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“I’ve come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I’m all out of bubblegum.” It doesn’t rank with “go ahead, make my day,” but that memorable line from director John Carpenter’s 1988 sf action satire They Live holds a special place in the hearts of cult-movie fans everywhere. This low-budget, poorly acted genre piece is the first specimen put under the microscope in a new series of long-form film criticism books called Deep Focus. The series takes a hip, contemporary writer and lets him or her loose on a classic (or not so classic) movie. They Live is lovingly picked apart, scene by scene, by Jonathan Lethem, the best-selling author of The Fortress of Solitude (2003) and a highly respected essayist. He finds hidden subtext in the smallest of details, while jovially debating the intentionality of Carpenter’s views on television, consumerism, race, misogyny, and so forth. In Lethem’s opinion, They Live “is probably the stupidest film ever to take ideology as its explicit subject. It’s also probably the most fun.” He is convincing. --Chris Keech
Very interesting and revealing ideas and thoughts around the movie 'They Live'. Symbols and details of the movie are 'broken down' to new meanings and underlying revelations that... Read morePublished 7 months ago by In Lak'ech
This is for fans of John Carpenter's films as well as of Lethem's work and sheds a bright light on both; not the least reason being that it does in fact read like someone's thesis... Read morePublished on June 22, 2013 by RavenB&W