This was a surprise for me, I really didn't expect 'Repo Man' to hit such a chord with me, and alas it succeeded in making me a fan. I was admittedly a little put off by the film's supposed punk outset but was glad to find that it didn't take itself seriously and often had its tongue planted firmly in the cheek.
What Alex Cox delivers here is a timeless classic that has seemingly influenced a lot of my favourite films to date, and of course was influenced itself by other personal favourites. So not only was it natural for me to love 'Repo Man', but it won me over on its own rights with its wonderfully satirical tone and hilarious yet interesting dystopian science fiction themes.
Although incredibly annoying at first, the film's characters eventually won me over and by the end of the film I had learned to love every one of them. This was thanks to the effective and focused characterisation dealt with by Cox, allowing his characters to grow from being dislikable idiots to harmless jesters. Indeed if it wasn't for the characters, 'Repo Man' wouldn't be as funny as it is and it wouldn't even be as interesting. In key with the writing, the cast also do a great job with the handling of their characters, all turning in solid and memorable performances.
If there is one complaint I have it is that the pacing sometimes goes a little out of balance and leads to the story to getting caught up in trivial scenes that either should have been cut or been made more progressive to the plot. Nevertheless, I absolutely loved this film (especially that brilliant ending!) and recommend it to fans of science fiction comedy or satires. Granted not everyone will enjoy at as much as I did, but it certainly deserves a watch.
I first watched 'Repo Man' around 1985 or 1986 and it knocked me out. I've watched it many times since and it STILL knocks me out! Alex Cox has made quite a few strange movies since this, mostly excellent (check out 'Three Businessmen' sometime), a few not so good, but this is gonna be the movie he will always be remembered for. It's a black comedy, a science fiction movie, a buddy film, a punk rock movie, it's all kinda things. There has been nothing quite like it made before or since! Emilio Estevez has made some really bad movies in the 80s and 90s but he is excellent as disenfranchised surburban punk Otto, and the legendary Harry Dean Stanton ('Cool Hand Luke', 'The Rebel Rousers', 'Two-Lane Blacktop', 'Alien', 'Paris, Texas',etc.etc.) gives one of his most memorable performances as Bud, the repo man who tries to be his mentor. The supporting cast are all first rate, especially Tracey Walter (Miller) and Sy Richardson (Lite), two actors who never became household names but who still generate knowing smiles and nods from cult movie fans everywhere at the mere mention of their names. Also keep an eye out for an almost unrecognizable Miguel Sandoval ('Get Shorty', 'Blow'). Cox would use him in most of his subsequent movies, most notably his absurdist classic 'Three Businessmen'. 'Repo Man' also has a celebrated soundtrack by Iggy Pop, Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies and others. The Circle Jerks also perform in a memorable sequence. This movie is a cult classic which looks as good now as it did back in the 1980s. I love it. Highly recommended!
"Repo Man" was one of the films that came out in 1984 that, in a way, revolutionized film story telling, as we knew it. We are given a hint about what's coming right on the opening sequence when the Chevy Malibu, driven by the spooky Frank Parnell, is stopped on a highway.
Alex Cox, the innovative director of "Repo Man", made a film that mixes a lot of movie genres with a satisfying result. That's why when it was discovered, it became a huge cult movie. It was one of the films that had midnight screenings for its many fans that flocked to have a great time and who identified themselves with the movie.
The best thing in the film is the interaction between Bud and Otto. Harry Dean Stanton has always play cool parts and this movie is no exception. Emilio Estevez gave, what might be, his best movie performance as the young punk that gets to meet a world he never knew existed. All the players gave their best to Mr. Cox and the result is a film that, in some ways, might baffle at first, but once the viewer gets into it, he will be hooked.
Iggy Pop's music is an excellent partner for the action. Alex Cox is an innovative director, as he proves with "Repo Man".
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!)
I've seen this movie more times than I know. Fifty at least, since I was able to find a copy two years ago. And I still don't know what it all means. But I sure do love it anyways.
I suppose Repo Man was one of those essentials in the catalogue of must see punk movies. I think that's where I first heard of it, as a punk science fiction movie. That explains why it's such a crazy movie.
