Friday, July 31, 2015

RIP, Roddy

I was never a professional wrestling fan (though, for some reason, a lot of women I've gone out with were), but there are some professional wrestlers who transcend the sport-entertainment spectacle. Roderick "Rowdy Roddy Piper" Toombs, who died today, was one of these individuals.

My great and good friend J-Co, a skinny, well-spoken, well-read kid, was inexplicably a fan of both professional wrestling and schlocky movies, so when Roddy Piper played the lead in post-apocalyptic schlockfest Hell Comes to Frogtown (also starring J-Co favorite Sandahl Bergman), he was in a transport of delight. Hell Comes to Frogtown shares some similarities thematically with Escape from New York, but was aimed at an audience that believed that the latter film was too sophisticated:

The high point of Roddy's film career was John Carpenter's low-budget 1988 sci-fi/horror satire They Live, a critique of rampant commercialism and creeping fascism. While the film received a mixed reception from critics when it was released, it has gained a considerable cult following, being embraced by both the anti-fascist left and the anti-globalist right for its depiction of an occult reality fostered on the average citizen by a predatory, alien elite. While Roddy Piper didn't win an Oscar for his portrayal of the protagonist, his quick wit and glib tongue were served well by the script, and Roddy (sporting a gloriously cheesy 80s mullet) delivered one of the greatest quotes in the history of B-filmdom:

Suddenly, it feels like the world is all out of bubblegum.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

They Live is a fine metaphor for our government.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

That's the reason why the film has such a devout cult following. I watched it last night after posting this piece, and the movie is actually more relevant now than it was when it was released.

mikey said...

Not loving the whole idea of a movie holding up a mirror, presenting a metaphor for the catastrophic meltdown we're seeing in American Governance.

A film makes it seem like we're just an example of a fictional possibility. The biggest problem is that the people don't have a way to understand the difference between today and, say, the sixties or the eighties. This is a broken, dystopian, unsustainable state. This is bad governnance coupled with bad management couple with delusional economics coupled with tribal hatred, sectarian fear and nationalist anger. This is workforce automation, flat income growth, collapsing unions and endless warfare. This is apocalyptic end-times ideology, religious extremism, theocratic fascism and tribal hatred. This is bigotry writ large and set free, fear and hatred of immigrants, nativism piled on top of anger piled on top of economic and social lies piled on top of a sick, broken society.

You tell me how it all turns out. Because I'll be watching from behind a red dot sight...

Smut Clyde said...

"Hell Comes to Frogtown" is no doubt a metaphor for US government and society, in its own way.

Señor Tripp said...

I can't handle this. We lose our heroes, that's how it goes. But to lose the guy who put sunglasses on Keith David... There are no words.