Updated: Nov 4, 2021
There was a time in America where Americans were measured by a few things. One was the desire to work. Work means money which means supporting yourself and your family. It also meant providing opportunity. The other was his ability to fight. Americans used to fight for the principles of Freedom, fight for themselves, and fight for the Rights of others. In our society today, we find many an American lacking in these qualities. Why though?
Is it because they STAY ASLEEP? The only care to BUY and CONSUME? They have NO THOUGHT? They DO NOT QUESTION AUTHORITY? They SUBMIT and OBEY?
The answer is YES, on all counts. But how do those who still believe in American Exceptionalism fight back against such reckless apathy and complete obedience to an entity that really doesn't care for any of us except to keep us in line and maintaining the status quo?
The answer is we roll up our sleeves, put on some sunglasses, chew some bubble gum, and go kick ass against...
They Live! (1988)
Directed by: John Carpenter
Written by: John Carpenter (screenplay), Ray Faraday Nelson (short story "Eight O'Clock in the Morning")
Music by: John Carpenter, Alan Howarth
Stars: Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster, Peter Jason
Watch on: Peacock
Review Alpha 9.10.21.0010
Nada, one of SciFi's greatest characters, is a drifter in search of work. He arrives in late 1980s Los Angeles, where he gets a construction job and befriends a fellow construction worker, Frank. Frank invites him to join a nearby shanty town where a man named Gilbert runs the show.
Now settled in the shanty town, Nada and Frank discuss their lives, including the current state of the economy. Frank speaks about worker's rights where Nada talks about belief in America through a hard day's work and earning through patience. It's the philosophy of corporations hording and breaking the working class versus pull yourself up by the bootstraps and work hard because the rewards will be earned.
That night, while watching a program, the TV signal is pirated where a man talks about signals that have been discovered that are affecting people's lives. As the pirate broadcast cuts in and out, a street preacher is saying word for word the same message as the man on the screen. One of the residents of the shanty town gets fed up and changes the channel. This moment illustrates the two groups of people: the group who recognizes the threat and seeks action and the group that is compliant.
The next day arrives and its more of the same with the pirate signal coming in and out on the TV. It is now when Nada decides that he is going to take action as he suspiciously spies on Gilbert taking unknown boxes out of an abandoned building. Frank asks Nada to let it go but Nada spends all day and into the night watching with binoculars. He witnesses the police raid the building with what would be excessive force The police turn their focus on the shantytown, wiping it out.
In the aftermath, Nada finds one of the boxes and takes it into a alley. Opening it, he discovers it is filled with cheap sunglasses. Puzzled by this, Nada takes a pair and stashes the rest in a trash can.
Walking out of the alley, Nada is strolling down the sidewalk in downtown L.A. He slips on a pair and is looking at the ground while walking. he takes them off, puzzled that everything is black and white. He puts them back on and sees a city completely transformed:
As Nada continues to explore with the sunglasses, he learns its not just billboards ad magazines that are different:
What an ugly stinker! It turns out there are aliens among us, controlling the Earth's population while they sit in the highest levels of society. they are the rich and in charge.
In the chaos that ensues, Nada proceeds to run from the aliens he encounters, fights two cops in the back alley, and enters a bank and delivers one of the best lines in a SciFi movie before he shoots more of the aliens:
I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I'm all out of bubblegum.
In his escape, he kidnaps a woman named Holly. They go to Holly's house, where Nada tries to get Holly to put on the sunglasses. Holly knocks Nada out of a window and calls the police, thinking he is insane (who wouldn't, right?). Nada manages to escape and spends the night hidden.
The following day, Nada arrives at the construction site and speaks to Frank. After leaving work, Frank meets with Nada in the back alley, giving him a week's pay. Having a pair of sunglasses, Nada demands Frank put them on, who refuses. What happens next is the best movie fight in movie history:
Now that he can see the truth, Frank joins Nada. They find and join an underground resistance where they eventually find themselves involved in infiltrating a broadcast station. Their mission is to blow up the broadcast signal, thus revealing the true identity of the aliens. Nada is confronted by Holly, who he shoots. As he shoots the satellite dish, Nada is shot by a sniper in a helicopter, but not before he manages to destroy the dish. As the satellite dish explodes, the signal is stopped, and the aliens are revealed, unaware that they can be seen for what they are. They are in positions of power and influence, so we see them as the news anchors, a man in a bar, and perhaps the funniest ending ever:
At the time of its release, They Live was a movie critical of corporate greed and Reaganomics. It speaks to ideas of corporations pushing consumer materialism to increase their corporate earnings while stifling wages for workers. It's a fair criticism of the time that is relevant today.
However, in today's world, this movie takes a more profound meaning beyond corporate greed. We live in a time where the line between corporations and governments is more blurred than ever. In the United States, we have an irresponsible government that is nearly $29T in debt. These so-called leaders are trying to make it worse by adding even more crushing debt. They have no regard for the consequences for future generations and the future of the security and sovereignty of the nation.
Worse than that, we have the same government attempting to force compliance when it feels like trampling on Constitutional Rights. There is no better example than the relentless push to force vaccinate all Americans. American Virtues, particularly freedom and the right to self-determination, are being openly attacked.
Corporations are complicit in this. Social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter censor users under buzz phrases like "fact-checking" when messages go against their view of the world. You know they are morally fucked up when they will ban a former President for his "mean tweets" and messaging but allow killers such as terrorist organizations to freely operate these platforms.
The worst, though, is the segment of the population that gladly accepts all this, even cheering it on, because it's "their side" doing this. People I am acquainted with have said things such as, "I hope that your children are forced to wear masks in front of you." These are the people who claim to be "woke" but are, in fact, choosing to STAY ASLEEP. Having surrendered to the unholy corporate-government control and their messages of NO THOUGHT, DO NOT QUESTION AUTHORITY, SUBMIT, and OBEY. Fuck that.
In a world such as this, it is better to be a Nada than it is to be a Holly. So grab some sunglasses, chew some bubblegum, and kick some ass!
Warp 9 on the SciFi drive!
Next Review: Demolition Man (1993)
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