Emilio Esteves is down and out suburban punker Otto, wasting away in his little town with no way out. He just got fired from his crappy price tag job at some hoser supermarket. His girlfriend dumps him and hooks up with newly released convict, Duke, who, along with a punker named Archie make a hobby out of robbing stores. Plus, his friend Kevin is a total nerd. And his parents, perpetually brain dead from overexposure to the tv preachers, gave away the money they promised him, which would've helped him get out that dump.
Bud (played by super duper Harry Dean Stanton), a Repo Man, turns Otto on to the dangerous business of reposessing cars, which then becomes Otto's new occupation and introduction to some pretty crazy sh!t. Aside from dodging bullets by angry debtors and the fierce competition among the Repo Men to obtain a high stakes Chevy Malibu, Otto is also turned on to some UFO conspiracies as weird scientists go searching for extra terrestrials. That town Otto lives in is one crazy place. There's a lot going on, but it is so wierd, that it actually turns out to be good.
If you like punk culture movies, this is definitely one to try out. Plus, you get a slamming soundtrack with most of the songs performed by the Stooges and the Circle Jerks. The Jerks also appear as the lounge act in the bar, and the guy who plays Kevin, Zander Schloss, later joins the Jerks.
The plot is impossible to describe but, basically, it's about a 20 something named Otto (Estevez) who works as a repo man. That's about it...the movie chronicles all his bizarre adventures and strange people he meets.
I saw this when I was in college in 1984--it totally blew me away. I went back to see it 4 more times! It had a huge following on college campuses back then. Sadly, it seems to have disappeared. That's a shame because I think this is perfect for high school, college kids and people with open minds. It is a true cult film.
There are many great lines--too many to get in one viewing--this film demands multiple viewings. The actors deal well with the offbeat dialogue and situations--especially Estevez and Stanton. As for what it means---who cares? Every time I saw it I saw something different in it.
By the time I got around to seeing this movie, I was prepared for something great. One of the best movies I'd ever seen. I wasn't really disappointed.
'Repo Man' is so original, so funny, so weird and so frequently brilliant that it just can't be ignored. It also has aged fairly well. It looks pretty good in 2004 for a cheap cult film of the 80s.
I can't really say much about the storyline without giving it away, but what I will say is a young punk kid is taken in to the weird, wild world of repo men, who all take speed and keeping the repo man honour is more important to them than to mafia bosses.
It also features a brilliant soundtrack with the likes of punk rock icons Iggy Pop, The Ramones and The Circle Jerks.
Those who were unlucky enough to reach adulthood during the 1980s or 1990s will relate most to this film. Like all the best films, it sets no specific genre for itself, instead preferring to tell a story and leaving the audience to respond in its own way. Many don't get this film as a result, and a lot of the sight gags require an understanding of 1980s commercialism. The reward for getting it, on the other hand, is one of the trippiest films ever committed to celluloid.
Director Alex Cox uses his connections to, or perhaps that should be knowledge of, the American punk scene to full effect here. The soundtrack is unlike anything heard in films of the same period, with numerous standout tunes that demand just as much attention as the on screen action. With lyrical snatches like "let's all leech off the state, gee, money's really great!", every moment in the film, musical or otherwise, is a commentary on the plight of Otto's generation, and generations since.
Aside from the cameos from numerous musicians that you can connect to more famous figures in a Kevin Bacon sort of manner (Chuck Biscuits would later drum for Danzig), the film is very well-known for containing some figures who were either famous at the time, or would become famous in subsequent years. The obvious example is Emilio Estevez, but cast members like Harry Dean Stanton or Sy Richardson will also give off a spark of recognition. A lot of the film becomes a game of "where have I seen that guy before?". Not only that, but at least half of the lines are inherently quotable.
If there is one flaw in the film, I can't think of it. The rain of ice cubes is a bit poorly realised, but that just adds to the film's effect. One notable writer has been quoted as saying "learn to see the worst films, sometimes they are sublime". Repo Man is sublime, but is also one of the best, for a number of reasons. Instead of using the money hose to wash away its creative problems, it revels in its inherent stupidity or weirdness. Where else can you see a woman with a robotic hand made out of tinfoil, and actors working so well around it?
In all, I gave Repo Man a 10 out of 10. If you're into weirdness, this is the Holy Grail. Those who enjoyed films like This Is Spinal Tap or Rebel High, ponder no further - get this film on DVD-Video *now*.
