The Kansas City Public Library screens cult films with broad appeal as the annual Off-the-Wall Film Series draws inspiration from The A.V. Club, the arts and entertainment section for the satiric publication The Onion.
With The A.V. Club film reviews called The New Cult Canon as its basis, this monthly series kicks off with They Live (1988) on Friday, May 22, at 8:45 p.m. on the Rooftop Terrace at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
Amid an economic depression, a drifter named Nada (perhaps a subtle comment on the acting talent of wrestling star Roddy Piper) is searching for work – but stumbles upon a hive of upwardly mobile aliens with the help of a pair of magic sunglasses. Nada neatly blends class warfare and xenophobia as he shoots up the town, then recruits an ally named Frank (Keith David) after a sprawling back alley punch-fest. The two rebels infiltrate the alien headquarters, during which director John Carpenter delivers a cynical plot twist that questions the entire notion of resistance. Rated R. (93 min.)
Admission is free. Click here  or call 816.701.3407 to RSVP. Free parking is available in the Library District Parking Garage at 10th and Baltimore.
The New Cult Canon film reviews are authored by A.V. Club film editor Scott Tobias, whose weekly articles focus on obscure films kept alive by devout followers, popular movies with special replay value, flawed gems, and movies fashioned for the obsessive weirdos who love them. Tobias describes They Live as "one last stink bomb in the toilet of Reagan's America…[that] seems as relevant now as it did two decades ago."
The Off-the-Wall Film Series advances its New Cult Canon theme on the third Friday of every month through September. Upcoming films include Near Dark (1987) on June 19 and Fight Club (1999) on July 17. Film-goers are welcome to bring pillows and blankets or any preferred seating for this outdoor event. In case of inclement weather, screenings will be moved indoors to Helzberg Auditorium.