Friday, January 20, 2017

Sci Fi Top 100, #55: "Repo Man" (1984)

Movie Stats:
Released 1984 (West Germany)
American, in English (some non-translated Spanish)
Director - Alex Cox
Stars - Emilio Estevez, Harry Dean Stanton

Plot Summary:
Disaffected youth Otto (Estevez) stumbles into a job as a repo man and finds himself embroiled in a strange plot that involves aliens and a missing car. Stanton co-stars as Bud, Otto’s repo man mentor.

Lots of blue language (including homophobic slurs); violence; gore; references to sexy times; drug use.

Bad Stuff:
Well, you won’t be wondering if this movie is low budget. When you think of a “cult classic,” you’re probably thinking of this level of quality (poor).

It’s dull. Felt way longer than an hour and a half.

It just didn’t make a whole lot of sense. Nothing is ever explained. People don’t behave the way you would expect people to behave. Especially toward the end, everything fell apart and I kept thinking, “Why is that person banding together with that person? Why did that person turn on those people? Where did that repo man get a machine gun?” Etc.

Good Stuff:
It has some pretty funny moments. A personal favorite: [SPOILER-y I guess] At the hospital, when Otto lifts the blanket covering the face of a presumed corpse to find his sort-of-friend Kevin (Zander Schloss) underneath. “Otto … ” Kevin groans and Otto, expressionless, lays the blanket back down and walks away. [SPOILER] I laughed way too hard at that.

I like its weirdo ending. It fits this weirdo film.

I love the punk rock soundtrack.

The Verdict:
Look, I was a bit of a punk rocker when I was younger, so I think I get why teenaged me thought this movie was hilarious and awesome. As an adult, I can tell that it’s supposed to be edgy and cool and weird. It’s not that I don’t “get it.” It’s that I don’t much care for it. Movies can be weird and still make sense. Not only does this not make sense, it’s a hot mess. Underneath it all, there’s a bit of charm that saves it from being completely terrible, and the performances of Stanton and Tracey Walter (as repo yard handyman Miller) also give it a boost. So I won’t completely pan it, but I also don’t think you’re missing out on anything if you never see it.

I give it 2.75 stars.


Patricia said...

I watched this recently--maybe a year or two ago--and really liked it for how weird it was. I think it's enthusiasm for being a movie rolled over how it really didn't make any sense.

balyien said...

Maybe this movie has a "see it once, really enjoy it, see it again, find it tedious" shelf life. ;)