Saturday, December 11, 2010

They Live-review with spoilers

Can this really be a decent movie?
So often in the past wrestlers have made the attempt to make movie and they have been black holes of entertainment.  There are two exceptions The Rock and Rowdy Roddy Piper.  Roddy Piper starred in the 1988 movie “They Live” which is what we are here to chat about today.  It’s not only a cool bit of sci-fi but it REALLY has a message about mass consumerism, advertising and political subversion.  Plus it honestly has some of the most bad ass fight scenes in movies around.
Cripple Fight!!!!
            Don’t believe me? South Park used the ENTIRE scene where Keith David and Roddy Piper duke it out in a long, brutal match in the street as a model for their “Cripple Fight” episode.  So without further ado let’s dive into “They Live”.
            The story takes place in Los Angeles where a nameless drifter played by Piper comes into town.  He is big and mulleted and looking for work.  But the economy sucks. He finds work as a construction worker and meets a guy named Frank Amitage (Wow! Big Lovecraft reference ahoy!). They go to a local shanty town where a soup kitchen provides food.  Piper is a really noisy guy though he sees that the church’s soup kitchen is a front. 
            Their “choir practice” is just a recording and there are chemicals and boxes of sunglasses.  Plus a super secret compartment with a box by rooting like an asshole.  This church is also jamming TV broadcasts to give off their own pirate message trying to wake up the community.  That night the police show up and surround the church.  Then for NO REASON they set bulldozers on the shantytown destroying it and forcing everyone within to flee.
            Piper returns the next day to that compartment he found earlier and takes out a box still inside.  He races to an alley to open the box and discovers it’s full of cheap looking sunglasses.  Confused he throws them in the trash can but keeps one for himself since who in L.A can’t use a pair of cheap sunglasses.  He is shocked to discover though that things don’t look the same through the sunglasses.  The world is in shades of grey.
Read my lips...oh my bad.
            He notices a billboard that says “Obey” when he takes off the glasses it’s an ad for computers.  He looks at another billboard for a vacation spot and puts on the glasses, “Marry and Reproduce” it says. He walks by a magazine rack and they all say things like “Consume”, “Watch TV”, “Do Not Question Authority”, and “Submit”. He is surrounded by this subliminal propaganda.  Through the glasses our money is just plain white paper that says “This is your God”.  Then he sees a man except he looks like his skin is gone.  He is a bit shocked to say the least. 
            He goes into a liquor store where he sees all sorts of the creatures mingling with regular folks.  At this point he’s got to think he’s nuts or that the world has gone to hell.  He bumps into a woman with the skeletal face.  He tells her “You see, I take these glasses off, she looks like a regular person, doesn't she? Put 'em back on...formaldehyde-face!” The women doesn’t take this well and starts talking into her watch.  Saying “I've got one that can see!” Piper books it out of the store.
            He pauses outside to insult a skeletal woman looking at her reflection in a glass.  “That is like pouring perfume on a pig.”  It isn’t long before two skeletal cops catch him and try to talk him down. But this is the wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper.  He beats the shit out of them and shoots them with their own guns in broad daylight. So he finds out they die like everyone else.  Still, I was shocked there were no screams or attempts at assistance at two cops being gunned down in the street.  Must really be L.A.
This image says "America" in so many ways.

            So Piper takes the cops shotgun and weapons and pieces together that they are aliens. He stumbles into a bank where he delivers the classic line.  “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass... and I'm all out of bubblegum.”  He starts blowing away the aliens out of the crowd at the bank.  In truth that has to be terrifying to the crowd.  Some nut shows up and starts blowing people away without asking for money and seemingly without reason.
            One of the aliens describes him into his watch and as he is about to be shot he is teleported from the bank.  Piper bolts out of the bank in time to see a little saucer device following him taking his picture.  He shoots it down.   Then a human cop appears.  Piper makes him give up his weapon and run off.  He finds a Kristie Alley look-a-like named Holly in a parking garage and forces her to give him a ride to her place.
            She does and they chat a bit.  She of course doesn’t believe him and she managed to get him out of her house by smashing a champaign bottle at the back of his skull making him fall through her living room window and fall down the L.A. hills, (her house is one of those nuts ones on stilts).  Piper left his weapons and glasses behind of course. But that aside lets have some fun and count the number of ways he should be dead now.
1.      The heavy bottle smashing his medulla oblongata.
2.      The glass of the living room window cutting an artery and bleeding him to death.
3.      The fall upward to 30 feet could break his back or neck.
4.      The tumble down the hills at the speed he was rolling after the fall could shatter his neck as well.
So there are at least 4 ways he should be dead now. Still Piper is built like Wolverine because he goes back to the alley where he left the glasses.  Roots through the trash and seeing it’s taken out notices the dump truck.  He happens to hi the right buttons and climbs in unnoticed and get the right box out of all the bullshit that is in the truck.
He gets a pair of glasses and his buddy Frank is there to give him some cash. He doesn’t want to get involved and he not listening to Piper’s story since Piper appears to be a gun toting nut.  Piper just wants him to try on the glasses and see for himself.  Frank refuses.  So they engage in an AWESOME fistfight that goes on a long time.  Finally Frank puts on the glasses and sees the aliens.
They go into hiding and eventually meet up with others from the old church.  They get some new weapons and contact lens to see them.  They also discover that the aliens are to blame for carbon dioxide and methane emissions.  I guess Al Gore was wrong.  Holly is at the meeting telling Piper she believes him and they get information that the aliens are using a single Television signal to hide what they really are.
            The police show up and are killing everyone unarmed and armed alike.  Frank and Piper escape using a watch that one of the rebels confiscated.  They find themselves in a series of underground tunnels.  They discover a place that allows for easy space travel and a group of aliens throwing a party for their human collaborators.
The army is after him with a PKE meter. That would work awesome if he was a ghost.
            Yet another passage leads to the local TV station and the source of the alien signal.  Holly works there so they hope to get help on the way to the roof.  During their kill spree Holly shoots Frank execution style.  Holly tells Piper there is no use fighting them.  A helicopter arrives.  Piper draws a hidden gun and shoots Holly and then the antenna blowing it up.  The helicopter shoots him and as a dying act Piper shoots the aliens “the Bird”.
            With the signal destroyed people around L.A. start to see the aliens as well.  They see them in bars, on TV and one girl is having sex with one.  That is where we end.  It’s a funny and dark movie.  Completely worth your time since it’s actually got some intelligence behind it as well.  It’s really well done.  Check it out if you get a chance.

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