“One of the cleverest, most accessibly in-depth film books released this year . . . a smart-ass novelist exploring a cheesy-cheeky ‘80s sci-fi flick” (Hartford Advocate).
Deep Focus is a series of film books with a fresh approach. Take the smartest, liveliest writers in contemporary letters and let them loose on the most vital and popular corners of cinema history: midnight movies, the New Hollywood of the sixties and seventies, film noir, screwball comedies, international cult classics, and more . . .
Kicking off the series is Jonathan Lethem’s take on They Live, John Carpenter’s 1988 classic amalgam of deliberate B-movie, sci-fi, horror, anti-Yuppie agitprop. Lethem exfoliates Carpenter’s paranoid satire in a series of penetrating, free-associational forays into the context of a story that peels the human masks off the ghoulish overlords of capitalism. Taking into consideration classic Hollywood cinema and science fiction—as well as popular music and contemporary art and theory—They Live provides a wholly original perspective on Carpenter’s subversive classic.
“A fun read, packed with references to other films, literature and artists . . . one of the few books one would enjoy reading while watching a movie.” —USA Today’s Pop Candy
“Apparently, author Lethem was the only other person than me to take They Live as brilliant, stinging social commentary. He explains why in this great book.” —California Literary Review
“Novelist and occasional critic Jonathan Lethem pulls apart the threads of John Carpenter’s 1988 science fiction film of the same title, to entertaining and illuminating effect.” —The New York Times Book Review