This isn't an unequivocal classic like CITIZEN KANE or THE GODFATHER, because I can perfectly understand why a lot of people just wouldn't get it. But for those of us on REPO MAN's own peculiar wavelength it IS a classic, and the fact that it is so strange and mad and silly and profound and hilarious all at the same time puts it into a category of brilliant cinema all of its own. No doubt non-believers will find this tiresome, but it is almost impossible to like this film and not quote lines of dialogue from it at every opportunity. If that wasn't enough reason for its status as THE cult movie of all time, there are punk icons to be heard AND seen ("I can't believe I used to like these guys!"), a startling revelation about John Wayne, the labeling on the food and drink, and the not unrelated naming of major characters after beers (Miller, Bud, Lite)! Intensity is only one of this film's many, many virtues...
Repo Man is one of the granddaddies of the modern concept of "cult" films, so how much you enjoy this film will depend on whether you prefer classic "cult" or the new interpretation of that phenomenon.
It used to be that "cult" movie were bad movies that a small number of people liked an awful lot. They were generally not well acted or well written or well directed but there was something about them that a distinct minority of the audience would embrace and cherish. Maybe it was the basic idea of the story or a particular character or scene but there would be something that would catch the attention of a few while most viewers simply considered the film a piece of crap. That definition has changed in the last couple of decades. A "cult" movie is no longer a bad film that has a small but devoted audience. "Cult" now signifies a deliberate weirdness and a disinterest or refusal to be conventionally entertaining. No longer attempts at normal filmmaking that failed, "cult" movies today are never meant to or try to appeal to broad audiences. The whole goal is now to be as distinctively odd and incomprehensible as possible.
While certainly not the first modern "cult" film, Repo Man is one of the first widely known and established some of the conventions of the modern "cult" genre. In a very generic sense, the movie is about the coming of age of Otto (Emilio Estevez) a young punk who tires of his life working days at a grocery store and nights slam dancing with his fellow losers. By chance, Otto falls in with Bud (Harry Dean Stanton), a repo man who brings Otto into the business and tries to teach him the "repo code". While that's going on a bunch of federal agents are trying to find a 1964 Chevy Malibu with some alien corpses in the trunk and there's also another side story where three of Otto's former punk friends embark on a crime spree that turns into the worst afterschool special of all time.
There's a lot of weird stuff in Repo Man. All the federal agents are blonde except for the lead agent who has a metal hand. Everything the characters eat or drink comes out of a generic package. A grimy mechanic dispenses zen wisdom and the repo men have an angry debate over whether or not John Wayne was a "fag". If you take out the weirdness, this is a terrible movie. The story is haphazard and none of the actors except Harry Dean Stanton ever get much chance to emote, and he's basically stuck reciting lame theories about the way of the world to Otto. But with all the strangeness, I can definitely see the appeal.
You'd certainly need to be the right age and the right attitude to be grabbed by the story "eff the world" outlook on the pointlessness and absurdity of life, but it also helps to be old enough to remember what the 1980s felt like to people who weren't in tune with Ronald Reagan's new America. With its blaring punk soundtrack and its wallowing in oddity, Repo Man is definitely an acquired taste. But it you can acquire it, it is pretty tasty.
How does one go about describing Repo Man? Is it a comedy? Is it a science fiction film? Is it a drama about alienated youth? Is it a surreal urban fantasy? The answer is that at various times it manages to be all of the above, plus several other things as well. Repo Man refuses to be pigeon-holed into any specific genre. Its narrative is intentionally scattershot, its characters and situation deliberately eccentric, and for many viewers this might prove too great an obstacle in the path to their enjoyment. However, certain scenes have tremendous visual impact and throughout the movie the dialogue is hilarious and cleverly philosophical.
Punk youth Otto (Emilio Estevez) – whose attitude towards all authority figures is one of disrespect - is fired from a tedious supermarket job after being impudent to the boss. He plans to use some money promised him by his parents to fund a little travelling, but learns that they have given it all away to a TV evangelist. Frustrated, Otto leaves home and whilst wandering the streets is approached by a car repossession agent called Bud (Harry Dean Stanton) who tricks him into driving a repossessed car back to headquarters. Soon after, Otto is offered a job working as a repo man. Initially he doesn't warm to the idea of taking on what he perceives to be an honest, decent, law-abiding job. But he quickly comes to realise that being a repo man basically amounts to being a legally-empowered car thief. The job brings with it more excitement than his punk lifestyle – he uses drugs, he gets into car chases, gets into fights, gets to drive cool cars, and to top it all gets well paid for it. He also gets to hang out with the other repo men – bad ass dudes with fast mouths and tough reputations. Otto soon finds himself caught up in the hunt for a Chevy Malibu, so sought after that its repossession value is a staggering $20,000. Various parties are out to get the vehicle, including Otto's bunch, government agents, UFO cultists and a rival repo company fronted by the Rodriguez brothers. Turns out that the car in question has some radioactive aliens stuffed in its trunk ..
