The Greatest Movie Quotes: Bud From Repo Man

Ordinary fucking people: he hates them.
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Ordinary fucking people: he hates them.

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Bud is snorting speed and preaching the repo code to his protégé Otto when he is distracted by a group of guys in tennis gear beefing with a tow truck crew.

“Look at those assholes over there. Ordinary fucking people. I hate 'em”

Fellini’s masterpiece La Dolce Vita opens with a grand spectacle; the huge statue of Jesus Chris being carried out of godless Rome by helicopter. In Alex Cox’s 1984 cult classic Repo Man, Otto tosses a mass produced, plastic Virgin Mary figurine out of the window of the first car he repossesses. Los Angeles is at the vanguard of a world living on borrowed time; every bus goes to Edge City, every movie theatre is playing Stayin Alive. You can sing along to 7 Up jingles all you want, but capitalism is not going to save you.

Repo Man is a road movie where no one leaves the city limits. All the characters are on the move, frantically trying to get their piece of the action however, as the film’s soothsayer Miller states: “The more you drive, the less intelligent you are”. In the end of days, the populace continue with their futile pursuits: Otto’s parents send bibles to El Salvador, Duke and his gang stick up liquor stores and uber drip Kevin dreams of living the high life (“There's fuckin' room to move as a fry cook. I could be manager in two years. King. God”). Despite eye witness testimony, they won’t believe that John Wayne is a fag who wears a dress. Even when the pointlessness of existence is exposed- they continue to cling onto myths. Duke is gunned down in a robbery gone wrong.

“Look at those assholes over there. Ordinary fucking people. I hate 'em”

Duke: The lights are growing dim Otto. I know a life of crime has led me to this sorry fate, and yet, I blame society. Society made me what I am.

Otto: That's bullshit. You're a white suburban punk just like me.

Duke: Yeah, but it still hurts

Disillusioned young Otto is drawn to the intense, “real life car chases, cop and robbers” lifestyle of the repo men and comes under the influence of Bud. His new mentor is different. He lives life to a strict code, (“no commies in my car, no Christians either”), as he keeps order amid the chaos; a modern day sheriff cracking down on those who have breached the sacred trust of credit.

Overshadowing the day to day concerns of the little folks are the sinister actions of the ruling class: the disappeared in South America, torture, interactions with aliens and the constant threat of nuclear annihilation. The latter is the central theme of the film. A scientist, unable to live with the fact he developed the “immoral” neutron bomb, has undergone a voluntary lobotomy to erase the pain. Every time the trunk of his Chevy Malibu is popped, the wet dreams of the Reagan hawks are realised: the people are vaporised while the real estate remains in saleable condition.

Disillusioned young Otto is drawn to the intense, “real life car chases, cop and robbers” lifestyle of the repo men and comes under the influence of Bud.

As the Malibu cruises the rundown streets, spreading radiation poisoning, the ‘ordinary people’ ignore the bigger picture- twisting the narrative to fit in with their limited world view. Bud is not immune. He ends up blinded by the dollar like everyone else. The kind of asshole who’d get killed over a car.

Watching Repo Man wakes you up to the idea that you are probably one of the despised ordinary people yourself. No matter what labels you rock or scene you claim, you’re struggling to find an identity, like rent-a-cop Plettschner hiding behind a uniform and pleading for respect. For all your high ideals, you’re a flash of green away from turning into one of those goddamn, dipshit, Rodriguez, gypsy, dildo, punks.

Or perhaps not. As you appreciate the razor sharp dialogue, sing along to Black Flag’s TV Party and beam at the literally uplifting climax, you realise there’s still hope. Maybe not everyone ends up a dumb melon farmer. Maybe it is possible to rise above the bullshit and make things better. Maybe… plate of shrimp.

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