Would you use that to describe Repo Man? I love the film but it is largely a comedy and somewhat silly at points, no? I must confess I haven’t seen Walker or Sid and Nancy.
I would, yes. Repo Man is one of the main reasons for my falling in love with movies as much as I have done. I still don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like it and it remains to this day one of the greatest four or five movies I’ve ever seen. Would I expect anyone else to consider it a masterpiece of cinema? Well, I couldn’t truthfully give a shitting bumf*ck how others might describe it but, no, I’d find it unlikely that the word “masterpiece” would ever represent the majority consensus on Repo Man; and I appreciate you’re drawing a distinction between a movie one might love irrespective of its inherent quality and a movie which might be qualitatively considered a masterpiece of cinema but, for me, it’s both.
I am more interested in the opinions of fellow SW forum members than I am of any Hollywood big-shot critics or their “consensus.” Like I said, I love the film. It’s obviously not as important to me as it is to you but I don’t find it inconceivable that someone would hold it in such a high regard. To me, it’s a fun, often times comedic, genre-blurring thrill-ride (and I mean that in the best possible sense). I liked Repo Man long before I even knew Cox’ love for SW’s. It’s a classic 80s film, just not quite a masterpiece, in my opinion. I basically have a love/hate thing going with Cox. Hate some of his comments in his book but still recognize him as important advocate to the genre and a fairly good director. I don’t give a shitting bumf*ck either, but I have no desire to make enemies here
Edit: Been trying to find a blu-ray of Repo Man that is Region A friendly but I’ve only seen the Criterion one and I think it is OOP and expensive.
Back to Navajo Joe, Cox and racism, Andy, you write:
Yes, you are right, actually, at one point Cox actually do write “Unfortunately, Mayor Jefferson Clay and most of the other characters [of Esperanza] have survived…” This is of course way over the top. Or, if you like, outrageous, or childish.
It also seems Cox think this is what Corbucci wanted us to think. Cox writes: “The film is commendably cynical: the townspeople are racist, money-grubbing grotesques who deserves to die.” And on this point it seems you adopt Cox’ point of view (that the townspeople are racists).
But I don’t think this is what Corbucci wanted us to think.
Yes, at one point some of the leading men of Esperanza (the Mayor, the sheriff and the deputy) rejects the help of Joe on grounds that “We don’t make bargains with Indians”. However, they are contradicted by the banker’s wife, a dancing girl and eventually the priest, while the scoundrel Lynne tips the scale in favour of sending Joe away. Later the sheriff complains that “Time was when we’d pay a dollar for his scalp.” An Indian hater, for sure, and a racist by our standards. But this hardly amounts to that “the townspeople are racist”. And, let’s not forget, before this, the town of Piute is burned and townspeople arbitrarily killed, because the town’s sheriff has taken a stand against the scalping business.
Perhaps also a little over the top from you? They are not capitalists, by the way.
We better do! Corbucci did, by the standards of his time.
I don’t know when the word “racism” came into use, but certainly a long time after the time when Navajo Joe is set, and then first perhaps in a positive meaning. In Europe I think the word came into common use – in today’s meaning - sometimes in the 1960ties, around the time when Corbucci made his film. In that respect Corbucci’s films, taking a stand against racism, were modern films.
First of all, let me thank you, morgan, for pointing out the quotes from the book that reference what I was referring to in my statements (perhaps some people might have thought I was madly making it all up).
At the time I was pretty pissed off by what Cox had written. My over-the-top-ness was me having a short jab back at him. The townspeople are capitalist because a lot of the plot to the film involves their obsession with the gold for their bank that is on the train. Even if they aren’t capitalists, I’m sure that’s what Cox was thinking of them as. When I said “vein of hate”…if any other ethnic group was talked about like this by Cox it would be considered “hate speech,” would it not?