The actual story of Repo Man doesn't hang together in the slightest, nor is it meant to. It starts out more-or-less coherent, but as the film goes on the plot matters (and means) less and less and less. The film evolves into an experience rather than a story – crazy little exchanges of dialogue provide a telling social commentary; outrageously over-the-top events illustrate, in dark and satirical terms, the attitudes of the 1980s youth culture; an exciting punk soundtrack accompanies the on-screen madness. Estevez gives one of his earliest and best performances as Otto, while Stanton as the more experienced repo man is just fantastic. Many viewers will find the film's conclusions too bleak, but for audiences of a certain generation it captures perfectly their frustration with the systems around them. Some viewers will be driven to the exits by the disorientating narrative, while others will simply listen to the dialogue and soundtrack with a knowing smile. Some viewers will groan about violence, foul language and anarchy – which the movie contains in abundance – while others will recognise these things as a sad but real characteristic of the times. Repo Man is a film that you'll either like or hate – a cult classic in the eyes of some, an irredeemable one-star dog in the eyes of others.
The 64 Malibu is the thing. The lovely little Chevy itself is a classic, a real gem in a sea of 80's downsized, emissions-lowered, cookie cutters, but it contains the promise of something even more 'classical' and that is TRUTH, MEANING, etc., all that is lacking in Otto's world, which is this world, our world, and a not very 'intense' world, save that it is intensely boring. What the car contains of course is Alien intelligence. Something from beyond this world and even beyond the usual concept of a heaven (the car actually zaps a Bible at the end, though it may not be the 'real' Bible it zaps, perhaps the car is merely angry at how we read it?). I think that the car is a 64 is also no coincidence. The failed promise of the 60's might still be hiding in it. From the looks of early 80's LA we get in the movie we are led to believe Cox regards that era as a wasteland.
Otto, like all good punks, hates EVERYTHING, except hate, which, though he may not know it, is really not hate, but a reservation for some unspeakable divine which we come closer to at least by rejecting it's false forms. It is only when Bud teaches him the 'Repo code' and it's many corollaries (no commies, no Christians either, ordinary effing ppl, look at em. I hate them. And so on.) that he begins to realize that there is something in THIS world, beyond our superficial culture, yet hidden, inextricably within it, worth standing up for. Otto soon rejects his old friends, who were mindless haters, as it were. We see the consequences of that life when his old punked-out friend is dying and he makes the speech about him being nothing more than a suburban punk.
Otto is finding a reason to live. He is slowly building a moral foundation of sorts. It is not a mature morality, both the code and Bud are no doubt full of holes, but it's a start. The kind of start a kid like Otto might really hook into. Otto has to start this process from the ground up because he certainly isn't going to accept anything on faith from his parent's generation, and perhaps he should not. He starts to dress well, not because it's 'dignified' to dress 'well', but because it makes the job of stealing er . . repoing cars from the people who can't pay for them easier. I suppose the reward for getting all of this is the Malibu - the great repo in the sky, so to speak, and the reason, higher still, for having lived the code. But what really is in the Malibu?
What Miller teaches him about time machines and UFO's and 'coincidences' sounds like a simple-minded sort of new age philosophy, just like you would expect from a burned-out, homeless, ex-hippie, but it turns out Miller is a sort of prophet/savant and is actually in possession of the invisible key to the Malibu. Miller has never driven a car until now ('the more you drive the less intelligent you become') He is a driving virgin. He has saved himself for this moment when the REAL car arrives. "Driving" I think means both actual driving but also striving/living. Why do something so expensive, wasteful and dangerous as driving when there is really no where to go and nothing worth doing that you need to drive to? This is in the vein of "the farther one travels, the less one knows".
