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The Repo Code – What I Learned From Repo Man

I was watching a different movie from my childhood, I think it was Caddyshack, and I thought to myself that there are some hidden insights and principles within the classics despite their comedic focus and apparent superficiality. I will have to come back to Caddyshack and cover other classics – Stripes, Big Trouble In Little China, Sixteen Candles among others come to mind – but I am starting the new ‘What I Learned From…’ series with one of my all time favorites…

Repo Man
No not the 201o movie that I haven’t even seen yet, but the 1984 cult classic – an odd film (as all cult classics are) that was favorably received by critics and currently has a 97% ‘Fresh’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Starring Emilio Esteves as the young punk Otto, and Harry Dean Stanton (HDS is like bacon – he seems to make every movie a little better) as his repo mentor Bud (other repo men are named Light and Miller – cleverly all beer names) it is a fun and funky and surprisingly thought provoking movie that merges genres in a way that Quentin Tarantino could not even match with a soundtrack to rival the best of Tarantino’s, and social commentary on the level of Spike Lee. If you have never seen it, it streams for ‘free’ on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

In Otto’s introduction to being a repo man, and his downward spiral into the chase for the ’64 Chevy that holds dead aliens in its trunk, many wise words are passed between characters. These are some of the things I learned from the movie about being a man:

Be positive and don’t be afraid to start at the bottom

There’s bleepin’ room to move as a fry cook. I could be manager in two years. King. God. – Kevin

Cars are bad. Mass transit is good.

I do my best thinking on the bus. That how come I don’t drive, see…. I don’t want to know how. I don’t want to learn. See? The more you drive the less intelligent you are. – Miller

It’s just stuff

Only an asshole gets killed for a car. – Bud

Everyone should have a code:

I shall not cause harm to any vehicle nor the personal contents thereof, nor through inaction let that vehicle or the personal contents thereof come to harm. That’s what I call the repo code, kid. Don’t forget it, etch it in your brain. Not many people got a code to live by anymore. – Bud

And the number one thing I learned from Repo Man (from one of the best  scenes in a movie ever) – Everything is connected:

A lot o’ people don’t realize what’s really going on. They view life as a bunch o’ unconnected incidents ‘n things. They don’t realize that there’s this, like, lattice o’ coincidence that lays on top o’ everything. Give you an example; show you what I mean: suppose you’re thinkin’ about a plate o’ shrimp. Suddenly someone’ll say, like, plate, or shrimp, or plate o’ shrimp out of the blue, no explanation. No point in lookin’ for one, either. It’s all part of a cosmic unconciousness. – Miller


Do you have any favorite classics that have hidden truths in them?

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About K9vin

I have been a volunteer for the humane treatment of animals in the Milwaukee area for 10 years as well as our parks system including founding the friends group for off-leash dog parks and a volunteer for The Park People. I was born in and raised near Milwaukee and have pride in the city. I want to be one of the people always striving to make Milwaukee better, starting with getting other men involved in their community.

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  1. Pingback: May The 4th Be With You – What I Learned From: Star Wars « Well-Met Men - May 3, 2012

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