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Repo Man (1984)

 -  Comedy | Crime | Sci-Fi  -  2 March 1984 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 21,328 users   Metascore: 75/100
Reviews: 142 user | 124 critic | 11 from Metacritic.com

Young punk Otto becomes a repo man after helping to steal a car, and stumbles into a world of wackiness as a result.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Bud
...
...
Olivia Barash ...
Leila
...
Lite
Susan Barnes ...
Fox Harris ...
J. Frank Parnell
...
Oly
...
Lagarto
...
Napo
Zander Schloss ...
Kevin
Jennifer Balgobin ...
Dick Rude ...
...
Archie (as Michael Sandoval)
...
Marlene
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Storyline

Frustrated punk rocker Otto quits his supermarket job after slugging a co-worker, and is later dumped by his girlfriend at a party. Wandering the streets in frustration, he is recruited in the repossession of a car by a repo agent. After discovering his parents have donated his college fund to a televangelist, he joins the repossession agency (Helping Hand Acceptance Corporation) as an apprentice "repo man". During his training, he is introduced into the mercenary and paranoid world of the drivers, befriended by a UFO conspiracy theorist, confronted by rival repo agents, discovers some of his one-time friends have turned to a life of crime, is lectured to near cosmic unconsciousness by the repo agency grounds worker, and finds himself entangled in a web of intrigue concerning a huge repossession bounty on a 1964 Chevy Malibu driven by a lunatic government scientist, with Top Secret cargo in the trunk. Written by Baroque <gopher_baroque@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Meet Otto. He's a clean-cut kid in a dirty business. He's a Repo Man. He steals cars legally. Now, he's out to repossess a '64 Chevy Malibu...with an amazing reward of $20,000. But Otto is not alone. There are others who want the car and will do anything to get it. The risks are great, because hidden in the trunk is something so incredible it could destroy them all. We'll give you a hint... it glows in the dark. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

2 March 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El reclamador  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Miller talks about the cosmic unconsciousness: "You'll be thinking about a plate of shrimp, and all of a sudden someone will say plate, or shrimp, or plate of shrimp." Later, the two Latinos who've stolen the "Asimov" car park outside a diner which features a huge sign in one of its windows reading: PLATE O' SHRIMP $2.95. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where Otto walks into the Repo Yard for the first time after following Bud in - you will notice that the Open/Closed sign changes back and forth during the scene (indicative of multiple shoots). See more »

Quotes

Lite: Hey, Oly. Your wife's hanging all over Otto.
Oly: Yeah, flies on shit!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Credits scroll down instead of up See more »

Connections

Referenced in Chuck: Chuck Versus the Anniversary (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Happy Animals
Performed by Big Race
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User Reviews

 
"This is intense."
24 April 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I put this eighties cult classic right up there with Blazing Saddles (1974) and Dr. Strangelove (1964) as one of the best satires ever to hit the silver screen. No exaggeration: this is one bizarre and one very funny flick. Seeing it again after almost twenty years, I gotta say, it lost nothing.

Emilio Estevez stars as Otto Maddox, a head-strong and slightly naive ex-supermarket stock clerk and sometime punk rocker. He's kicking a can down the street when up pulls Bud, "a repo man," played with a fine degeneracy by Harry Dean Stanton, who asks him if he wants to make ten bucks. (Otto's reply is memorable but not printable here.) When he learns that Bud just wants him to drive a car and not...uh, never mind, he bargains it to twenty-five bucks. When he finds out that Bud repossesses cars for the "Helping Hand Acceptance Corporation," he is sorely offended. But when he realizes how intense the life is (and how bleak his other employment opportunities), he becomes a repo man himself.

Meanwhile there's J. Frank Parnell (Fox Harris wearing a demonic grin and weird black and empty frame glasses) driving a "hot" '64 Chevy Malibu. "You don't want to look in the trunk, Officer," he tells a cop who pulls him over on a desert highway. By the way, the map under the opening credits shows the action of this film beginning somewhere on old Route 66 in New Mexico, suggesting alien mecca Roswell territory perhaps, but most of scenes were clearly shot in LA, and the desert scene just mentioned was also probably shot in California as evidenced by the Joshua Trees in the background.

What director and scriptster Alex Cox does is combine urban ghetto realism with bizarro sci-fi shtick. He adds a fine punk soundtrack including the title song from Iggy Pop with a brief appearance by the Circle Jerks, and wow are they appropriate, but you have be a punker or a 15-year-old to really visualize their moniker. The supporting players, Sy Richardson as Lite, a black cat repo ace, and Tracey Walter as Miller, a demented street philosopher, really stand out. I also liked the black girl repo person with attitude (Vonetta McGee).

The real strength of the movie, aside from probably the best performance of Estevez's career, is in the street scene hijinks, the funny and raunchy dialogue, and all those sight gags. My favorite scene has Otto coming home to find his parents smoking weed on the couch zombie-like in front of the TV listening to a Christian evangelist while he scarfs down "Food" out of a blue and white can from the refrigerator. I mean "Food" is on the label, period. The Ralphs plain wrap (remember them) are all over the sets, in the convenience store, at the supermarket, bottles of plain wrap whiskey and plain wrap "Tasteetos," plain wrap beer and plain wrap cigarettes.

Some other good shtick: the dead rat thrown in the car with the woman that doesn't accomplish its purpose; the money in the presents that Otto throws out the window busted open by the tires of another car for us to see and drool over; the "I left a book of matches" line that diverts Otto's idiot friend pumping gas; the pepper spray; Miller by the ashcan fire contemplating the disappeared from the future and "the lattice of coincidence that lays on top of everything" (trippy, man); and the punk criminal act of "Let's go get sushi and not pay." And Otto's clean pressed white dress shirt and the tie--I love the tie--as Lite tells him, "Doing my job, white boy."

See this for the authentic eighties street scenes and for my UCLA Bruin buddy (by way of Oxford) director Alex Cox who dreamed the whole thing up. Only an Englishman could really see America authentically.

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)


77 of 92 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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The best Lines oldmotem
Coming to Criterion! eskenazi
this film is so good it depresses me : ( midnight_cinephile
End Credits Scroll Downwards (Does this ever happen in another movie?) fatmat426
What happened to Bud? chrisrobins2000
Did anyone else hate this movie as much as I did? sakurabubbles666
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