Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Cult Movie Catch-Up Via NEw Special Edition DVDs

Since this blog is relatively new we like to catch up with older films and appraise their recent special edition DVDs. Here I meet up with a couple of old friends: 

REPO MAN (Dir. Alex Cox, 1984)

A young punk (Emilio Estevez) becomes a automobile repossession man, who stumbles upon a car with dead space aliens in it and an entire low-life network bent on stealing it.

Harry Dean Stanton puts in a great gruff performance as Estevez's partner and has many pivotal lines that build his character as a master of poor man philosophy. Songs by the Circle Jerks, Iggy Pop (who wrote the theme song), the Plugz, and the Juicy Bananas among many other punk staples all line the frames of this flick perfectly. I saw this movie on cable many times in the '80s and love almost everything about it - especially the way every product - whether beer can or soup can is generically labelled i.e. with a white label and the word - "food" or "drink" printed alone.

The new DVD has a print of the film that looks better than I ever remember it looking and the overcrowded commentary with director Cox, executive producer Michael Nesmith (the Monkees!), three of the actors, and the casting director is fun too.

SUBURBIA (Dir. Penelope Spheeris, 1984)

I can't remember if I actually saw this movie back in the day. I remember the commercials for it with one punk saying “wake up and smell the coffee, man” being the first time I had ever heard that expression, but I don't remember it or other Roger Corman-produced movies for that matter being in heavy circulation on '80s HBO or Showtime.

Well, I mean as heavy as PORKY'S or POLICE ACADEMY or even BUCKAROO BANZAI for that matter. 

This movie about kids who squat on the outskirts of the suburbs in abandoned tract housing sure feels familiar, but maybe I'm thinking of OVER THE EDGE with Matt Dillon. Man, I loved that flick. This one has more roaches, rats, and rawk music in it so it goes much further over that supposed edge.

It’s funny that from this cast the most well known player here is Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Chris Pederson who recited the “smell the coffee” line was later in Oliver Stone's PLATOON and Kathryn Bigelow's POINT BREAK, but I doubt he’d really register with today's movie watching crowd.

This disc released as part of a Roger Corman Director's series on New Horizon video, has great commentary by director Spheeris. “The kids today look exactly the same,” she says more than once talking about the current resurgence of the punk movement.

With blueprints like this and SID AND NANCY getting the special treatment in rereleases and spiffy new digital transfers the punk kids of 20 years from now will look the same too. 

More later...

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