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“I have come here to dance a jig and kick some ass...and it looks like I forgot to wear my kilt.”
The Rock here. You know, as a serious film actor, I am often asked by fans, "Mr. The Rock... how do you manage to mine such emotionally rich performances?" or "Hey The Rock! How do you seem to know your role so well?" And The Rock replies to all of these people — Shut your mouths! But sometimes one of The Rock's many fans asks direcatally to The Rock's face, "The Rock... who inspired you to start down this fine thespian path?" And that's a fair question, honestly. With impressive characterizations such as Jack Bruno in Race to Witch Mountain and the Tooth Fairy in The Tooth Fairy under my WWE Championship belt, The Rock has layethed the smack down on many great roles. So usually my answer to those people is, that its all because of one man — Rudy "Poo" Candyass. But what I really mean to say is "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. One too many folding chairs to The Rock's head, I guess.
You see, after Andre the Giant lumbered and marble-mouthed his way through The Princess Bride in 1987, casting directors invited other professional wrestlers to climb the top turnbuckle of Hollywood and somersault kick an acting career in the sternum. "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka was approached by Tim Burton to play the waiting room witch doctor in Beetlejuice and Junkyard Dog made a guest appearance on The Cosby Show, playing the crucial role of Concert Bootlegger #2, a very bad influence on Theo Huxtable. Around this time, John Carpenter decided to try his hand at directing his first serious drama, They Live. Casting the lead character, Zip Zilch, Carpenter turned to none other than my hero, Rudy Po... err... Roddy Piper, who accepted the role over a jig.
It's Hot, But At Least It's A Crazy Heat
The year is 1989 and hairbands have burned the Earth. Over the past decade music videos had become America's largest export. And as every musician was soon to discover, the quality of their music was less important than the size and hardness of their hair. Caution and chlorofluorocarbons were thrown to the wind. So unfortunately, when video killed the radio star, it seems the ozone was sprayed in the crossfire.
The Earth became an arid wasteland. Sunglasses have become a luxury item, with only the most affluent citizens able to afford them. Beach umbrellas, sunblock, aloe vera, those cardboard windshield visors and fisherman caps are also in short supply. Trees have withered and died. The future of humanity is bright, but there is no shade, only melanoma and some harsh burns.
Zip Zilch, a squinting drifter, shuffles into a small California town. Parched and road-worn, he wanders up to a construction site looking for work. The foreman asks if he has any experience handling piledrivers. "Do I ever!" Zip excitedly responds. He lifts a steel beam and holds it between his thighs, before slamming it into the ground. "Take that, beam!" Zip grunts. He then stands, rips off his flannel shirt and flexes in front of the downed girder, taunting it while slapping his own shoulders.
Zip is mercifully given a job on the cleanup crew. While picking up rusty nails, he meets and befriends Frank Armitage, a man permanently blackened by the harsh ultraviolet radiation. Frank, in his infinite coolness, invites Zip to share a meal and shelter at a local church's soup kitchen.
Soup Kitchen Hijinks
Zip heads to a soup kitchen where he is cared for and fed, then given a place to sleep. He is restless, most likely because of his mental issues, and breaks into the church that has so lovingly cared for him. His mental state causes him to imagine that the choir rehearsal is a series of microfiche machines. He becomes agitated and stumbles into the back room, where he finds one of the church's Holy Relics, a pair of sunglasses worn by King James. He promptly takes them and flees.
The Mormons Knocked... They'd Like Their Magic Spectacles Back
Putting on the sunglasses, Zip gets an intense migraine because they are prescription sunglasses and his eyesight is not as fucked as King James' was. He gets a migraine. It hurts real bad and causes Zip to hallucinate something fierce. He begins to see many people with weird meat faces. He probably just was remembering that last scene in the first Indiana Jones where everyone's faces were melting.
Zip is convinced that his sunglasses are enchanted and really follows this delusion through to its natural conclusion.
Let's Take This Outside
Frank Armitage finds Zip in an alleyway, obviously out of sorts. Feeling sorry for this obviously madman, he reaches in his pocket and throws something on the ground near Zip's feet. It's a prescription for some heavy shit, Frank tells him. you're gonna need it muthafucka.
Look, I'm just trying to save your retinas, Zip tells him. Just put on these sunglasses. It cuts the glare down. Your eyes will thank you.
Frank knows that his eyes can't talk and that Zip is clearly a nut. Realizing he will never talk sense into his coworker, Frank resorts to violence to make his point.
We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties
Dealing With Issues of Mental Illness Before It Was Cool
John Carpenter pioneered the art of the protagonist with a severe mental illness. Though he never clearly stated what Zip's particular debilitation was, it was implied that much of his delirium was due to heat stroke and mirages. Viewers presented their own theories.
The most popular theory is that Zip Zilch, an inherent loser, is imagining a cool black best friend in Frank Armitage. This allows him to feel better about his awful place in life, much like Cameron creates Ferris in Ferris Beuller's Day Off or Jack creates Tyler Durden in Fight Club, creating an amazing alter-ego who is so cool, even they recognize the character for the loser they are.
Others claim that They Live is a precursor to Falling Down, with both films featuring protagonists who sport bad haircuts and physically assault minorities. Michael Douglas' flattop is the yuppie version of a mullet. Many fans argued against this assumption and said that it was more related to A Beautiful Mind - Zip was clearly schizophrenic and suffering from math problems.
Absolutely nobody thought it was anything like Up, whose protagonist was suffering from Alzheimer's and dementia and was imagining the whole floating house and talking dogs story as he died in his easy chair.
Other Crazy Crackpot Conspiracies
- Modifying the properties of the ionosphere is causing the recent surge of natural disasters. See, they are natural disasters, so nature must be responsible.
- FEMA has a bunch of plastic coffins stockpiled for whenever martial law is declared and a bunch of stupid Americans attempt to resist. Those are plastic coffee tables from Ikea. The government bought 500,000 of them because they got a really good deal in bulk.
- Barack Obama is just George W. Bush in blackface. Okay, this one might be true.