BU Film School

Monday, August 29, 2005

FT 540 Reading: Repo Man

Screenplay info
Written by: Alex Cox
Film info: http://us.imdb.com/Title?0087995

Synopsis
Cop stops J. Frank in Malibu. Opens trunk, disintegrates.

Otto, Kevin work at Pic'N'Pay. Mr. Humphries, a managerial type, upbraids Otto for lateness and lack of neatness. Otto shoves him into a pyramid of cans. Humphries fires him, then fires Kevin when he laughs.

Otto, Kevin and other teenagers party at Kevin's parents' house. Alcohol and pot are both in use. Archie and Duke take turns having sex with Debbie, even though Otto was the one calling her "honey" and getting her beer.

Otto staggers down the street, carrying five beers. He's passed by J. Frank in the Malibu. Bud, driving a Chevy, spots Otto and asks for his help -- gives him a story about his old lady being in the hospital. He offers Otto $25 if he'll help Bud get his car out of the area. Otto gets in Cutlass. Two old people come out of their house. The man tries to run after the car, the woman throws her rosary, which is caught on the fender and dragged in the dirt. Otto gets a devilish grin on his face.

Otto follows Bud and finds himself in the repo yard. In office, Miner confronts Oly. Things look tense, then both laugh. Marlene works the phones. Bud says he needs a form for a contract driver, but Otto, having realized what's going on, doesn't want it. "Screw that! Ain't gonna be no REPO MAN! No way!" He pours beer onto the ground, grabs his money and leaves. Miller, who's sorting belongings, gives him a blue Xmas tree air freshener.

Agents look around the area of the cop disintegration. Rogersz sends out an alert, which specifically states not to notify the police.

Otto and Kevin. Kevin has a handful of dead-end jobs.

Otto at parents' house, a graffitied bunker. They watch Reverend Larry preaching against Communism and liberal humanism. Otto eats from a can marked Food. All extra $ given to Reverend Larry's telethon.

Otto, Bud. Several shots (intercut with repo men at work) of Bud telling Otto how things are done. "Only an asshole gets killed for a car." Talking, smoking, snorting drugs, drinking. "Not many people got a code to live by anymore." Duke, Debbie, Archie rob store. Bud says he's picked out a spot to hole up in when the end comes. The Rodriguez brothers, driving a black Falcon convertible, flip Bud off. Incensed, he shouts at them, they flip him off again and drive off. Bud explains to Otto about the Rodriguez brothers: they buy a junker and pay it off on time, thus getting good credit. Based on that, they get a nicer car, which they default on.

Otto, trying one of Lite's tricks, drops a dead rat into a woman's car. She promptly Maces him.

Announcement: Malibu is up to $5,000 collateral.

Cadillac at laundromat. Despite Bud's misgivings, Otto takes the keys and drives the Cadillac himself. He spots Leila and offers her a ride. He runs into some garbage cans, which earns him a tongue-lashing from an old lady. Otto and Leila dodge some blond, blue-suited men. She shows him a photo of four dead aliens -- she's in a secret sect. He drives to the United Fruitcake Outlet. They make out in car.

Marlene tells Oly that the Malibu's now up to $20,000 collateral. He says not to tell the boys, since they always complain about their caseload.

Lite and Otto talk. Lite is a man's man. He'd given Otto a book to read -- Dioretix (about mind over matter).

Otto and Miller talk. "A lot of people don't realize what's really going on ... They don't realize that there's this like lattice of coincidence ..."

Marlene talks to Napo and Lagarto -- trace Malibu? Little girl makes printout of Malibu's info into airplane, tosses out window. Bud, who'd staked out the Rodriguez house, picks up the printout.

Agent Rogersz tapes Otto and Leila on the phone. Otto had told her he had info about the Malibu. He goes to the UFO, tries to make out with her. She slaps him and leaves.

Bud: "Credit is a sacred trust ... it's what our free society is founded on."

Kevin, working at the car wash, lectures his fellow workers. He waits on J. Frank, who wants vending machine food. While he's busy, the Rodriguez brothers steal the Malibu.

Otto tells Mrs. Parks he doesn't want to take her car. Some bikers, including her son, enter. As Otto leaves, Mrs. Parks starts yelling at her son for not having made payments. Otto gets in the car and starts it up, but doesn't go anywhere. The rear end is jacked up off the ground. The bikers beat Otto up. Plettschner and Bud make fun of him. Otto doesn't move when Bud calls for a contract driver, but later joins Lite.

Lagarto and Napo are in the Malibu. It's hot. Napo goes to buy a soda. Lagarto calls Marlene. Duke, Debbi and Archie run out of the store (having robbed it). Debbi hops in the Malibu and drives it.

Lite and Otto. Otto starts hot-wiring a car, but is shot at. Lite fires back at the house.

J. Frank calls Leila, but neither can understand the other because he's using a scrambler. A Matador, driven by blond men, speeds toward the phone booth. J. Frank evades in time. Agent E snatches Leila and questions her about the Malibu.

Repo Men banter about John Wayne (gay?). They force Otto to give them name. Lite, Bud, and Miller beat up Humphries, drag Kevin.

Leila calls Otto. "Leila who?" Otto with Leila, Agent Rogersz. Leila says the agent works for the government and wants to help find the aliens, prepare world for their arrival. Duke, Debbi and Archie appear, high on drugs.

J. Frank tries to pick the lock on the Malibu. The punks confront him. J. Frank asks them what's in the trunk. Duke burns his hand trying to open it. Archie opens it and is vaporized. Debbi - "Come on, Duke. Let's go do those crimes." Neither cares that Archie's dead.

The Rodriguez brothers spot the Malibu and give chase. The Repo Men, returning from Humphries' house, spot the Rodriguez brothers and corner them (only Miller spots the Malibu getting away). They fight.

The Rodriguez brothers are suing the repo yard. Oly fires Bud. Bud and Otto quarrel. Otto stalks out of the car.

Otto sees the Malibu and runs after it. He eventually catches up to it at a car wash (to get rid of his vomit). Otto hitches a ride with J. Frank. J. Frank talks about radiation project. Otto tries to get his attention with his badge, but fails. J. Frank dies. Otto drives first to the repo yard, then to the party at Miller's house. Otto looks for Bud, but he's not there.

Otto goes to his parents' house. The agents had been looking for them, and his parents gave them Otto's work address. Otto sets the house on fire.

Bud spots Otto. They go to liquor store, just before Duke and Debbi shows up to rob it. Duke is shot. "Society made me what I am." "That's bullshit. You're a white suburban punk just like me."

Otto finds blond men at yard roughing up Marlene. Plettschner tries to stop Otto from intervening. Plettschner tries to stop Marlene from hitting agent, then prepares to face her. Otto throws coffee urn at him. Otto is caught and tortured by agents (as Leila and Agent Rogersz watch). Marlene and the Rodriguez brothers rescue Otto, which Rogersz says is all part of the plan.

Otto, Marlene, and the Rodriguez brothers go to the hospital. Bud is in bed. Agents sneak into the hospital and pursue Otto et al. On the TV, Reverend Larry talks about the Malibu. Agents stop Otto et al., ask about the Malibu, which is gone. Bud's gone, too.

Shower of ice cubes. Otto finds Bud in glowing Malibu. Helicopter arrives, sniper shoots Bud. Fighting at repo yard between agents, repo men, scientists, etc. Reverend Larry descends from the copter. A lightning bolt zaps his Bible.

Miller gets in the car and starts it up. Otto hesitates to join him. Leila tries to stop him with relationship talk. She gets angry: "How could you leave me? I'm the one who's supposed to be in that car." The Malibu rises, vanishes into hyperspace.

My notes
-- pretty whacked!
-- chaotic. Crime, violence, swearing, drugs. Radio voices (Argentina, etc.) provide context, which is just as chaotic as Otto's day-to-day life
-- Otto, other kids -- no prospects, no hope
-- authorities stupid (Plettschner) or untrustworthy
-- it's the car thieves who get to go to "heaven"
-- reality's not pretty -- in fact, it's downright ugly

FT 540 notes (from 06/12/03)
-- anarchic. Perfect Lead Age comedy. Every line a cliche. No values. Plays popular culture as reality.

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