At the end Otto and Miller are chosen by the car and beam the fcuk out of here. Otto: this is intense! Miller; (matter of factly) 'The life of a repo man is always intense'. Has God (the Aliens?) given up on us? Will they come back for us with the answer? Is Cox simply saying 'this place is fcuked so get out if you can." I'm not sure. I suspect Cox is skeptical about our prospects (the cold war was still going on back then, we lived with the possibility that many thousands of nukes could launch at any moment) and is looking for help 'from beyond', if there is any to be found, but I don't think he is actually the type to worship aliens. That part is a metaphor for something else - something we will have to find here. I do think he is telling us something about where to look for the actual way but in the tradition of anti-metaphysical philosophy the telling is not so explicit. It's a more zen-like no telling. Or maybe he is just mocking the above and mocking me?
I'm not sure. I think it manages to be both somehow. I don't know what it says about me but the epiphany at the end seems both absurd and real to me. I laugh and I cry. Maybe Cox himself had no idea about 'saying' anything and just made what he saw in his mind's eye. I love this movie!
Watching "Repo Man", one gets a sense of just how empty our modern world is. The movie has disaffected punk Otto Maddox (Emilio Estevez) becoming a repo man, meaning that he repossesses cars of people who missed payments. Through this, he gets to know the wacky punk world even further. But there's one car that may be harder to repossess: not only do various other people want this car, but there's something in the car...
"Repo Man" may be known as a cult movie, but it deserves more recognition than that. Aside from being a window into the early-'80s punk culture, it shows the disintegration of American society. Alex Cox created a real gem here. Estevez is perfect in his role, as are Harry Dean Stanton as a detective, and Tracey Walter as the strange car's driver.
Today most part of culture is based in consume: we are what we dress, what we drink, what we eat. The punk scene started more that twenty years ago because the young and bold realized this, unfurtunately, we still are what we consume. Repo-man is the best picture I´ve seen that resembles the punk sesibilities of "no future" and "anarchy" and its no wonder Alex Cox later directed Sid and Nancy. In this movie you can find that ugly stetic, nihilistic breath and the wasted youth of the young people who crashes to the capitalistic jaws of a system understood by few. This is one hell of a movie, and 18 years later after being being made, it ended being profetic. In fact,1999`s Figth Club seems to me like Repo Man updated, and the X-files and MIB are previewed here. Repo Man is a brave masterpiece on the "no future"
Repo Man is a good film for anyone who likes punk, drugs, stealing cars or humor. Watching this movie made me laugh and glow with happiness.As I was watching the terrible plot unfold i realized that the movie was not really about the plot to me ; No, this movie far exceeds serious focus on plots. This move instead focused on Emelio stealing cars, railing speed and drinking warm beer. The dialog is quite funny and entertaining, and the plot is unbelievably ridiculous. This soundtrack is punk. The circle jerks, Black flag...I rest my case. This movie is Punk. Emilio is punk. You and your friends should watch this movie and have a TV party, aha. But remember, real punks are way too punk for friends. I've had it.
This is without a doubt the movie of my adolescence. I first saw it in theaters back in Southern CA where I grew up during the second wave of the Punk era (80-85).
A lot of people who have heard of Repo Man that I speak with today claim to just not "get it". It's kind of hard to describe what this meant to those of us living in the Reagan Era of the 1980's. You have to remember - The Cold War wasn't over, The Berlin Wall had not fallen, and Nuclear War was still a scary reality that could have happened back at the time this movie was made.
Repo Man is more than just a cult film though - it's a masterpiece that you have to give full props to Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton (who wasn't even originally slated to play Bud) for having the foresight to be in.
Put it this way - if you like Punk Rock, and enjoyed all the antics that went with that life style back then (not the punk of today) then this is a must see film. It will remind you of a lot of what was both good and bad about the 80's, and forever stick in your mind as one of the better soundtracks to the sub-culture.
Otto (Emilio Estevez) is a suburban punk whose sucky life gets even suckier when he gets kicked out of his job, finds out is parents have given all his college fund away to a TV evangelist and his girlfriend screws his best friend, all in one night. Bud (Harry Dean Stanton) asks him for favour, to drive his "wife's" car out of the neighbourhood. Back at the repo company car lot Otto discovers he's been tricked by Bud the repo man into helping him take someone's car. They offer him a job and after one more night back with his old sucky life Otto takes the job.
