Repo Man (1984)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Comedy, Sci-Fi Comedy  |   Run Time - 92 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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A highly amusing synthesis of thinking man's science fiction, post-modern humor, and a punk rocker's jaundiced take on a culture at the point of collapse, Repo Man was destined to be a "cult film." It was too off-skew for mainstream audiences, but, if you're in tune with its wit and rhythms, it's hard not to love it. Writer and director Alex Cox has a great time picking off satiric targets in 1980s America (Los Angeles variety): generic food, UFO cultists, absurd pseudo-religions, suburban teenage angst, and the worship of the automobile, among many others; and the dialogue ranks with the most memorable movie writing in the post-Altman, pre-Tarantino era. After years of great supporting performances in movies good and bad, Harry Dean Stanton got one of his first leading roles and made the most of it; his bemused beatnik-noir cool fits Bud like a glove, and he's hilarious without ever playing the comedy too heavily. Emilio Estevez is his perfect foil as Otto, a punk's rage simmering just beneath his suburban slacker surface. And the score, by pioneering Latino punks The Plugz, combines the sound of Ennio Morricone's spaghetti Western scores with enough ironic distance to serve as both tribute and affectionate parody, a perfect combination for this film; the periodic blasts of Southern California hardcore from Fear, Black Flag, and Suicidal Tendencies match the mood and mark the time period. But why do none of the watches have hands?