John Carpenter is one of the most important and inspirational writer/directors of all time. While not all of his films are hits, John Carpenter does whatever John Carpenter wants. He can make a film about a sidekick who doesn’t know he’s a sidekick (Big Trouble in Little China) or a film about ghosts hidden in a fog, John Carpenter wants to entertain John Carpenter (and maybe Kurt Russell), if the rest of you enjoy it, it’s just a happy mistake.
Claiming his best movie is pretty difficult, many would say either The Thing or Halloween but to me it’s always been They Live. Of all of his films it best shows his talent for pacing. Carpenter is always good with a slow burn into a pay off but never like They Live. The third of the film is more a statement on the economy than anything else. However our lead character (who is nameless but named Nada in the closing credits) feels like something is wrong. What he’s not sure, until he finds some magic sunglasses of course.
With these sunglasses Nada is able to see that the rich and powerful are aliens keeping the common man down. He decides it’s up to him and co-worker/friend Frank to end their control.
They Live is filled with memorable moments and lines. The fight sequence was recreated punch by punch in an episode of South Park awhile the line ‘I’ve come here to kick ass and chew bubble gum, and I’m all out of bubble gum” has appeared in such thins as Duke Nuke’Em and the IT Crowd. An 80’s classic for sure and something to not quickly be forgotten once you’ve seen it.