's They Live
(1988) remains a rousing middle finger to the status quo in a (literally) alienated society. Wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper stars a Los Angeles wanderer who obtains a pair of sunglasses that reveal advertising containing literal subliminal messages like "OBEY" and "CONSUME." To make matters worse, all the politicians, cops, reporters, and millionaires are actually otherworldly beings with scarred patches of skin and bulging eyes. Under Carpenter's satirical lens and comic-style framing, They Live
treats Reagan-era paranoia with casual irreverence through a mix of Western genre elements and macho obsession (most notably a hilariously bloated fight sequence between Piper and Keith David). As Piper exclaims, "I'm here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I'm all out of bubblegum." Fighting tyranny and capitalism has never been so ridiculously fun.
Described aptly by Jonathan Lethem as "probably the stupidest film ever to take ideology as its explicit subject,"