Let’s Get Criterion Presents: Repo Man (1984, Alex Cox)


“The life of a repo man is intense.”

Alex Cox’s 1984 cult classic is one of the earliest Criterion movies I ever owned. I still have my DVD copy, and I recall lovely gazing at the packaging and admiring how cool the movie looked on DVD. I mean I had only seen some low grade copy of the flick on cable TV before, and this was the 2010s, before Blu-ray and streaming overruled everything else. Maybe one day I’ll bother to upgrade my copy but for now it will do just fine. I have watched Repo Man at least four, maybe five times and it’s one of my all time favorite movies. I don’t think anything else quite like it exists today, at least no movies that come to mind.

Having Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton star was a fine choice, and they are the duo from hell. Otto and Bud are both hilarious and marveling together, living on the edge and serving up fantastic one liners. I mean you have ones such as “Repo man’s got all night! Every night!” and “Only an asshole gets killed over a car.” Alex Cox is not content to have the film only focus on these two, tossing in numerous other eccentric and off the wall characters that populate a bizarre underground. It’s all very punk rock you see, 100% 1980s, centered at the heart of Reagan America.

Part of me thinks this flick is a masterpiece, some other part is fine with me just labeling it great. The rest is amused at how Alex Cox managed to smuggle this glorious bit of satire mocking the stupidity and futility of American life out of a Hollywod that was quite conservative. Or at least neoliberal to say the least, masquerading as leftist while serving both capitalism and their studio masters. God I love this film so much. Hail oblivion and the path one takes to get there.

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