Bud takes great pleasure in teaching young Otto about being a repo man and teaches him what he calls the repo man code. After snorting speed with Bud then racing the rival repo men the Rodriguez Brothers in the LA river Otto really thinks being a repo man is just "so intense" Bud replies "The life of a repo man is always intense." Later when Otto is riding with Lite (Sy Richardson) it's pretty clear Bud's rules don't mean anything to Lite
The film feels like a series of sketches of Otto out with Bud or Lite or on his own, repossessing cars from people who have not been keeping up payments on them. There's not much in the way of plot except in the form of a crazy scientist J. Frank Parnell (Fox Harris ) driving across America to California with something deadly and radioactive the trunk of his car a '64 Chevy Malibu who is being followed a squad of blond-haired agents led by the one-armed Agent Rogersz (Susan Barnes). Dr Parnell had been stopped by a motorcycle highway patrol cop who was warned not to look in the trunk and he looked in trunk and vanished with flash of light and a scream, leaving just a pair of smoking boots behind. Rogersz explains to the sheriff, "It happens sometimes, people just explode. Natural causes."
Otto comes across this plot line when he sees a young woman Leila (Olivia Barash) running down the street, so he hits on her and offers her a lift. She is hiding from the blonde-haired agents and tells Otto she is part of group who are trying tell the world the truth about aliens and they have a scientist (Parnell) who has smuggled the bodies of dead aliens out of a secret research base in New Mexico. She shows Otto picture of them but they look stupid and not very convincing (apparently they are water-filled condoms wearing grass-skirts). They get to headquarters of her group, the United Fruitcake Outlet. As Leila is about to leave Otto acts like a dick which causes Leila to change her mind and they get back in the car and have sex.
Back at the repo company they get word in about a bounty of $20,000 on a '64 Chevy Malibu, a lot of money for such an old piece of junk. Soon all the repo men in LA are on the look out for the car.
Running through the film on a crime spree are Otto's former pals Duke (Dick Rude) and Archie (Miguel Sandoval) and his ex-girlfriend Debbi (Jennifer Balgobin). Everywhere that Bud and Otto go to buy beer is being robbed or has just been robbed by them. Duke's rallying cry is "let's do some crimes." and Archie keeps singing the tune of Ride of the Valkyries as they run from one crime to the next
Otto seems to keep finding himself in weird conversations with various kooks. Miller (Tracey Walter) works at the repo company where his only job seems to be tending a barrel of fire. As Otto burns rubbish from one of cars he lifted, Miller tell him his theory of UFOs, alien abductions, time machines and plates of shrimp. That conversation is weird enough but later Otto finds himself in the passenger seat of the Chevy Malibu while Dr Parnell raves about the lies told about the dangers of radiation and how liberating lobotomies are.
This film is just so full of great moments and funny characters and quotable lines. There a few little sly bits of cultural commentary woven into the film. Otto's parents are clearly a pair hippie stoners yet they're watching a right-wing televangelist and giving him all their money. Punks gets it too from the sheer idiocy of Duke and his crime gang and especially Duke's last words. This film really seems to divide opinion and some just don't get it. I think I'm supposed to say something broadly insulting, a sort of put down of those don't think Repo Man is hilarious but I don't think I need to since not being able to enjoy the humour in this film is a pretty harsh punishment in itself and there is no reason to mock the afflicted.
Repo Man !! Well not a bad attempt at low budget sci fi. Its appeal lies within its strangeness but even more appeal will come from those who relate to the main character Otto ( Emilio Estevez ) If you can relate to him you will get more enjoyment out of the film. Otto is a typical teenage waster who doesn't like taking orders and wants to live his life by his own rules. At the same time he isn't a bad guy unlike some of his friends. Otto is the only multi dimensional character in the film, every other character is some form of stereotype. I use Multi Dimensional loosely as even the Otto character is barely touched upon and without reading between the lines can be transparent to most people. Trying to do Sci Fi on a low budget will always be difficult ( trying to do Sci Fi with a budget is hard enough ). It definitely shows in Repo Man as the FX is pretty bad, this kind of adds character to the film but at the same time make it look shoddy. Im sure I could make a better metal arm myself with stuff i can find at home and some silver paint. Maybe the point was to make it look silly if so it worked. To Sum up Repo Man is zeitgeist of the late 70's early 80's ( has more of a 70's feel to it ) One thing i did notice was how many film writers/directors have plagiarised many elements from the film and improve on them in their own way. Paul Thomas Anderson, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Wachowski Brothers amongst others
For that reason it has originality and is different to many films from that era.
