”Look at those assholes, ordinary fucking people. I hate ‘em.” Repo Man (1984) dir. Alex Cox





Food as it is. – Another post about Repo Man (1984)

Beer, rum, tomato juice…as I was watching the movie for a second time with Billy, we both noticed the incredible labeling in the movie. The minimalist packaging plus the warm and friendly color blue simply remind you of the top budget items in any given store. I don’t know much about the rules of showing logos in movies, but I don’t remember seeing another movie create such a complete line of products (or just the boxes) of its own, yet there is no fake brand and everything is named after itself, or even better, just “food” and “drink”. We are so used to seeing a red bottle on the dinner table and assuming it’s ketchup. Rarely are we confronted with KETCHUP in our face. In Repo Man, food gets to break the taboo of cinema and stares at the camera. This quiet and mega detail sneaks into the frame every now and then throughout the movie. It’s the un-mediated humor of food. 

There’s a pretty great essay about Repo Man called “Always Intense,” by Jim Ruland, in the May 2006 issue of The Believer. The full essay is not online, but I have the mag, and this excerpt, tucked away in a footnote towards the end of the article, has always stuck with me:

People wrongly assume that Cox is making a statement with all the generic labels for food or beverages that are consumed or destroyed during the course of the movie, but as incredible as it seems these were in fact actual store-brand items from Ralph’s. The only other beneficiary of product placement in Repo Man is the company that makes pine tree air fresheners.

As hard as that is to believe, based on this picture, it appears to be true.

this is amazing – however, cox himself has said it’s a funny bit of sly comment on the generic branding of product, multiple times (there’s interviews on multiple dvd reissues of repo man to say so, as i recall it), so the reality’s a bit too muddy to claim either as the final answer on the subject! (as it always is.)