Thursday, February 26, 2015

Neko Case & Mike Nesmith Talk REPO MAN For Film Acoustic: Part 2

This is part 2 as the conversation between Neko Case and Mike Nesmith at the Carolina Theatre in Durham following a screening of REPO MAN earlier this week was so enjoyably rich with insights that I wanted to give it more space (click here for Part 1). For the second installment of the new series, Film Acoustic, the acclaimed singer/songwriter Case had chosen the 1984 cult classic, being one of her all-time favorites, to screen, and invited its executive producer, Nesmith, who you also may know from a little band he was in called the Monkees, to discuss it and other related topics with her.

Here, Nesmith speaks about the Monkees' sole film project, the possibility of a REPO MAN sequel, and whether or not popular singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett had a cameo in the film.

Nesmith on HEAD, Bob Rafelson’s 1968 psychedelic masterpiece starring the Monkees: “It’s actually a masterwork. And whose masterwork it is, is Jack Nicholson’s. When HEAD came about, it was, I don’t want to build too much – take it on fact, that the movie Bob and Bert (Schneider) had decided to do, HEAD, as a kind of assisted suicide for the Monkees and they hired Jack to come in and help them. ‘Cause they wanted to kill the monster. The monster had turned on them.

They had been praying for the little wooden boy to come to life and suddenly it did, and it scared the hell out of them so Geppetto was going to throw the marionette off the bridge. Well, okay off the air, but what do you do in that particular case with the music? What do you do with what that film is about to become? And Jack was able to bring the music into that film in such a way that it satisfied what everybody wanted out of that movie, that wanted anything out of the movie. And instead of killing the monster, it imprinted it forever on the history of film. And there it is, there it jolly well is.

Bob tells this story in the commentary of the movie’s Criterion release of HEAD where he says that Jack and him were sitting around loaded, and Bob gets dark and Jack said ‘what’s going on?’ ‘I’m thinking about the blackest, darkest thing in the world.’ And Jack said ‘well, what would that be?’ And Bob said ‘Victor Mature’s hair.’ And Jack said ‘that’s it! The whole movie takes place in Victor Mature’s hair!’ I thought Jack had one of the greatest dope riffs I ever heard!’ But he took that and suddenly he made it all work around that music.”

Nesmith on his favorite line in REPO MAN: “‘The life of REPO MAN is intense’ is the fulcrum. That’s talking about intensity, it’s talking about what happens to you when you watch the movie – it’s intense.”

On Alex Cox having the rights to the screenplay to REPO MAN: “Now Alex has the right to make a sequel if he wants to.”

Milazzo: “If he rang your phone and said ‘hey, would you like to jump on this journey again with me?”

Nesmith: “No.” (audience laughs) I know, it sounded flip but no. It’s not because it was a bad experience because that’s not…I’m not sure that there is a sequel to REPO MAN. I think REPO MAN is a whole complete thing.”

Case: “I’d be really sad if they made a sequel.”

Nesmith: “Yeah, I’m kinda following you in on that. He wrote the sequel called “Otto’s Hawaiian Holiday.” (audience laughs) Just as funny as you think it is.

Questions from the audience Q & A:

Audience member: “The last scene, or near the end, with the guy that says ‘I love my job’ and they bring out a book, I think I remember that being a copy of ‘Dianetics’ but I didn’t quite pick it up in the movie…”

Nesmith: “I’m so glad you asked me that, because it’s one of the funniest jokes in the movie and nobody sees it!”

Audience member: “And I just watched BATTLEFIELD EARTH yesterday!” (laughter)

Nesmith: “You see, and this is an example, like how we got the generic food, they’re not gonna let us use Dianetics!” So Alex calls it ‘Diaretics’!

Another audience member: “Jimmy Buffet is credited as one of the blond agents, which one is he?”

Milazzo: “Where’s Jimmy Buffett in this film?”

Case: “Did they make that up?”

Nesmith: “No, no – Jimmy was there.” (audience laughs)

Case: “You guys planted this stuff like they’re little landmines that are just gonna keep going off for years and years.

Nesmith: “Nobody planned it. They just fell off the truck and landed some place.”

Case: “Jimmy Buffet’s on the lot.” (laughter) “Do we have a size 44 blazer? Show Mr. Buffett in.” (more laughter)

Nesmith: “That’s exactly what it was. That very thing. He and I were sort of friends, and hanging out, and was ‘what are you doing?’ “Shooting REPO MAN,’ ‘oh I want to come to the set.’ Alex said ‘do you want to be in the movie?’ and handed him a blazer and a pair of sunglasses. And he is part of the team when they set the body on fire that’s on the park bench, he’s one of those guys and if you look at it – he’s standing by the back of the van. That’s Jimmy.”

Nesmith on the legacy of REPO MAN: “Alex and Peter were all frustrated by the way that movie got distributed, and what happened to it in the public’s mind. The fact that it has gotten some traction, and there are people who love it, and people who really get it, is nourishing. 

Case: “And I’m thinking that it probably made more money than GREYSTOKE: LEGEND OF TARZAN that came out that same year.” (audience laughs)

Nesmith: “Actually, that’s my favorite movie, GREYSTOKE: LEGEND OF TARZAN.” (more laughter)

Milazzo: “Goes without saying.” (even more laughter)

The next Film Acoustic is a real doozy: Frank Black from the Pixies Presents Terry Gilliam's BRAZIL, another favorite film of mine, on Thursday, March 19th. Tickets are on sale now.

More later...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...