I'd give it a 6/10 worth a watch at least once, maybe twice if you want to examine whats on show.
If your into MOVIES blah blah Hollywood give it a miss, if you like film and appreciate it then definitely give this one a go.
This is NOT a film that the average film viewer will love. Many will be alienated because of the film's strong language and rather amoral characters. Many will be alienated because the film is so strange and,....well, strange! But, if you have a high tolerance for these factors, then you'll no doubt have a great time watching this cult classic. Just be prepared--this is PROBABLY NOT a film for grandma and the kiddies! In addition to very harsh language, there is drug use, sex (though you don't see anything) and violence galore.
The film almost defies description, though I'll try. Emelio Estevez stars as a rather low-key guy who falls into the job of repossessing cars. And, once he takes the job, he finds that the subculture is bizarre. In fact, the people he works for are the most motley crew of freaks you could imagine. And, into the midst of this group of freaks comes a plot about stolen alien corpses and a car trunk that vaporizes anyone who opens it!! Heck, I won't even bother continuing...suffice to say it's just weird.
Overall, while the acting and script occasionally fall flat, the film is funny, twisted and never fails to surprise--particularly the hallucinogenic ending! In addition, the film has a great sound track--one of the best I've heard. It's full of punk music AND retro 50s rifts that I particularly loved. Who would have thought I would have liked music from the likes of Iggy Pop and The Plugz?! Plus, if you really like the tunes, you can buy the special edition which comes with the movie on DVD and a music CD as well.
By the way, as you are watching here are a couple interesting things to note. The food in the movie is all in generic-style containers and say 'food', 'beer' and the like. Also, note when the one punk is dying--listen to his death speech--it's a classic!
Quote from the title song that is. (Hi Iggy.) This movie has "cult classic" written all over it.
This movie and "Street Trash" have a lot in common. This was first and gore-less though. In both cases it worked.
Repo men grab cars and try to rake in dough finding a Malibu that may or may not have aliens in it. Throw in the government (all blonde guys in suits) and a frazzled scientist (the late Fox Harris) and there's more plot here than it could almost handle.
The script was great however. Classic lines all over the joint. You'll look for reasons to use these quotes I guar-un-tee you.
Also keep an eye out for Cox's little in jokes. This one's chock full of 'em. The only one I noticed without help was the "Plate o' Shrimp" connection.
Repo Man DEFINITELY needs to be seen more than once to be thoroughly enjoyed, as the whole thing is too weird to be absorbed and appreciated all at once. The film is basically a comic book made as a film (and the fact that Alex Cox churned out a couple of pages to go with the original script seems to prove that intention). It is the total success of that translation that makes it so repeatedly watchable - the exaggerated characters with their little peculiarities (eg Rodriguez with the hairnet, the agent with the dodgy hand); the stylised, choppy dialogue (not unlike dialogue cut up by comic book frames), the cute generic food products and visual gags; the overall absurdity. Not to mention that I always thought the Otto and Kevin duo beared an uncanny resemblance to Bart and Milhouse.... Emilio Estevez, I think, is responsible for the most quotable "f*** you" I've ever heard, as well as the most angry looking (but hilarious) blink. And the quotes - nothing more needs to be said about those! The soundtrack - FANTASTIC!! All in all, the key to appreciating Repo Man (as with many other films) lies in consciously noting the deliberate departures from reality that the creators have taken. Otherwise it will all wash over you in a wave of incomprehensible nonsense.
That's one of Bud's (Harry Dean Stanton in one of his best roles) eternal truths. Along with a host of other gems he uses while training Otto (Emilio Estevez) in the code of the Repo-man. Another is; Bud: "You ain't no communist are you?" Otto: "Hell no!" Bud: "That's good, I don't let no communists ride in my car, no christians either". Or, Bud: "You gotta dress real square, like a cop, 'cause if they think your a cop they'll think your packin' something".
