Monday, June 25, 2012

"Repo Man"(1984)d/Alex Cox

 1984 was a pretty eventful year, looking back.Ethiopean famine, Bernie Goetz' vigilante subway shootings, James Huberty's shooting spree at a San Ysidro McDonalds, British comedian Tommy Cooper had a heart attack and died in the middle of a skit on live television, Michael Jackson burned his hair off while filming a Pepsi commercial, The "Nightstalker" murders, Vanessa Williams' Miss America/Penthouse scandal, Indira Gandhi's assassination, I.R.A. bombings in Brighton, Botha takes presidential office in South Africa...but most importantly, it was the year that filmmaker Alex Cox unveiled his film, Repo Man, a suburban punk/sci-fi/cold war comedy produced, in part, by former Monkee Mike Nesmith, and starring Martin Sheen's other son, Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton, on the unsuspecting planet.Another aspect of the cult classic nobody was ready for, was the amazing soundtrack, provided by punk icons Iggy Pop, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, FEAR, Suicidal Tendencies, and The Plugz.If you've seen it, and it isn't one of your favorite movies of the eighties, well, there's no real diplomatic way around telling you that I hope yours was one of the houses the boys and I regularly targeted for mindless vandalism during the era, and if it wasn't, it definitely should have been, you fucking drag, you.Now let's start a war...
 "Maybe I will stack the peaches into a can-pyramid, Otto(Emilio Estevez).GOSH."
Otto(Emilio Estevez) is a disillusioned white suburban punk who's tired of endlessly stocking shelves with generic product at the supermarket and his anarchically cramped lifestyle where fetching a beer for his mohawked girlfriend, Debbie(Jennifer Balgobin)  means losing his spot in bed to Duke(Cox's pal, the aptly-named Dick Rude) during a wild debacle.His life of circle pits in the alleyway, work boots, and dangling earrings changes drastically when he meets Bud(Harry Dean Stanton), a shabby-looking middle aged speed freak who tricks him into helping repossess a car, a profession he despises until he gets slipped a pile of Helping Hand Acceptance Corporation cash for his efforts.As an added bonus, he takes a shine to Leila(Olivia Borash), an oddball broad(who's carrying around a Polaroid of condoms in grass shirts) who's been chasing a 1964 Chevy Malibu as driven by a mad government scientist(Fox Harris) and containing four dead aliens in the trunk, that vaporizes anyone instantly into radioactive debris if they dare to peer inside.Elsewhere, Duke and Debbie inevitably turn to a life of crime; stealing cars, robbing liquor stores, and eating sushi, and not paying afterwards, the fiends.
 "Is that a Class of '74 gold ring?!!?AAAAAGGGGRRRRAAAAAHHH!!!"
Soon, hilarity ensues as Otto's imposing on kindly little old ladies whose grandsons are scoot mods in a third generation ska band(legendary LA outfit The Untouchables in a nice cameo) earns him some nifty trombone-born facial contusions.There are some lines of speed blown, rival low riding Hispanics, a lot worker touching upon cosmic unconsciousness, pine tree air fresheners, allusions to Burroughs, Mike Nesmith in a cameo as a rabbi, reckless driving, vaporized punk rockers, government agents with tin foil gloves, or robotic arms, if we're to overlook budgetary confines just this once, and when a twenty thousand dollar repo bounty turns up on the aforementioned antique Chevy, all hell really breaks loose.In case you've been living in your mother's basement the past few decades, only coming up for pie and live polkas on public television, and haven't had the chance to see this one yet, I'll refrain from spoiling the dramatic climax for you, as it's one you'll have to experience to believe.
 Sorry, honey, I can only hear you when you speak from the backseat.
Nap Dynamite-predecessor Zander Schloss ended up joining the Circle Jerks after production of the movie wrapped.I would have liked to see what Dennis Hopper could have brought to Fox Harris' role as was intended, but at the time, Hopper was apparently too busy playing Hopper, man.I can dig it.Cox followed this one up with the much-ballyhooed Sid and Nancy in 1986, which may or may not contain an excellent Gary Oldman performance, I just can't get past Chloe fucking Webb's eardrum-grating voice in the damned thing to find out.He also tackled the Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas screenplay in 1998(and whiffed, apart from the credit), and directed Repo Chick in '09, something I've yet to check out.Yeah, a few things slip under the radar from time to time, but I'm a mostly thorough em-effer, wouldn't you say?For me, 1984 was mostly long hair, frag-stache, kung fu, and chicks from other high schools, kind of lost in an awkward blur in the mad dash towards growth into adulthood, but anytime I sit down to Repo, it's all right there again like yesterday, ripped to the tits with hilarious dialogue, tunes, and visuals.Cult classic.Three Wops.
 Aurora's full-sized glow-in-the-dark 1964 Chevy Malibu didn't generate as much interest as originally projected...

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