Frankenkeith did a bit of research before coming along to Film Club on Sunday; he said he wasn't expecting much from Repo Man. A fair assumption - it's low budget, low tech, cult-movie material and such things are often, frankly, not very good.
We discovered the film's budget level in the opening scenes as a motorcycle cop is disintegrated in outstandingly unconvincing style, Alex Cox approaching his film making with the bravura of a true cinema fan (which he is) who's not secured much money for his own project (which he hadn't). This is Cox (right) on set with Emilio Estevez (left) and Harry Dean Stanton (centre):
Repo Man is a film that had me grinning from ear to ear for every glorious minute; it's very funny, very silly and has some lovely oddball touches.
When Bud (Harry Dean Stanton) asks if Otto (Estevez) wants a drink, they go to a store and buy cans of something marked simply "drink". Otto also eats straight from the fridge, from a can labelled "food". Brilliant.The dialogue is peppered with words that your granny probably knew but rarely (if ever) uttered, but although this could be seen as gratuitous I thought, much like Tarantino's work, it's simply a way that these people communicate with each other. It's like jive-speak in the 50s.
The plot is preposterous and concerns alien corpses being smuggled around the USA for no apparent reason and some moments of terrific pathos as the philosophical, but illiterate, Miller (Tracy Walter) expounds his theorems. Here's a sample of Miller's thoughts:
"Miller: A lot o' people don't realize what's really going on. They view life as a bunch o' unconnected incidents 'n things. They don't realize that there's this, like, lattice o' coincidence that lays on top o' everything. Give you an example; show you what I mean: suppose you're thinkin' about a plate o' shrimp. Suddenly someone'll say, like, plate, or shrimp, or plate o' shrimp out of the blue, no explanation. No point in lookin' for one, either. It's all part of a cosmic unconsciousness.
Otto: You eat a lot of acid, Miller, back in the hippie days?"We were missing Dong and Shazzerooneypoos, as Dong was still driving home when film club started and Little Lush Lewis was studying hard; so I can't offer the usual how-many-fag-breaks-did-Dong-take measure of how well received Repo Man was by the assembled throng.
I can offer, though, Frankenkeith's comment: "I said I wasn't expecting much and I wasn't disappointed."
I loved it; Mrs The Millbrooker enjoyed it; Slocombe seemed to be having fun. Frankenkeith was smiling as well - so overall, I'd have to rate this one a success. It could be viewed as having a deeper meaning (Cox has gone on record as saying it's an allegory for nuclear war), but it's also a well made, fast paced comedic run through some beautifully pastiched movie clichés - I defy you not to smile if you watch this one.