Made in 1984 while the punk scene was dying this punk rock metaphor points out everything wrong with the straight life as well as everything right in a cult film. Otto and his friends spend their time slam dancing to hard-core music and guzzling "beer" or doing crime just for the hell of it. Punks were the ultimate anti-conformists in the late '70's and early 80's. They rebel against the establishment purely because it exists, looking at society and seeing nothing worthwhile. Nothing to relate to has led them to this way of life. That blandness of society is shown through the use of generic brand products everywhere in the film, a joke within the joke. I loved it when Otto opens the fridge at his stoned out (another inside joke about the failed 60's lifestyle) parents pad and starts eating a can of "food". One has but to remember the line in Iggy Pop's classic opening title track, "Looking for the joke with a microscope", then you'll get it.
I saw Repo Man in '84 while living in San Francisco based on the bands who were chosen for the soundtrack, many of whom were playing around town at the time. That soundtrack sounds as good today as it did then, buy it if you can find it. The "B" story, or was that the "A" story? of what was in the trunk of the '64 Malibu was again a play upon the whole government conspiracy theory thing and this way before the X-Files. I along with my fellow audience members danced out of the theater laughing our butt's off we had such a great time. Later with some new found friends setting in a local bar across the street we started speaking some of the lines over again setting off a new round of laughter as we remembered those scenes. Otto; "I ain't gonna be no stinking repo-man". Marlene hands Otto some cash; "To late kid, you already are". Intense, an 8 out of 10.
Does repo man hold up after twenty three years? No. It has become prophecy in celluloid. Were ours a just society, laws would require DVD players to be sold with Dr. Strangelove, Rebecca, The Wizard of Oz, Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, and, most crucially, repo man.
Watch repo man until you tire of it. You won't. You'll demand more viewings. Every look begets another nuance. Young Estevez' wild laugh infects your psyche. Harry Dean Stanton's grim, Cold-War 'Repo Code' perfectly straddles sublime Cy Richardson's understated, post-funk melancholia and Tom Finnegan's surrealistic, dead-on confrontation with end-time reality.
The late Fox Harris' Treatise on Radiation, "Everybody could stand a hundred chest X-Rays a year - and they should have them!", was profound in '84. Today? Time proved him to be inspired.
Can you refute Tracy Walter's, "You'll find one in every car"? I can't. His assertion, astute in '84, is, today vindicated, as our so-called 'culture' vainly tries to cover the pandemic stench of Unbridled Capitalism with paper baubles.
By the by, weren't Hermanos Rodriguez harbingers of cultural infarct?
Fox Harris' 'J. Frank Parnell' is loosely based on Sam Cohen, developer of the Neutron Bomb. Dr. Cohen has reportedly viewed repo man dozens of times. Sam Cohen loves it all the more each time. A smart man.
Women with mechanical hands. Guys dressed like detectives, who shoot blanks, put themselves into tense situations, and don't care who threatens to shove their dog's head down the toilet. repo man has these essential societal elments, and more. repo man is a celluloid neutron bomb. it destroys societal pretensions and leaves us laughing, albeit wiser. repo man is the Lattice of Coincidence which binds doomsday to elation, specifics to vagaries, and folly to timelessness.
Classic punk comedy stars Emilio Estevez (in the single best thing he ever did) as an aimless young punk who gets involved with a bunch of whackjob repo men, led by a hilarious Harry Dean Stanton. Sort of what comedy would look like in an alternative universe where punk ruled. Full of visual gags, running jokes (I like the digs at Scientology), absurd scenarios, and pop-culture junk in fact, director Cox sees the world, apparently, as a playground constructed out of the underbelly of culture: punk rock, conspiracy theories, ufology, cults, car chases, gun play, and the like. One of the more life-affirming movies I know; a movie that it's pretty damn hard to dislike. Comes complete with a gimcrack push towards transcendence at the end. Highly recommended.
Repo Man is - no joke- my absolute number one favorite movie of all time. I think I've seen it between 25 and 35 times and I can recite most of the movie while I'm watching it. Absolutely the weirdest, funniest, most punk rock movie in existence. Every actor is great in every minor role and excellent quotable quotes abound throughout. Plate o' shrimp. It may take a watch or two before you get what is going on but its even enjoyable on a scene by scene basis, with tons of funny out of left field stuff, like "food". The soundtrack rages of course with Black Flag and Suicidal Tendencies on it. What more can I say - see it or be a loser.