The Official John Carpenter Thread

Darryl The Hitman
Darryl The Hitman

4:39 AM - Jul 20, 2007 #1

by Mike Johnson @ 11:43:43 AM on 7/19/2007

Brian Horowitz sent word that in the new issue of Empire Magazine, WWE Hall of Famer Roddy Piper mentioned that director John Carpenter was in discussions with the Sci-Fi Network to adapt his 1980s film "They Live" into a TV series. Piper, who "retired" at Wrestlemania III to concentrate on the role, starred as John Nada in the film, which is considered to be an all-time "B" movie classic with one hell of a great fight scene. Piper would be involved in the project.


4:40 AM - Jul 20, 2007 #2

Hells yeah!!

Joined: 1:52 PM - Aug 01, 2006

2:16 PM - Jul 20, 2007 #3

They'd better stock up on bubble gum. :D
Compassion! Courtesy! Let's be really FUCKING polite to everyone!!!

Pepper: Well, Quadruple Tree has done it. He?s officially broken wrestling.
wrote:Sliding headfirst down a vagina with no clothes on and landing in the freshly shaven crotch of a screaming woman did not seem to be part of God's plan for me.

--George Carlin


2:24 PM - Jul 20, 2007 #4

Quadruple Tree,Jul 20 2007 wrote: They'd better stock up on bubble gum. :D

Darryl The Hitman
Darryl The Hitman

4:58 AM - Aug 15, 2007 #5


The Specialists

MOVIE SPECIALIST: Roddy Piper's "They Live" - Overview, Analysis, Reflection, Rating

By Fred Venturini, PWTorch Wrestling Movie Specialist

Aug 14, 2007, 21:02


Revisiting John Carpenter's "They Live" was a fun trip. It is, quite simply, B-movie gold. Sure, it's a bit preachy at times and some of the execution comes off as hackneyed, but Roddy Piper's screen presence and the right infusion of humor and horror have created a cult classic.

Nada (Roddy Piper) is the world's fittest homeless man who finds some work and a friend at a construction site. Just when it looks like his life might be getting some traction, he stumbles upon some strange happenings at a local church, where he witnesses a massacre and finds a curious sunglasses that do much more than block UV rays. The glasses reveal an "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" crisis by "decoding" the human disguises of aliens walking in our midst. They hold positions of power, and in a nice touch, Carpenter even has the sunglasses "decode" billboards and money, which remind the alien invaders how to conform with messages such as OBEY and REPRODUCE. Can Nada, who is a fugitive from justice now that he knows the truth, convince others of his plight and blow up some aliens real good?

Does a bear defecate in the woods? But despite this predictability, Carpenter gives us a surprising, unique and hilarious ending - not to be spoiled here.

Preachy? Hell yes. Carpenter based this film off of comic and story rights he secured, but there is a thick thread of 1980's materialism critique in the film. This particular criticism was done better in "American Psycho," but that film is heavy lifting compared to this lighter fare. Just pretend that the aliens are rich, white republicans with a bad makeup job and you'll get the point. Or just fast forward to the part where Nada, played by Roddy Piper like a guy who really, badly, seriously wanted to act for a living, looks through his magic Ray Ban's at paper money, which reads: THIS IS YOUR GOD. Or maybe Carpenter was attacking advertising, or consumerism, or greed. Or all of the above. Come to think of it, one could view this movie today and it would feel current, if not for Piper's health and bulk compared to his current state.

And Piper does deliver in this movie. To me, it's an upset that he didn't become a bigger action icon, especially with an understated performance here, where a lot goes on behind his eyes and he doesn't go into scenery-chewing overdrive. The real test for a would-be action star - can he convincingly deliver a cheesy line without getting a sneer from the viewer? The gold standard here is Bruce Willis. Arnold is oh, fifty-fifty in this department. But when Piper gets to deliver the iconic line, "I have come here to kick ass and chew bubble-gum. And I'm all out of bubble-gum," all while holding a shotgun and wearing "I Love the Eighties" sunglasses, he could've wilted. But instead, we get a chuckle because it's funny and menacing at the same time, and we know that his shotgun is going to finish the conversation.

