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Movie Debate #13: They Live


Reed Rothchild
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  1. 1. Rating explanations down below

    • 10/10 - One of your very favorite movies of all time. Top 10.
    • 9/10 - Killer fucking movie. Everyone should watch it.
    • 8/10 - Great movie. Maybe one of the best released that year.
    • 7/10 - Very good movie, but not quite great.
    • 6/10 - Pretty good. You might enjoy the occasional watch, or tune in if you happen to catch it on cable.
    • 5/10 - It's okay, but maybe not something you'll go out of your way to watch.
    • 4/10 - Meh. There's plenty of better alternatives to this.
    • 3/10 - Not very good.
      0
    • 2/10 - Not your cup of tea at all. Some people might like this, but you are not one of them.
      0
    • 1/10 - Horrible in every way.
      0
    • 0/10 - The Citizen Kane of painful experiences. You'd rather shove an icepick in your retinas than watch this.
      0


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A toughie!  On one hand, I do feel that everyone should see They Live at least once because of what it's trying to say.  On the other hand, there is some supremely cheesy dialogue and painful moments (like the overly long fight scene when trying to get Frank to put on the Hoffman lenses) that will turn some people away.  So I went with 7/10.

I always liked that Roddy Piper's character's name is never given in the film, only listed as Nada in the credits.

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I gave it a 4.  By happenstance I had read the story it was based on (Eight O'clock in the Morning by Ray Nelson) shortly before the movie was released and felt the movie didn't really do the original story justice.  (I didn't realize the tie-in until a bit into the movie.)

Both Carpenter and Piper have done better. Hell Comes to Frogtown was a much better vehicle for Piper since it was so campy (which fit in with Piper's  main wrestling/acting gig).

 

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@arch_8ngel

My all time favorite of his is the revision of "The Thing" (which is actually much closer to the 1934 novella "Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell Jr. than the earlier fifties version was).

Although the camp value of "Escape From New York" should not be overlooked.

Edited by Tabonga
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Member · Posted
32 minutes ago, glazball said:

 On the other hand, there is some supremely cheesy dialogue and painful moments (like the overly long fight scene when trying to get Frank to put on the Hoffman lenses) that will turn some people away.

Yeah, I got to say, everyone goes on and on about the fight scene, but I find it tedious watching it again.

I like the movie for the most part, though.

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Love it! Watched it last year with my mom after many years not seeing it and it still holds up, actually enjoyed it even more than those long years ago. It's quirky, different and fun, almost as much as Big Trouble in Little China which happens to be my absolutely favorite John Carpenter movie.

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Member · Posted

10.

This is one of my favorite movies. I love the entire theme of the ordinary guy uncovering a huge conspiracy. It's also very quotable and has the epic fight scene, social commentary about consumerism, and so on.

Too bad it's been adopted by conspiracy theorists and the alt-right as racist propaganda. John Carpenter didn't intend that at all.

 

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Editorials Team · Posted
22 minutes ago, captmorgandrinker said:

The first one of these I've actually seen!

So many knees to the nuts.   I actually saw the South Park episode that spoofed that fight before seeing the movie itself.

You've never seen any of the first 12 movies?

Someone mail Captain a box of DVDs, stat!

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1 hour ago, Reed Rothchild said:

You've never seen any of the first 12 movies?

Someone mail Captain a box of DVDs, stat!

Whoops, I missed Arachnophobia week.   This is the second one I've actually seen then.  (Gave it a 6 by the way as the definition fit my thoughts exactly)

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Love this movie, and John Carpenter works in general. Probably at my top of his selections next to Halloween. I would even go further than pure "unrestrained capitalism" and assign it the value of "anti-colonialism", it rather cleverly demonstrates the harm that can come out of subjugating another sentient population, and I found it particularly amusing that it presents it in such a way that even those in countries that largely benefited from colonial activities can side with the good guys and recognize the value behind the message (if you go even further, you can even draw from the terraforming goals of the aliens an environmentalist message as well).

 

Ignoring my "death of the author"-laden reading into the plot, I also think the creatures are great, the use of black and white for the shades view gives a great throwback to classic horror/monster movies, while also offering a contrast that fits the message of the film, and I love their attitude and the comeuppance they receive. The tech is super cool, from the portal watch to the disguise units, and of course I can't deny how much the movie was an inspiration to the excellent Duke Nukem 3D. The action scenes are good, the story develops in a way that I like (my preference is to "slow boilers" over films that jump right to it), and it has a satisfying climax and conclusion that lets you think about and enjoy imagining it.

 

I'm not sure who could do it justice, but I think that a modern "They Live" story, something that brought into it the rise of computer technology and its effect on society, would be an absolute treat. In fact, after seeing "They Live", I became suspicious that my computer and phone might be flashing subliminal messages at me! 😛 I absolutely think that this is a movie which needs to be seen and even re-seen, as a reminder of the very real evils which it hides in its otherwise cheesy action romp, and of course, a film that deserves to be watched just for the fantastic action and thrills. I happily give it a 10, definitely one of my tops, and the #1 reason I'm never afraid to mention that I'm all out of bubblegum.

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Member · Posted
36 minutes ago, koifish said:

I'm not sure who could do it justice, but I think that a modern "They Live" story, something that brought into it the rise of computer technology and its effect on society, would be an absolute treat. In fact, after seeing "They Live", I became suspicious that my computer and phone might be flashing subliminal messages at me! 😛 I absolutely think that this is a movie which needs to be seen and even re-seen, as a reminder of the very real evils which it hides in its otherwise cheesy action romp, and of course, a film that deserves to be watched just for the fantastic action and thrills. I happily give it a 10, definitely one of my tops, and the #1 reason I'm never afraid to mention that I'm all out of bubblegum.

They tried to rip off They Live and hip it up with technology, it was called "branded" or something really generic and was quickly forgotten about.

If they were to remake they should just stick to the original script, keep it grounded and gritty, the themes are just as relevant today, maybe more so.


 
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1 hour ago, koifish said:

 

I'm not sure who could do it justice, but I think that a modern "They Live" story, something that brought into it the rise of computer technology and its effect on society, would be an absolute treat. In fact, after seeing "They Live", I became suspicious that my computer and phone might be flashing subliminal messages at me! 😛 I absolutely think that this is a movie which needs to be seen and even re-seen, as a reminder of the very real evils which it hides in its otherwise cheesy action romp, and of course, a film that deserves to be watched just for the fantastic action and thrills. I happily give it a 10, definitely one of my tops, and the #1 reason I'm never afraid to mention that I'm all out of bubblegum.

  • If you haven't seen it, Videodrome (which was shot 5 years before they live) fills a lot of what you describe.  It suffers from Cronenberg's usual penchant for weird stuff but it does have some messages mixed in there.  Plus it stars Debbie Harry (of Blondie fame) in it.

 

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1 hour ago, fox said:

They tried to rip off They Live and hip it up with technology, it was called "branded" or something really generic and was quickly forgotten about.

If they were to remake they should just stick to the original script, keep it grounded and gritty, the themes are just as relevant today, maybe more so.



 

Did that movie ever actually come out?

I remember the previews being interesting and then it just disappeared.

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