Repo Man

I heard on the radio that the Raiders have nearly sold out their season tickets at the Coliseum.  There is some more interest in them because they have a chance to be a pretty good team, and the 49ers are coming off a bad season with high ticket prices.  I went over to the office to work on writing an exam, and gradually I finished that task.  I returned from my class late and watched the Criterion Collection Blu-ray disc of “Repo Man.”  It’s still a fun movie, although some of the effect has worn off after more than 30 years.  There were moments when Emilio Estevez brought to mind the Martin Sheen of “Badlands.”  Otto’s behavior was odd at times.  I expected him to say something sarcastic to his parents when they told him that they didn’t have the one thousand dollars anymore.  I don’t remember what one thousand dollars bought in 1984, although you could probably pay four months of rent with it. He also told turned off the lights after he discovered the girl in bed with someone else.  He mocked the repo men for their profession and then meekly joined them when he couldn’t find anything else to do.  It seems like he’s not in control of his fate.  When we first see him, he is putting price stickers on cans of generic food.  It was a reminder of how long ago 1984 was, because that is a job that workers stopped doing long ago.  Kevin is mindlessly singing the 7-Up jingle at the time: The repo men were named after beers: Bud, Lite, Miller, and Oly.  One of the very funny scenes is the story about John Wayne, just the kind of tale you might hear during a talk with other men in the workplace.  I can’t really believe that John Wayne was gay because of his three wives and seven children.  The Repo Code was “I shall not cause harm to any vehicle nor the personal contents thereof, nor through inaction let that vehicle or the personal contents thereof come to harm.”  Otto violated the Repo Code when he threw that box out the window.  Harry Dean Stanton, who is Bud, claims that he hates ordinary people, that repo men want to get into tense situations, and that repo men are always intense.  Miller claims that the more you drive the less intelligent you are.  I’d like to go back and rank the intelligence of the characters based on this idea.  Parnell and Bud must be among the least intelligent, while Leila, Kevin, and Otto’s parents must be the most intelligent.  I liked the bit with the Rodriguez brothers saying that the Malibu was “hot.”  I wondered whatever happened to Olivia Barash, who played Leila.  She was born in 1965, so she was not yet 20 when the movie was released.  She did television shows and Paul Schrader’s Patty Hearst film in 1988, but I don’t see a lot in her credits.  Dennis Hopper and Mick Jagger are two of the people who could have played Bud if circumstances had been different.  Harry Dean Stanton reportedly was difficult during filming.  Alex Cox was interested in putting Muhammad Ali into the ending scene, but Ali wouldn’t go for it.  Alternate endings included Otto joining a band of revolutionaries and Los Angeles being destroyed by a nuclear explosion.  I like the ending that is there, connected to Miller’s ideas about flying saucers being time machines.  I did not notice Jimmy Buffett’s cameo as I watched the movie this time.  Tracy Walter has been in a lot of movies since “Repo Man.”  He was in Tim Burton’s first Batman movie in 1989.  Sy Richardson was in other Alex Cox films, like “Sid and Nancy” and “Walker.”  I thought of him as a Samuel L. Jackson type before I knew who Samuel L. Jackson was.  Harry Dean Stanton has been in all sorts of movies over the years, of course, but what it now notable about him is that he will turn 90 on July 14.  When I look at Emilio Estevez’s credits, I think his best movies are “The Outsiders” and “Repo Man.”  I’m not counting “Apocalypse Now” because his scenes were deleted.  He could have been in “Platoon” if the production hadn’t been delayed.  Alex Cox had a difficult time getting movies made after “Walker,” although I remember that movie as being rather good.  He is 61 years old now.  It’s hard to know if Cox would have done a better job with “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” than Terry Gilliam did.  I don’t know much about “Waldo’s Hawaiian Holiday.”  Why would Otto change his name?  Did his travel change him?  I didn’t even know that “Repo Chick” even existed until today.  I see that Rosanna Arquette’s name is in the credits.  Alex Cox should never have made a sequel, anyway.  A film director should try to come up with fresh ideas every single time.  I think the Blu-ray edition of “Repo Man” did look better than the previous DVD edition that I last saw.  This isn’t a movie that you really watch for the cinematography, although it brings back memories of a Los Angeles that has changed.  I looked at the street signs and thought of where some of the locations were.  Otto met Leila at 2229 Stanford Avenue.  I noticed that one of the movie theatres visible in one shot was showing John Travolta’s “Staying Alive,” which was released in July 1983.  Some of the people who died on April 27 include Ralph Waldo Emerson (1882), Edward R. Murrow (1965), Olivier Messiaen (1992), Carlos Castaneda (1998), Al Hirt (1999), Vicki Sue Robinson (2000), Mstislav Rostropovich (2007), and Yvette Vickers (2011).  Today is a birthday for Sheena Easton (57) and Ace Frehley (65).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for April 27, David Bowie was detained at the Polish-Russian border in 1976 as officials confiscated his Nazi memorabilia.  In 1981, Ringo Starr married Barbara Bach with Paul McCartney and George Harrison attending the ceremony.  In 1990, Axl Rose married Erin Everly, although the marriage lasted only 27 days.  In 1999, Al Hirt died of liver failure at age 76 in New Orleans.

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