Plenty of pro wrestlers have been bitten by the acting bug before making an attempt at jumping in front of a camera in Hollywood and failing miserably. Even the biggest stars in the history of the industry, like Hulk Hogan and Stone Cold Steve Austin, have generally been stunningly mediocre.
The Rock has found success and no one will deny he's done quite well for himself but no one pro wrestler will ever measure up to the performance put on by "Rowdy" Roddy Piper in the movie They Live, which was released on this date in history (Nov. 4, 1988) in theaters nationwide.
Here's how Wikipedia describes the movie:
They Live is a 1988 American science fiction-horror film directed by John Carpenter, who also wrote the screenplay under the pseudonym Frank Armitage (this is also the name of one of the characters in the movie). Part science fiction horror and part dark comedy, the film echoed contemporary fears of a declining economy, within a culture of greed and conspicuous consumption common among Americans.
The film follows a nameless drifter referred to as "Nada", who discovers the ruling class within the moneyed elite are in fact aliens managing human social affairs through the use of a signal on top of the TV broadcast, concealing their appearance and subliminal messages in mass media.
The film grossed $4.8 million in its opening weekend, debuting at number one and staying there for three weeks in a row, ultimately taking in just over $13 million.
The lasting legacy of the movie, though, has been the fight scene between Piper's character, Nada, and Keith David's character, Frank Armitage, as well as the memorable line Piper delivered upon walking into a bank.
"I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass ... and I'm all out of bubble gum."
The potential for cheesiness in that line is unmeasurable but Piper not only pulled it off, he got it over so well that it holds steady today, a full 25 years later.
Here's that scene:
And the fight scene: