Repo Man

Dir: Alex Cox
Starring: Emilio Estevez, Harry Dean Stanton, Tracey Walter, Fox Harris

"Repo man's always intense..." This movie will forever have a soft spot in my heart, not least because of the amazing BBC dubbed version with its "flipping melon-farmer" dialogue. And Cox, too, a true one-off who has remained faithful to his ideals despite the inevitable Hollywood kicking, and was last heard of making a documentary on the Emman(n)uel(l)e films. Respect is due.

But looking at Repo Man now, you just can't imagine how such a rough and spiky movie was able to prise $1.5 million out of Universal, even if, after a change of management, they changed their minds and tried to bury the film. It's all over the place, not least because the two plots - trainee car repossessor Otto (Estevez), and alien/car/government conspiracy - seem to have come from two totally different movies, one gritty drama, one berserk SF. Yet, even if (or perhaps because?) it's such a mess, I found it impossible not to like. It's a very human film. Specifically, it's your teenage daughter: untidy, rebellious, disrespectful, but good at heart, and with slightly fewer piercings.

Also check out the generic product placement, reaching its zenith with butyl nitrate, and tins marked simply "food", the ever-present Christmas tree air-fresheners, characters called Bud, Miller and Lite, and a theme by Iggy Pop. And opening this week, Just Married. Sheesh.


John Wayne was a fag!
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