I haven’t written a review in a while – been busy with other things as life kinda gets back to normal – until the oncoming second wave! But I was reminded yesterday about the hugely influential “Repo Man”, which I love and is widely regarded as one of the top ten cult films of all time.
This is Tarantino before Tarantino. I’m not joking. The director, Alex Cox, used to do a show on BBC2 on Sunday nights called “Moviedrome” which I would watch religiously (not unsurprisingly). He would introduce a cult movie in a very entertaining and informative way and then the BBC would show the film. I was introduced to many amazing movies by that show.
“Repo Man” is his own cult movie and it has a brilliant punk and surf soundtrack, just like Tarantino’s movies would later have. Cox would go on to direct “Sid and Nancy” about Sid Vicious from The Sex Pistols, and make a lot of other low budget cult movies, often starring musicians from bands such as The Clash.
It’s really a movie about Cox’s love of cult movies and a satire on Reagan’s America in the 1980s. The story is about Otto, who gets a job repossessing autos (a dumb joke – but still funny). And there’s a wanted car out on the road that contains a deadly secret. Emilio Estevez is great as the young punk and the wonderful Harry Dean Stanton is, well, wonderful as his mentor. Watching it now, at any moment you expect them to talk about a “Royale with Cheese”.
I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that Alex Cox was Tarantino before Tarantino. They both have the same obsession with, and vast knowledge of, cult movies and great music. The film steals from many of the same films Tarantino stole from later on. You can easily see this was a massive influence on “Reservoir Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction” and everything that made Tarantino movies seem cool.
There are multiple movie references in the film. For example, that glowing suitcase in “Pulp Fiction” that you never get to see inside – everyone thought that was a cool new idea. “Repo Man” has a glowing car boot (or trunk if you’re American) that you never get to see inside. And that was stolen by both directors from the classic movie “Kiss Me Deadly”. It’s just another example of how old black and white movies are also brilliant – so go watch more of them. And watch “Repo Man” because it’s absolutely bonkers fantastic.
Bad Melon Farmer
I honestly hadn’t seen this before now. But it sums up everything I said. The title is a joke taken from the US TV version of “Repo Man”. “Bad Mother F***ker” was dubbed to “Bad Melon Farmer”. The edit basically sums up how “Repo Man” was Tarantino before Tarantino. It’s almost unarguable.
Kiss Me Deadly
And here is Alex Cox’s own introduction to “Kiss Me Deadly” on Moviedrome. He admits it was a massive influence on “Repo Man”.