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Wednesday 2 January 2013

Burl reviews Repo Man! (1984)

Happy New Year, it’s Burl! Ha ha, 2013, who would have thunk it! Today I thought I’d review a cherished favourite of mine from years gone by, Repo Man! Not only did I love the picture, but the soundtrack album, along with those of Return of the Living Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and Some Kind of Wonderful, ha ha, was marvelously formative! So if you’re ever wondering to yourself “Say, ha ha, how did Burl come to be so punk rock,” you can put the blame on Repo Man!
Well, I watched the picture again just yesterday, and it still holds up extremely well! It tells the tale of Otto, a young SoCal white suburban punk who gets caught up in the shady, adrenaline-fueled world of car repossession! Ha ha, it’s perhaps fueled more by methamph*tamines than adrenaline, actually! Anyway, the hippest cat in the impound yard is Bud, played by the great Harry Dean Stanton! Stanton was going through a pretty wonderful period in his career at that time! He’d done Alien in 1979, then through the early 1980s he appeared in movies like Wise Blood, Escape from New York, One From the Heart, Christine, and Paris, Texas! Ha ha, not too bad! It also represents the high point of Emilio Estevez’s acting career, in my estimation, though there are some who would accord that honour to St. Elmo’s Fire!
Otto starts wearing a skinny tie and helping Bud and the rest of the repo men with their shady work! In the meantime a mysterious Chevy Malibu, driven by a dying, cancerous scientist played by Fox Harris (who also played a dying, cancerous scientist in Forbidden World), is prowling the streets of Los Angel*s, zapping anyone foolish enough to look in its trunk! What’s in there: aliens, fission rods, a flying machine, an angry ghost? Nobody knows! And in yet another meantime, Otto’s punk friends are committing crimes, and Otto is falling for a young UFO enthusiast!
Ha ha, this movie is great! It’s got that terrific soundtrack (as so many Alex Cox films did, like Walker and Sid and Nancy), some lovely camerawork from Robby Müller, excellent performances all around and a marvelous and highly quotable script! When you’re a young teenager and a movie like this comes along, you’d have to have a heart of pure huckleberry not to embrace it! And I have a meat heart, so I loved it, and I still do!
I always remember the last scene as including Harry Dean Stanton somehow! In the final scene, the Chevy Malibu (which was the first brand of car I ever owned, by the way!) glows green and flies around the city with Tracy “He was, you boys” Walter at the wheel and Emilio Estevez riding shotgun! In my imagination Harry Dean is in the back seat, reclining in his hospital gown and slowly being healed of machine gun wounds by the alien powers that are carrying the car aloft! And that’s the ending I’m going to carry in my meat heart whenever I think of this picture! Ha ha, I give Repo Man four plates of shrimp and advise you to see it at your first opportunity! Happy 2013 from me, Burl!

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