Monday, December 6, 2010

Movie Review

Repo Man  (Universal, 1984)

Before the Camera:

Emilio Estevez  (Pat...Going on Seventeen...Going on Nowhere)
Harry Dean Stanton  (Alien)
Tracey Walter  (Conan the Destroyer)
Olivia Barash  (Tuff Turf)
Eddie Velez  (Frankie on that last season of The A-Team no one watched)
Miguel Sandoval  (TV's Medium)
Susan Barnes  (Speed)
Sy Richardson (Petey Wheatstraw)
Biff Yeager  (Headless Body in Topless Bar)
Vonetta McGee  (Blacula)

Also look fast for:
Helen Martin  (TV's 227)
Angelique Pettyjohn  (Shahna in the Star Trek ep Gamesters of Triskelion)
Jimmy Buffett  (son of a son of a sailor)
Rodney Bingenheimer  (Davy Jones' back double when he was twins on The Monkees)

Behind the Camera:

Directed by  Alex Cox

Produced by  Michael Nesmith, Peter McCarthy, Gerald T. Olson and Jonathan Wacks

Written by Alex Cox

While this is definitely one of the most fondly remembered cult movies of the 80's, I somehow missed ever seeing it until it recently popped up in an uncut, commercial free and letterboxed print on TCM on their late Friday night TCM Underground spot.
    Otto (Estevez) is a young punk tired of working for The Man in a grocery store, so in the opening scene, he quits and heads out to seek his fortune elsewhere. He meets up with Bud (Stanton), a veteran auto reclaimer, and they proceed to have several adventures around the Los Angeles area. And while that's going on, we are introduced to a science fictiony subplot about a crazy professor type driving a certain car to Los Angeles; a car that has something...in the trunk. I ain't saying what it is, but let's put it this way...anyone who opens that trunk finds themselves a lot less substantial than they were moments before. The two plots close in on each other, and we realize Otto is destined to end up encountering that car...
"Live by the nuclear plant, huh?"

I had always assumed this would be a pretty nihilistic movie, with unlikable characters doing unlikable things for 90-ish minutes. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that although it has an edge, Repo Man maintains a pretty benign tone throughout. I like the weird world it takes place in, where all the consumer products are generic (six packs of Drink, bags of Snacks - and hence this review's title) and cost about what the name brand equivalents cost in 2010. There are a bevy of familiar faces scattered across the cast, though I do wish producer Nesmith would have cashed in on his old Monkees fame with a cameo at some point. Estevez is okay in the lead, but the movie belongs to Stanton, world weary and hilarious. He's so iconic in the role that the USA series Psych had him in an episode this season in a thinly disguised reprise of Bud. The movie is definitely off kilter, and comes by some of the plot developments from left field, but it moves well, and it is recommended to those who enjoy cinematic trips off the beaten path.

Let's Get Out of Here ?

Two times comes The Line, first at about 31:00 when Sy Richardson worries the blaring car alarm might be attracting attention; and at about 51:00 when Emilio Estevez reveals he doesn't like being shot with blanks.

Eye Candy ?

Presenting feminine pulchritude is not first and foremost in director Alex Cox's mind, so no winners this time out.

Bling Monkey's Capsule Review

Bling Monkey says: "Repo Man makes all of its entertainment
payments on time."

Thank you, BM. Nice job filling in for Golden Boy! Til next time, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!


  1. Haven't seen this one--I'll give it a go sometime.

    For some reason (perhaps the fact that I'm very tired), the tone of this movie reminds me of "Into The Night." Rented that one when I was but a teen. Loved it--though it was odd and dark and edgy. And I've been afraid to see it since, for fear it wouldn't hold up to memory.

    I also remember liking the flick with Estevez and Sheen as garbage men who run into trouble...