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.