Keith David delivers a workmanlike performance not as a sidekick, but a hold-his-own character, a meaty role that David relishes. Today, you'll either hear his voice on commercials or he will make a cameo as the hard-ass military figure in every other military crisis film. And just to make sure we don't label him as a sidekick, Carpenter unleashes one of the longest fight scenes in movie history, five-and-a-half minutes of clean punches and wrestling moves that lasts longer than oh, two to three average Raw matches on any given Monday. Meg Foster brings her eyes as the token love interest and tough-to-convince cynic, which is more than enough for what's required of her.

Shot on a small budget, the film relies on style, but some of the action scenes are corny even for the B-movie feel, leading to a hackneyed effect that breaks the suspension of disbelief.

Critical reviews at the time of release are scarce - when Roger Ebert doesn't review the film, it tells me that maybe there weren't critical screenings to avoid bad publicity, or it was just that low under the radar. Janet Maslin of the New York Times panned the film as "poor execution" while TV Guide gave it an enthusiastic and positive review, calling it an "erratic throwback to the sci-fi paranoia films of the ‘50's." The true quality falls somewhere in the upper middle. Maslin is right about the execution, but I believe Carpenter was aiming for the B-movie feel with a small budget, so perhaps she's being a bit unfair. But then again, I share the same criticism, although in the long run, it doesn't necessarily destroy the ability to enjoy the movie, which explains that 88 percent "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes and the status of "cult classic" being attached to the flick.

Difficult to fit into one genre, "They Live" has some black comedy, action, sci-fi, and horror elements mixed in with heavy-handed social commentary. Netflix's description makes it sound like a super-campy shoot'em up when the film is much more serious, so it is a bit misunderstood genre-wise. And I've always taken issue with that title - you just get the impression that Carpenter had a great title for a zombie movie that he always wanted to use, and slapped it on this movie just to use it up in "oh well" fashion.

CRITIC'S RATING: I bestow this movie with a 3 stars out of 4 rating overall. Solid and enjoyable, the type of movie TNT can run for a whole weekend to give Shawshank Redemption a much deserved breather.

WIFE-O-METER: N/A. There was no way to talk her into this one with that title.

REALM OF WRESTLING FILMS: In the realm of wrestling films, this is a top tier, 4 star movie - one of the best. Piper anchors this genre stew, which is backed by the deft touch of a credible director.

Have you seen this film? What did you think?

Click Here to Rate "They Live"

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Wrestling is around to entertain, to dare I say, "put smiles on peoples faces." Well, movies entertain, too - and since they pay better, offer credibility, and don't cripple the performers, wrestlers often dip their toe into the waters of film.

Sometimes, the results are pure gold - the Rock, for instance, is putting together a string of enjoyable performances. Other times, you get "3 Ninjas: High Noon on Mega Mountain." Here, in the confines of this column space, I will select a film and review it. I'll discuss the wrestler's performance, the overall film, and rate it overall and give a separate rating for this film's place in "wrestling movies." In the future, perhaps we will have some reader discussion forums, top ten lists, and of course, whenever possible, I'll try and get a first-run film review in here - such as The Condemned, which I still haven't seen - it was pulled from theaters before I got to the front of the Friday night ticket line on the release date.

All critics need credentials... okay, they don't need credentials, but I have some anyway. I have a degree in English and Journalism, and movies are a hobby of mine. I've written a few screenplays, and I like breaking down movies, or simply enjoying good ones. I've had short stories published (just Google "Fred Venturini" and you'll probably find some), I've sold some freelance work, ghostwritten a non-fiction book, and I've always got something creative in the hopper, so to speak. And as a wrestling fan, this column is a great way to give a little something back to the Torch, to entertain people, hone my skills, do something I enjoy, and get a little exposure, and perhaps, network with some like-minded folk.

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