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May 20th, 2006


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07:13 pm - "I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I'm all out of bubblegum."
'sup, kids. I'm posting from phil_bond's apartment right now. Apparently he's having a party here today, except that he's at work and the nine of us who are here are watching Doctor Who. It's a four-parter cowritten by Douglas Adams. I loved Doctor Who when I was growing up, and some of my first television memories are of Tom Baker, K-9 and Daleks. This is fantastic. Too bad Caleb's not here for it.

Last night most of you missed They Live at The Orpheum. xmerrie1039x and I had met a little beforehand and were roaming around State Street when we ran into inle_the_rabbit. We went down to the lake and tried to hang out with the ducks, but they weren't being too friendly.

Oh, hey. John Cleese just showed up in this episode of Doctor Who.

evil_jim and matt_william were waiting for us at the theater. There was a good-sized crowd assembled outside, and I don't think I've ever seen the theater so packed, except for Rocky Horror Halloween shows. They started us out with a few previews -- Teen Wolf, 1990 Bronx Warriors, Vice Squad, John Carpenter's The Thing, Videodrome, uh... something else that didn't look good, and Monster Squad. Remember Monster Squad? That's okay, neither does anybody else. Monster Squad came out when I was seven and was exactly the sort of movie that seven-year-old me wanted to watch: a Goonies knockoff crammed full of imitative behavior, catchphrases, and classic movie monsters (or equivalent knockoffs, anyway -- I'm not sure what Count Dracula was doing in Anytown USA). I'd probably find Monster Squad incredibly embarrassing if I were to watch it right now, but I loved it when I was seven, and we were all diggin' it last night.

Point is, we're all craving Monster Squad.

Anyway, the audience was good 'n' riled up by the time They Live started, and it was well liked. It's a far cry from John Carpenter's best film, but it functions beautifully as a sci-fi action film. Sub-thespian "Rowdy" Roddy Piper (referred to hereafter as Piper) plays a nameless drifter who's been moving across the country in search of work. One day he meets Frank (Keith David) who helps him find a construction job and directs him to the local homeless shelter, where entertainment mostly consists of watching the local TV station get interrupted by pirate broadcasts of conspiracy theories: "The rich are getting richer, the middle class is disappearing..."

Soon the church across the street (the source of the pirate broadcasts) is bombed and the homeless shelter is bulldozed. Piper moves on, but manages first to salvage a pair of sunglasses which reveal a startling truth: the world is populated by aliens who have disguised themselves as humans, and have concealed subliminal messages in all of our printed materials: "OBEY." "CONSUME." "HONOR APATHY." The mercenary aliens have lived among us for some time, are raising us as consumer cattle. Piper first becomes a fugitive, then a he becomes a warrior... That last sentence would sound great read aloud by that deep-voiced gentleman who does all the movie trailers.

John Carpenter got lucky in that his career peaked at just the right time: The late, mid-'80s were a great time to be a director of fun, crappy sci-fi and horror movies. That particular variety of cinematic cheese was more or less "in," and cheap, practical special effects were still status quo in mainstream Hollywood. They Live is a good specimen of this. Carpenter's direction is pretty average -- there's nothing special in the presentation, but the story doesn't demand spectacular special effects so the movie remains perfectly watchable and not inordinately dated. The social commentary is a little heavy-handed, but I'm guessing that Carpenter's target demographic were fourteen-year-old boys. More than anything, They Live is so damned much fun -- it's mindless entertainment, chock full of one-liners, brain-rottingly entertaining violence, and (most of all) a five minute long (almost to the second) improvised fight between Piper and David over the sunglasses.

Jim had brought some 3D glasses and I considered getting into a fight with him over them, but it didn't happen.

They Live -- no matter what I've just said -- is one of those movies that everybody should see, and I wish I could put into words the reaction of last night's audience because they liked it as much as I think you would. You oughta rent it, maybe get some booze (if you're into that sort of thing) and some sunglasses, and invite everybody you know.

If you're quick you can catch tonight's 9:00 showing, but knowing your luck you won't be reading this until tomorrow morning.
Current Mood: geekygeeky
Current Music: Doctor Who

(11 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:rob_matsushita
Date:May 21st, 2006 07:19 am (UTC)
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I'll have you know that Monster Squad was a HUGE influence on Irish Lesbian Vamire 2.

Really!
[User Picture]
From:sacredspud
Date:May 21st, 2006 08:58 am (UTC)
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Y'know, that doesn't surprise me very much.
[User Picture]
From:the_tick27
Date:May 21st, 2006 09:19 am (UTC)

Wolfmans got nuts?

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i have a copy of monster squad
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From:defaultlisa
Date:May 21st, 2006 08:17 pm (UTC)
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I watched Doctor Who when I was in the 12-15 age range. Some geeky boy made me aware of its existence, but I always watched it at home by myself, because I liked it, and my family made fun of me ... a lot ...

