Today in Movie History: November 4

As we sit here on the eve of an election that might well and truly decide if this nation has a future, it’s fitting to note the release of They Live, John Carpenter’s wildly iconoclastic tale of alien invaders masquerading as political elites. In some ways, its a hopeless product of the 1980s, but in the ways that count, it might have been released yesterday. Its inherent mistrust of those in power, as wells as its astute observation of how easily we can be manipulated by false promises of wealth and security, will always be pertinent as long as demagogues — whatever their planet — vent their poisonous bile. They Live opened today in 1988.

Movie lovers can’t always agree on who should have won the Best Actor Oscar in 1998, save that it shouldn’t have been Roberto Benigni . My vote was for Ian McKellen in Gods and Monsters. He plays director James Whale, a closeted gay man who helmed the original 1931 Frankenstein, and struggles to find a reason to go on in the final days of his life. It’s the best performance of the celebrated actor’s career, and with help from Brendan Fraser as his sympathetic gardener, he makes the film something to remember. It opened today in 1998.


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