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Movie Spoiler - They Live

Updated on April 21, 2011

Movie Spoiler - They Live

"Be afraid, be very afraid."

No, the preceding dialogue won't be heard anywhere in the classic B- movie They Live, but better advice could not be offered to any sentient life form considering the possibility of considering watching the film. If you have anything else to do with your time, such as shaving your head with a cheese grater or chewing on aluminum foil, please consider your alternatives with great care. Yes, it's merely a movie. Certainly, it should not cause bodily harm when compared to trudging through a minefield carrying a nuclear bomb strapped to a famished anaconda, but 9 out of 10 dentists surveyed agree that some celluloid concoctions simply should not be viewed by anyone with a remaining self-respect molecule.

Quick Precis

There's this guy who somehow had his personality amputated. After that his life pretty much trundles downhill until he stumbles upon a box of sunglasses that make people look funny. Well, only some people look funny: the others look funny at him when he wears the glasses. It turns out that Earth has been colonized by a race of people-like beings that look almost but not quite like dime store Halloween masks when viewed through these dime store sunglasses.

The mean aliens have planted subliminal messages throughout the Earth. Their intention is to blend into normal human life and manipulate the stock market or weasel their own kind into Dancing With The Stars or some other diabolically boring scheme that never actually becomes clear because after all, this isn't 60 Minutes.

Our hero (?) stumbles around, kills a few evil aliens disguised as policemen, steals a car, and eventually ends up kidnapping a female humanoid who looks quite like Kirstie Alley before she ate Kansas, or Kirstie Alley after she ate Kansas and after she went on her epic diet, but before she learned how tasty Oklahoma was. This woman drives her new-found kidnapper to her fashionable duplex, allows him to recover a bit, then taps him on the head with a bottle and shoves him through her microscopically thin picture window. Honestly, her building must have been constructed before building codes were invented.

Oh, yes. He leaves his magic glasses in her living room. One might suspect that those shades would be extremely important to him, but one would be assuming that this movie was written by logical beings.

Battered and bruised, the hero guy trudges to his former workplace. He looks up an old friend who, for some completely fathomable reason, wants nothing to do with him. He then trudges to the alley where he first found his magic glasses. Unfortunately the dumpster he had been diving has been emptied. Fortunately the garbage truck is pulling away at that precise moment. Unfortunately he is obligated to throw himself into the back of the truck to root for additional copies of the shades. Fortunately this particular garbage truck is filled with nothing but crushed cardboard boxes and magic sunglasses. In what only seems like six hours, he finds several new pairs.

Flush with success at setting a goal and achieving it, our hero again meets up with his pseudo-friend who rejected him only hours earlier. The friend-guy offers him some cash to help him with his one-man crime wave, but hero-guy insists that friend-guy put on the magic sunglasses. Then they fight.

If you think you've ever seen a movie fight, you can skip this one, Friend-guy and hero-guy pound on each other for about 5 minutes. They deploy bottles, pipes, boards, fists, bon mots, and sneers, but they come through it looking fresh as daises. They sucker-punch and sucker-kick each other. Hero guy bleeds just enough to suggest that he might have nicked himself shaving. Friend-guy looks like he could pose for a wedding photo. Eventually the seasons change and the fight winds down into men leaning on each other. Hero convinces friend to try on the sunglasses: the men now share a common bond of abject terror.

Somehow, other sunglasses wearers hook up with our dynamic duo. They form a social club and share secret contact lenses that eliminate the need for clunky sunglasses. All is well until mean people with guns knock down the clubhouse wall and spray the place with bullets. Hero and friend escape, Kirstie Alley clone escapes, everyone else enjoys a very short part in the movie.

The plot thins

Hero and friend realize that their alien overlords are broadcasting a signal that somehow hides their true identity from real humans. They track down the source of the signal, Kirstie kills friend-guy and a mean helicopter kills hero-guy, right after he disrupts the signal. The Earth is saved from alien invasion and cheap sunglasses, at least until ZZ Top goes back on tour.


Run and hide.


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    • profile image


      6 years ago from Dayton, ohio

      I liked your review except, please lay off Kristie Ally. She has enough issues.

    • nicomp profile imageAUTHOR

      nicomp really 

      7 years ago from Ohio, USA

      @drbj: As always, tghank you for your kind words, but you probably shouldn't encourage me. ;)

      @Austinstar: I also like The Rock. Walking Tall was cool.

    • Austinstar profile image


      7 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Duane "the Rock" Johnson was my favorite wrestler and is now one of my favorite actors. And I know that has nothing to do with this excellent movie review except it kinda sorta in a relative way sounded like Escape to Witch Mountain.

      I think drbj should appoint you, nicomp, as official movie reviewer for Fokk University. Funny stuff.

    • Robwrite profile image


      7 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Rowdy Roddy Piper was one of my favorite wrestlers but as an actor...He was one of my favorite wrestlers.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      7 years ago from south Florida

      Roddy's wrestling talent as well as his acting skills are debatable. But I'm enchanted, nicomp, by your creative review.

    • nicomp profile imageAUTHOR

      nicomp really 

      7 years ago from Ohio, USA

      @Tom Whitworth: Certainly he wrestled better than he acted?

    • Tom Whitworth profile image

      Tom Whitworth 

      7 years ago from Moundsville, WV


      This hero guy might be related to Vince McMahon since the hero guy used to wrestle in the WWF under the name of Rowdy Roddy Piper!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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