Then I quit TV for a few years and picked it back up (on video) when I was dating my almost-unmentionable ex-boyfriend. Caught a bunch of Tom Baker episodes I had missed. Yeah, everybody loves Tom Baker. And his scarf. Actually, I think that Jon Pertwee was almost as good a Doctor (Bessie! Such a cute car!)-- or maybe I just watched about equal amounts of each. They're both absolutely adorable and are mostly tied as my favorites, anyway.

You guys watch a lot of movies (or maybe I just don't). I have a feeling that Monster Squad would make me laugh hysterically.

[User Picture]
From:sacredspud
Date:May 21st, 2006 09:06 pm (UTC)
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I recommend Monster Squad to anybody who gets nostalgic about movies like The Goonies or The Lost Boys. It's not available on DVD, but I'm the sort of person who goes out of his way to get bootlegs of these things and uh, my copy will probably be in the mail in the next few days. A private showing could probably be arranged.

As for Doctor Who: Tom Baker is the one I grew up with, and it wasn't until much later that I saw any of the others. I'm kind of indifferent to the original Doctor, and I'm pretty sure I don't like the one who came after Baker (I don't know the actors' names). I've never seen Jon Pertwee as the Doctor, but I've seen him in other things where I liked him a lot. He was the high point of The House that Dripped Blood which is one of those movies where a series of stories are connected by a common plot element. It's not very good, but I did like the vignette where Mr. Pertwee plays a distinguished actor who grows fangs and begins craving blood after the costume department dresses him in an actual vampire's cape.
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From:seanorange
Date:May 22nd, 2006 02:12 am (UTC)
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Pertwee's run was great. Before Baker's record 7 years, Pertwee ran for the longest at 5 (and you can tell what series it is by his hairstyle... kind of how you can tell by Baker's scarves!). I read somewhere that he likened his version of the role to a "James Bond of Time and Space", and looking back on it I can totally see that.

His first story, Spearhead from Space, is excellent (and wonderfully funny). Also, if any of you guys have been catching the new stuff on Sci Fi, or had the fortune to see it all last year, the first episode of that makes quite a bit more sense. In fact, the entire season is peppered with little touches from the Pertwee era -- from Autons down to Albion Hospital. I guess Russel T. Davies is a huge Pertwee fan.

~Sean
[User Picture]
From:evil_jim
Date:May 22nd, 2006 02:34 am (UTC)
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Please excuse me for leaving a non-related comment.

Sean, I want to discuss something with you but I don't have or can't find your number. Would you call me at your convenience?
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From:defaultlisa
Date:May 22nd, 2006 03:54 am (UTC)
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Peter Davison came after Tom Baker. A lot of people seem to like him well enough (compared to Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy, Doctors 6 & 7). I'm kind of neutral about Davison and McCoy, though I didn't like Colin Baker much. I think the first episodes I ever saw had him playing the Doctor, though.

I kind of like the second Doctor as a runner up after Tom Baker and Jon Pertwee. It's his unrelenting crabbiness and the bowl-shaped haircut that make him appealing, I think. If I am correct, not too many episodes with the first two Doctors are still in existence, which might be a factor in their lack of popularity compared to the third and fourth Doctors.
[User Picture]
From:croxtethscouser
Date:May 23rd, 2006 02:17 am (UTC)

Dr Who

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I am lucky enough to remember the very first episode of Dr Who...with William Hartnell..and then Patrick Troughton..and Jon Pertwee... Tom baker put me off the programme for ever!!
[Peter Cushing made a good Dr too]
[User Picture]
From:sacredspud
Date:May 23rd, 2006 04:33 pm (UTC)

Re: Dr Who

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I think you'll find that American fans most prefer Tom Baker. I don't know the history, but I'm guessing that the show's popularity on this side of the Atlantic peaked during his run. That probably has more to do with the number of stations picking up the show than it has to do with Baker's performance. I think whomever was playing the Doctor at the time would have wound up being the favorite, and it just happened to be Tom Baker at the time.

And I hadn't realized that Peter Cushing played the Doctor. I'm going to have to check that out. It's a shame he didn't wind up with his own Doctor Who series -- he's another of my favorite actors.
[User Picture]
From:croxtethscouser
Date:May 23rd, 2006 05:17 pm (UTC)

Re: Dr Who

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Peter Cushing played the Dr in 2 films { Dr Who and the Daleks and Dalek's Invasion Earth 2150AD} ..I think because William Hartnell was ill...[or such an awkward sod to work with in his later years]
They were fun to watch but a little tacky..having said that this was waaaaaaaay back in the 60's...and of course if you remember the 60's...you weren't there!!!
"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I'm all out of bubblegum." - Garmonbozia for the soul.

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