“‘I shall not cause harm to any vehicle nor the personal contents thereof, nor through inaction let the personal contents thereof come to harm’.”
Frequently, cult films achieve their status after suffering through the indignities of critical pannings and poor box office showings only to emerge years later as sleepers, championed by a vociferous minority who see gold where others only saw dreck (Showgirls, anyone?). Alex Cox’s Repo Man (1984) is the rare cult favorite that received accolades during its initial run. In his July, 1984 review in the New York Times, Vincent Camby wrote, “Repo Man. . .is a most engaging reprieve from Hollywood’s general run of laid-back comedies of simulated nastiness and half-baked nonchalance”.
Since then, Cox’s debut film has made it to the top of dozens of lists including several Best of 1984s, one of the top 25 movies made about LA, and an impressive rank of Number 7 on Entertainment Weekly’s Top 50 Cult Movies.
What’s not to love about Repo Man? 1980s Los Angeles with its thriving punk scene, a young Emilio Estevez, secret government agents, a mysterious Chevy Malibu and the thrilling, delinquent exhortation to “get sushi and not pay”. As Camby wrote 27 years ago, “exactly what happens in Repo Man. . .can’t easily be synopsized”, yet the experience of the film is every bit as enjoyable as it was when it debuted.