• Random Quote

    If it turns out that there is a God, I don’t think that he’s evil. But the worst that you can say about him is that basically he’s an underachiever.

    — Woody Allen

Repo Man Meets Dr. Jung

In his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell
 argues that folk tales, myths, and spiritual journeys follow a 
common pattern, a monomyth. The hero is called upon to separate
 from society and face a challenge; he [sometimes she] then 
undertakes a journey, often aided by supernatural forces, into
 another world–be it the underworld, dreamtime, or the 
unconscious–where the hero is tested. If the hero triumphs, then 
he gains a boon and can return to society, enriching it.

Campbell
 writes: “He [the hero] and/or the world in which he finds himself
 suffers from a symbolical deficiency. In fairy tales this may be 
as slight as the lack of a certain golden ring, whereas in 
apocalyptic vision the physical and spiritual life of the whole
 earth can be represented as fallen, or on the point of falling, into ruin.”10
 Otto has known a fallen world; he has answered the call,
 faced the challenges, and is on the verge of gazing into the cosmic fire.

But the power in the Malibu can kill. The car glows 
with a celestial light and rebuffs the efforts of the government
 scientists to control it. When Larry the evangelist approaches 
the car to do an exorcism, the Bible bursts into flames. The old
 religions are dead.
 Then Miller, the shaman, enters the scene. He smiles,
 approaching the Malibu with gentle respect. Otto asks, “What are
 you doing?” And Miller answers, “I’m going for a spin.” Then he
 motions knowingly for Otto to accompany him.
 In Campbell’s study, the hero returns to society with a
 “life-transmuting trophy . . . bringing the runes of wisdom, the 
Golden Fleece, or his sleeping princess, back into the kingdom of 
humanity, where the boon may redound to the renewing of the
 community, the nation, the planet, or the ten thousand worlds.”

But not in Repo Man. Maybe the world is too far gone, maybe it’s 
beyond redemption and the real boon of the hero-quest is escape 
from a crazed and dying planet. Leila tries to hold Otto back; she says, “What about our relationship?” Otto replies, “Fuck 
that,” and goes to join Miller. Leila, no Penelope, says, “I’m 
glad I tortured you!”

 

"Miller... what are you doing?"

Miller Takes the Wheel

 

Although Miller can’t drive a car, he easily masters the cosmic forces focused in the Malibu. He’s become a cosmic repo man and he’s 
taking the “boon” away from the government, the scientists, and
 a world that obviously don’t deserve it. As they streak across 
the sky in the Malibu, Otto says, “Wow! This is intense.” And
 Miller replies, “The life of a repo man is always intense.” Then
 the stars blur (think warp drive on Star Trek) and our
 boys, our heros, are gone.

 

"Wow! This is intense!"

Warp Speed

 

Cox’s scintillating debut is a whirling interplay
 between grim irony and slapstick farce. Building on a skeleton of Jungian
 motifs, the film is as truly strange and absurd as the real world of UFO cults, military mania, Christian television,
 and right-wing actor presidents. Hollywood monotonously serves up rebaked comedies with the same insipid ingredients over and over again–bland pablum that passes through without offering any flavor or nutrients. The desperate brain is left to starve.  In contrast, Cox’s dazzling satire is like a hit of 
pure oxygen to the neocortex during an L.A. smog alert.

1 C.G. Jung, Synchronicity, Princeton University Press, 1973.

2. ibid.

3. C.G. Jung, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious,
Princeton University Press, 1980.

4. ibid.

5. C.G. Jung, Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the
 Sky, Princeton University Press, 1978.

6. Marvin Harris, Cows, Pigs, Wars and Witches: The Riddles of
Culture, Random House, 1978.

7. Jung, Flying Saucers.

8. Ibid.

9. ibid.

10. Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Princeton
University Press, 1973.

 

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