Corbucci was a fine film maker, but it’s interesting you use the word “standards”, because at times, he had very little, and other times he made bold statements. Still, both he and Cox wanted to be successful in taking advantage of a capitalist environment (or else they would’ve moved to the Soviet Union and made propaganda films). I’m sure Cox still collects plenty of royalty checks. If you judge this genre by today’s standards, the films are racist, lack diversity, are misogynistic, ultra-violent, offensive and made from a position of white privilege (but this can be said for many films made in the 20th century by today’s extremely sensitive criteria–and this is not really me talking, just your average SJW). I don’t subscribe to this level of hypersensitivity. I don’t get offended if a film is mostly white people shooting guns and being violent (but before you call me a white supremacist here, I also enjoy lots of other movies that do have minorities or no whites at all). Cox doesn’t seem to mind, either…but yet he does…it’s hard to tell.
Here is an article Cox wrote in 2009:
And an excerpt from it: “Spaghetti westerns are violent, sexist, homophobic, intermittently racist, sometimes funny, most often boring and repetitive - like all westerns, or films generally.”
I must have read this back in the day … there’s his first factual error, which could have easily been googled
Tomaso (played by Spanish actor Lorenzo Lorenzon)
He means, Lorenzo Robledo … but why not double check !?
99.9% of the readers won’t know it’s inaccurate, but it makes him appear knowledgeable by throwing in an actors name, which sounds obscure … sure it’s obscure … the guy doesn’t exist!
Now that we got on the errors…
There was also discussion about Cox in For a Few Dollars More topic
His theory was nice try but basically just laughable and happens just in Cox’s imagination.
We must take his factual opinions as gospel because he’s the expert, and he directed Repo Man.
I’m just staggered that he gets paid for this stuff !
But in media, reputation is everything. The Guardian news paper are probably really chuffed to have a film director writing articles - but the irony is, that if he were a truly successful film maker, he wouldn’t have time or the inclination to produce this stuff.
Even if he’s a small fish in the directing world, he still retains some cred as a TV presenter /self acknowledged expert. But this type of article is not aimed at the expert or devoted SW fan, it’s for the casual Arts enthusiasts, some of whom will no doubt be quoting this crap as fact.
I think that is pretty much what some of you have been on about for some weeks now, and still are. But if that’s what does it for you, I’ll leave you to it.
morgan, you posted wanting to continue the conversation!
You invited me to keep discussing it! I thought you were interested in my opinion, what was your real purpose then?
Edit/Addition: I thought you had some really good things to say in your reply you made to my comments, by the way. Also, when I said “he was right to point out the townspeople’s racism” I was referring to Joe, not Cox.
Yes I am. Not in fueling another round of what I think some of you have been doing for weeks now.
Yes - absolutely. Cox also partnered with a great cinematographer here too (Robby Müller). In a way it makes me think of Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing”. Very early on in their careers, both Lee and Cox managed to create mind-blowingly brilliant films that would forever define their careers.
Yes, many (maybe most) of them are. But not all of them. The best ones are quite the opposite, and they are the reason why I like the Spaghetti Western subgenre. I recommend two excellent books: Austin Fisher’s Radical Frontiers in the Spaghetti Western and Lee Broughton’s Euro-Western. And, for a deeper understanding of American and Western mythology, Richard Slotkin’s indispensable trilogy Regeneration Through Violence: The Mythology of the American Frontier, 1600–1860, The Fatal Environment: The Myth of the Frontier in the Age of Industrialization, 1800–1890 and Gunfighter Nation: The Myth of the Frontier in Twentieth-Century America. The last volume is, of course, the most relevant concerning ideas, opinions, thoughts, perceptions and sensitivities on this forum.
I still like a lot of them whether they are or not and not depending that they aren’t. Cox said basically the same thing as I did there in that news article and extended it to include “all films generally.”
Thank you for the book recommendations, I may have a look in the future.
Alex Cox has updated his book and the new edition will be released in September.
Guess he’s been reading this thread.
That’s exactly what I thought as well.
Better late than never!