Repo Man [1984]

A volatile, toxic potion of satire and nihilism, road movie and science fiction, violence and comedy, the unclassifiable sensibility of Alex Cox's Repo Man is the model and inspiration for a potent strain of post-punk American comedy that includes not only Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction), but also early Coen brothers (Raising Arizona, in particular), Men in Black, and even (in a weird way) The X-Files. Otto, a baby-face punk played by Emilio Estevez, becomes an apprentice to Bud (Harry Dean Stanton), a coke-snorting, veteran repo-man-of-honor prowling the streets of a Los Angeles wasteland populated by hoods, wackos, burnouts, conspiracy theorists, and aliens of every stripe. It may seem chaotic at first glance, but there's a "latticework of coincidence" (as Tracey Walter puts it) underlying everything. Repo Man is a key American movie of the 1980s--just as Taxi Driver, Nashville, and Chinatown are key American movies of the '70s. With a scorching soundtrack that features Iggy Pop, Fear, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, and Suicidal Tendencies. --Jim Emerson

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