@iiiiiii was over and we wanted to start the movie season right with something we knew would be great so we rewatched They Live (1988). It's definitely possible that the last time I saw this was ~5 years ago when we double featured it with Videodrome (1983).
God does this movie rules. 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper can act well enough to carry his role and Keith David is more-than-capable of doing a lot of the heavy lifting. I don't know if I've ever noticed this before but Piper is immediately stronger at carrying his lines once he's in a fight scene. I'm not sure if the dialogue itself is more in his wheelhouse or if he's just more comfortable acting from that position.
I've always felt like this soundtrack might be my favourite Carpenter soundtrack. It's basically one leitmotif but: that motif is good, it sometimes throws some great saxaphone over top, and it exeriments around that motif. It's also striking how through most of the movie, it moves between that motif and silence. The music changes once they reach the final location but before that it puts the theme in where it can and stays out of the way elsewhere. The famous fight scene feels so much more impactful for being silent.
I'm not saying anything new here, this movie has already gotten it's positive critical evaluation, but I feel like this movie is a good example of how a movie can be explicit in its themes but still be full of craft.
I had never heard of this movie before but I quite liked it. I'm always happy to see a movie build atmospheric horror with little-to-no budget, limited locations and cast, and without effects. I think this movie wisely keeps out of its own way by using a tried-and-true framing of 'comets make weird things happen'1 and providing just enough hand-wavy science2. The cast all act foolish in the most-fun ways. We get a climax that is at least a slight inversion of what I expect. Would recommend.
It's always good. Need the dead to come back to life? Comet. Need electronics to be evil? Certainly some kind of space phenomena. Want Cher to fall in love with her fiancé's pizza-making brother Nic Cage? That might need a full moon but what is the moon but a big ol' comet anyway?
I did flinch when I heard Schrodinger's cat mentioned briefly but I'm going to give this a pass. They wanted to get to something adjacent to it and it did seem like the simplest path.