Sunday, August 11, 2013

Meeting My Criterion: Repo Man

Alex, you sly dog.  Today's film is Repo Man, a film that was a lot harder to get my hands on than the sort-of sequel- Repo Chick.  I says 'sort-of sequel' since Cox wasn't legally allowed to make a sequel.  As such, he made a film that felt like a follow-up.  That's all well and good, but how did it all start?  Well, the number of people who don't know about this movie appears to be shrinking every day.  A cult hit back in 1984, it has slowly but surely grown a larger fan-base. The film has lucked out by getting a proper Criterion Collection Release, expanding its fan-base all the more.  I'm not sure if Netflix's version is said Criterion release- it's not listed as such- but it is a nice, pristine transfer.  The film's biggest appeal is its Punk Rock Soundtrack, which still holds up quite well.  Mind you, i'm not exactly a Punk guy (shocking- I know), so that says alot.  The story is about disaffected youth- mainly Emilio Estevez- trying to find a place in 'Reagan's America.'  There is a bigger plot involving a mysterious car being hunted down by the Government and our titular Repo Man, but it's mostly there to move things along.  Will it be less polarizing and silly than Chick?  To find out whether the film ages better than Vinyl, read on...
In the film's cold open, a Cop pulls over a man.  What happens when he opens the trunk is...interesting, so I won't SPOIL it for you.
Emilio is our hero, a guy who just didn't fit in.  In quick succession, he loses his job and his girlfriend.  Mondays, right?
This guy in the HAZMAT suit is either looking for the car from the beginning or E.T.  It was 1984, after all.
Our hero sort of slips into being a Repo Man.  After a few jobs, he comes across a lady who talks about an Government conspiracy involving aliens and has a picture of...whatever this is.
The girl is working with the guy from the beginning, who has the car with..whatever it is that's in there.  The Government is out to get them and is a bit aggressive about it.  If you didn't think so at first, at the destroyed phone booth about two minutes after this.
Many of the film's random sub-plots collide in this Mini-Mart.  People will be shot and people will die.

So, in summary, it's like most experiences people will have in a Mini-Mart.
The whole things come to a head in the Repo Yard.  What's so strange that it could make this guy react like this?
Well, this may have something to do with it.  What happens next is...well, I won't SPOIL that either.  The End.
I was honestly expecting to be a little bit disappointed.  When a film comes with this much build-up, I expect something to be wrong with it.  Surprisingly, there isn't.  Repo Man is the film that everyone sells it is.  Color me happily-surprised!  It speaks to the experiences of its time and does so in a way that holds up.  You could argue that many great films from the '80s don't age as well as we like to think that they do.  Fashion aside, many of them feel very dated.  This film is done in such a way that it works as well in 2013 as it did in 1984.  If you've heard of the film, but never 'taken the pluge,' then I encourage you to do so.  I was wary too, but it was definitely worth it.  If you've never heard of the film, well, you have now.  If nothing else, it gave us the early prototype of 'Napoleon Dynamite...'
Up next, another Rare Flick that finally has a U.S. DVD release.  Is this non-sequel worth 1/8 of my $5 or  one ugly Bud.  Stay tuned...

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