They Live is definitely one of the forgotten masterpieces of the Hollywood Left. … The sunglasses function like a critique of ideology. They allow you to see the real message beneath all the propaganda, glitz, posters and so on. … When you put the sunglasses on, you see the dictatorship in democracy, the invisible order which sustains your apparent freedom.
Slavoj Zizek, The Pervert's Guide to Ideology
I love going to see movies at the Hollywood Theater. Every year I somehow manage to scrape up enough money to renew my annual membership, which entitles me to free tickets every now and again. Whenever I'm in the mood for a little treat I will use one of these free tickets and go see a movie.
Tonight I went and saw John Carpenter's classic "They Live". Truly one of the greatest documentaries ever made.
I've always preferred to go to movies by myself. It's much more enjoyable. You don't have to schedule with anyone, you don't have to make stupid small talk about what kind of movie candy you like or don't like, you don't have to fight over the popcorn. You get to sit exactly where you like. It's perfect.
Or it would be perfect, if you didn't have to sit next to all the couples on dates. All of whom apparently feel obliged to vocalize their enjoyment as loudly as humanly possible. Couples on dates seem to find this absolutely fucking necessary, like it's a demonstration of mating fitness or something.
"LISTEN! LISTEN TO HOW MUCH I AM ENJOYING THIS MOVIE! LET ME YELL SOMETHING TO PROVE WE ARE HAVING FUN! HEAR HOW MUCH FUN WE ARE HAVING TOGETHER!"
I find this type of behavior excruciating.
Perhaps I am just a fun-hating killjoy. Honestly, though, I don't find "They Live" all that funny. It's ridiculous, but it's not entertainment. It was dead-on cultural commentary when it was made and even more so today. Or at least it seems that way to me. Maybe I shouldn't take narratives about oppressive secret elites and the ultimate futility of human efforts to combat them so much to heart.
That said, I couldn't help but wonder how the Portland audience was taking the scene of the homeless encampment getting bulldozed by the paramilitary police forces. I kept hoping that maybe during that scene there would be some awkward silence, some nervous shuffling. But no, it was just another part of the scenery. Whatever! Yawn! Get to the fight scene in the alley so we can yell "YEAH!" really loud!
Or the part where Roddy Piper gets thrown out of the enormous plate glass window by the rich woman (who, to be fair, he has abducted in order to escape, but who ultimately turns out to be working for the alien elites) and someone had to scream "YOU GO, GIRL!" To the great approbation of the crowd, naturally. Grrrrrrl power amirite?
It was like being in the movie while watching the movie. A truly immersive experience. I should have brought my sunglasses, I guess.