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The They Live (1988) Appreciation Thread
In which we celebrate John Carpenter, Roddy Piper, putting on the glasses, chewing bubble gum, kicking ass, and reminiscing on how little this movie has aged.

My article on the 30th anniversary.
"PREDATOR 2 feels like it was penned by convicts as part of a correctional facility's creative writing program, and that's what I love about it." - Moltisanti
Don't get me wrong, I love the bubblegum line. But I think like you I have more admiration for the "cheese dip" drop. Doesn't even make much sense but the delivery slays me every time.
I worked in a multiplex when it was released and I took great pride in introducing it to coworkers and customers while we had it (it stayed with us for months, that could happen back then).  It remains one of my Top Ten Films of the 80s and I loved how it's aged so perfectly.  Once long ago, I was a Nada.  I believed, "Everyone has their own hard times these days."  Sadly, the Ghouls are now more plentiful then ever.

The original short story, Eight O'Clock In The Morning, is definitely worth a read, too.

Four or five years ago I started designing a board game based on THEY LIVE.  It even included an "Alley Fight" element in which players would (virtually) beat each other up.  My two co-designers moved away, so it sadly remains unproduced, but I do retain all of my design notes, promo sketches and concepts.

Also, here's a repost of something I found and wrote about here back in 2013.  Worth repeating.

"In THEY LIVE, Nada (Roddy Piper) and Frank (Keith David) are talking...

Frank: I'm walkin' a white line all the time. I don't bother nobody, nobody bothers me.  You better start doin' the same!
Nada: The white line's in the middle of the road.  That's the worst place to drive.

The clunkiness of that exchange always struck me as weird.  Like, "Why did Nada mix metaphors from walking the white line to driving on it?"  I only now just got around to looking it up and was impressed to discover that Nada's actually paraphrasing poet Robert Frost and his response to a speech by Eisenhower about how America's future lies in the middle of the road between the power of concentrated wealth and the power of statism and partisan interests: "The middle of the road is where the white line is - and that's the worst place to drive."

Levels, man."
I've never understood how whether a movie has aged or not adds or detracts from it's quality. They Live feels like it has aged to me. Quite a bit. It's themes are certainly prescient once again but I don't know if that's the same thing.

But all that They Live an awesome, bitchin' movie? Yes. Yes it is..
I wouldn't necessarily say it has to speak to overall quality, but I will say it is a nice thing when a film seems just as fresh and relevant thirty years later as it did when it was first created, though it could just as much be more quantifiable in the quality of audiences over time than the film itself. For example:

I love BLUE VELVET, but for some modern audiences it's not quite as scary as it used to seem. At a screening I once attended, some fool in front of me actually started texting during the first Jeffery-in-the-closet sequence. That's just appalling. No fault of or reflection on the film, mind you.

I've only known one person over the years who didn't care for THEY LIVE. Which is fine, since he was a lame sonofabitch anyway.
People who text in a theater during a film just royally piss me off. That's just....barbaric..
Classic bit of fan art...


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