyway, the film was on network television and the fight was in progress. A commercial break was soon initiated, immediately after Piper is slammed onto the pavement; because of the break I thought Roddy had lost.
At that age, seeing Roddy lose a fight was like seeing Jesus choke on a fishbone. I wasn’t amused. I’m not much of a commercial fan either so I discontinued watching. I’ve seen the film in its entirety since then and as far as I’m concerned, the film is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (which is a word by the way, ask Oxford Dictionary).
I recently listened to an episode of Piper’s Pit podcast with John Carpenter as the guest. Carpenter saw something in Roddy that he failed to see in himself. That something was the ability to perform as an actor. “There’s one scene I’m really proud of that you (Roddy) brought to it” said Carpenter. “It’s when your character finds the box of sunglasses. He has one, puts it on and suddenly sees the world as it really is- underneath, in black and white.” Carpenter goes on to explain how Roddy, after his views change by taking the sunglasses on and off, is able to bring a quality of subtlety and cynicism to the film; that would be the consequential inclination needed for Piper’s character to embark on his plight against evil.
John Carpenter had two ideas leading up to the film for its plot. He was either going with a character to be someone who worked in television production; an executive figure. Or, a guy who drifted into town, looking for employment. He chose the latter and felt that Roddy would be perfect for They Live. Carpenter remarked how Roddy looked like a tough guy who worked for a living. The antithesis of an 80s movie star. Carpenter saw life itself emanating from Roddy’s face.
Finally, the third clause needed in order to properly celebrate Obey and Conform Day, is to comment below about your own thoughts of the film. Go ahead, take your greasy little fingers and type something that I may or may not perceive to be rational. You wanna be big time right, everybody wants to be big time, as Roddy would say.
Here is your chance to be heard, just wait a second while I give you layman’s terms assuming you need assistance with that as well: Good, okay, fun, bad. That simple enough for you sucker, maybe I’ll give a multi-syllabic word next time. So comment below or “start eating that trash can”. You keep in your very,very humble abode within the shantytown you call a neighborhood.