- Series: Deep Focus
- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Soft Skull Press (November 1, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 159376278X
- ISBN-13: 978-1593762780
- Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 0.5 x 6.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #974,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
They Live (Deep Focus) Paperback – November 1, 2010
|New from||Used from|
See the Best Books of 2018 So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the year so far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
“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
"Apparently, author Lethem was the only other person than me to take They Live as brilliant, stinging social commentary. He explains why in this great book.” Sam Stowe, California Literary Review
"Who would have thought that one of the cleverest, most accessibly in-depth film books released this year would be a smart-ass novelist exploring a cheesy-cheeky 80s sci-fi flick wherein a former wrestler combats an alien occupation via magic sunglasses? . . . [Jonathan Lethem] is able to seriously dissect the movie’s message and often highbrow references, while also fully acknowledging its silliness." Hartford Advocate
"Novelist and occasional critic Jonathan Lethem pulls apart the threads of John Carpenter's 1988 science fiction film of the same title, to entertaining and illuminating effect . . . Carpenter’s film emerges from Lethem’s inspection a more human and mysterious work, less coherent perhaps but fully immersed in the noisy, ceaseless traffic of cultural exchange." The New York Times Book Review
"A fun read, packed with references to other films, literature and artists . . . one of the few books one would enjoy reading while watching a movie." USA Today's Pop Candy
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The thing is, "They Live" not only tackled the Reagan era of rapacious greed & callous consumerism with ferocious glee, it was one of the few films to even approach such territory. (Check out "The Hidden" for another such film -- also a cult film, by the way.) That it did so in the form of a gonzo conspiracy-action-science fiction-horror film is actually to its advantage: its evisceration of a culture where everything & everyone is nothing but a commodity transcends its specific era. Indeed, the film is just as relevant today -- I wonder just what those sunglasses would reveal if trained on the Kardashians, or any number of hedge fund managers, or most of Congress?
Lethem romps through the film with obvious pleasure ... and if you disagree with some of his conclusions, that's all right -- I disagreed with him at times myself, but always found myself thinking about what he had said & recognizing his points. It's not a final statement about the film, but an appreciation meant to provoke further thought & discussion. In this it succeeds wonderfully, making you want to watch it again (or for the first time) as quickly as possible -- highly recommended!
The only problem I had with this book is that several aspects discussed in the text (Carpenter's use of the homeless in the opening minutes, the use of the 2X4 during the fight scene and the exploding drone that Nada shoots in the alleyway outside the bank) could've been explained and therefore presented differently by the author had he perused the shooting script and listened to the commentary by Roddy Piper and John Carpenter on the Region 2 DVD. For me, considering both the script and Region 2 DVD are fairly easy to find, these stand out as glaring issues, and normally I'd knock a few stars for lack of research, but in otherwise, this book is so damn good and so thorough, it still gets five stars.
Aside from the above, there is nothing negative about this book. The writing is crisp, personal and witty, and the author's discussion of Nada wearing the Hoffman lenses for the first time is just as brilliant and multi-layered as the scene.