Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008) (part 5 of 7)
Oh good, more crazy antics from Pavi. The geneterns attach a new mask to his head and sing about how they have nice breasts, while Luigi storms around demanding coffee. It’s like The Tudors, only with more prancing. The poor quality of the coffee they have at the Renaissance Fair sends Luigi into yet another murderous rampage, which is only stopped by the appearance of Blind Mag, who finally joins the story—only to get a face full of Paris Hilton’s blind ambition (sorry, no pun intended) for her trouble. Seems Amber wants to replace Mag as the headliner of the Genetic Opera, but her presence sets the two brothers off and Mag is able to duck out, while Rotti, with his underage date (so—Shilo said yes? Okay then), arrives to send them to their rooms.
Quick question, if I told you that Blind Mag was about to get her own cartoon backstory, would you laugh or just put me out of my misery?
Blah blah blah, Mag and Shilo’s mother were friends, Momma uses her connection to Rotti’s penis to get Mag some new eyes, Mag becomes a popular singer, becomes GeneCo’s spokeswoman, and wow, we actually made it back to the present in record time. I’m slowly but surely regaining the will to live.
Nothing of note happens for the next few minutes. Repo repos some dude hanging from his foot. Rotti has a press conference/ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Opera house, which is hijacked by the most screamingly gay man I’ve ever seen, which is nothing more than an excuse to remind the viewer about Zydrate addiction, for which Amber Sweet runs, “ironically”, a treatment center.
Rotti introduces Amber onto the stage, but Amber is a no-show. She’s ducked out of the press conference to feed her own addiction, for which we get, you guessed it, a cartoon backstory about how she’s getting plastic surgery just to score more often. Of course, she still buys it off the street, like a normal celebrity.
Socrates was a firm believer in teaching by asking, “Why?” In related news, Darren Lynn Bousman is a firm believer in teaching by asking, “Would you be capable of figuring this out without me here to hold your hand?”
Amazingly enough, this time the shift back to live action doesn’t herald unnecessary flashbacks. They’re learning!
Meanwhile, during all this Shilo was dragged off to a side tent with blood-covered operator and/or barber stuff in it. Why is she taken there? Who knows? She has a conversation with Repo Dad on her wrist phone, in which she’s hiding that she’s not in her room and he’s hiding that he’s slicing open some loser’s guts.
Graverobber shows up, for no real reason other than via the Power of Scriptwriting, and sneaks Shilo out of the tent. So her being in that tent sure was important.
The alleyway we’ve landed in is fittingly low key for a movie, full of prostitutes who look like Joel Schumacher picked their clothes for them, maybe, but it’s progress, and the new Graverobber song is actually a little catchy. Damn if the melody doesn’t sound familiar, though, but I can’t quite put my finger on it…
Shilo: A little glass vial?
Hookers: A little glass vial!
Graverobber: And this little glass vial goes into the gun like a battery.
Wait a minute. They stole that from the Muffin Man. The Muffin Man? The Muffin Man! The stole it from the Muffin Man, which… dammit…
Amber enters in full dominatrix mode, two love slaves in tow, and basically repeats everything that Graverobber sang until the chorus, where Graverobber chirps in that she’s addicted to the knife. Addicted to the knife? Addict… get out of my head, movie! He injects her inner thighs, as her mind’s eye flashes to various rooms where she’s getting humped by women in their underwear. Should I be more disturbed that this is what wealthy heiresses think about when they’re high, or the fact that this is apparently my ex’s favorite movie?
Well played, Bousman, you’ve somehow made violence and lesbians boring.
Graverobber whistles along with the background music, which Shilo recognizes as one of Blind Mag’s many hits. This sets Amber off, who lets slip that Mag is next on the chopping block for Repo Man. Graverobber, displaying the omniscience required to fill the role of narrator, fills us in on Rotti’s decision to take back her eyes because she decided to take her voice elsewhere. Since science has shown that it is impossible to sing without any eyeballs, it’s a bonny plan.
The cops show up, Graverobber and Shilo escape to the graveyard, Shilo goes home, we near the halfway mark, and Rotti calls Repo to his office, where he delivers a bag of organs which are most definitely not the spinal column he fetched on his last job. (We’re still in the whole “not a lot happens for a few minutes” part, so I won’t be offended if you’re not paying keen attention just now.)
The Largo brood dump the Blind Mag job in Repo’s lap, but his conscience won’t allow him to kill his wife’s best friend. This is the same conscience that let him dismember and make a puppet out of a complete stranger mere feet from where his daughter sleeps, but hey, at least he refuses to mercilessly slaughter people he actually knows.
And, of course, all it takes is the dispatching of another faceless victim and Repo’s all stoked and tripping all over himself to get the job done. And then he just as quickly changes his mind again. I’m not even going to make a joke; I will, however, point out that if any of you ever get a yen to study World War II, this recap makes a perfect metaphor for the Battle of Ramree Island, if you imagine that I’m a Japanese soldier and Repo! The Genetic Opera is a swamp full of saltwater crocodiles.
Blind Mag pulls up to Shilo’s house. She has flanking flunkies, too, bedecked in sky-high Marie Antoinette wigs and black lace surgical masks. Okay, you’re one kooky movie, aren’t you?
Something from Madonna’s pre-Ray of Light period, as performed by Gloria Estefan, kicks in as Mag and Shilo make small talk, discuss their hobbies, and watch Mag flash footage of Shilo’s mother out of her eyes. See? There’s a point to at least one of those commercials. During this Mag reveals that she’s Shilo’s (pause) “godmom.”
I’m tempted to say there were absolutely no drugs involved in this production, just oregano and the power of suggestion.
Enter Nathan, well supplied with accusation-laden lyrics. Shilo pleads for Mag’s life without knowing he’s the one who’ll kill her… god, but this all sounds familiar. Something about a barber, maybe? I dunno.
Things come to a head between Nathan and Shilo, with him refusing to listen to her barely coherent arguments about why he, who as far as Shilo knows is only a doctor, should try to save her.
Nathan puts Shilo to bed, so she starts singing about how young people are better than old people. Whereupon comes the only production number in the film, festering at the very center like the song Pilot Abilene sings in Southland Tales, and, astonishingly, just as pointless. Behold the horror that is “Seventeen”.
Suddenly Shilo is clad in an outfit best described as Avril Lavigne trying to win a Pat Benatar Look-Alike contest with clothes she bought at the Salvation Army, her toys suddenly puppets swaying to the beat, her room suddenly an exclusive rock club with fans trying to break down her door.
Shilo jumps all over the place, throws her glass shit around, repeatedly flips off her dad, and welcomes a hellish cameo by Joan Fucking Jett, all while extolling the virtues of the single most annoying generic character archetype who thinks they’re so badass because they listen to fucking Joan Jett.
Shilo: Daddy’s girl’s a fucking monster!
Ooh, ooh, let me!
Uh… did the guy who wrote ”Billy S” demand cash up front for that one?
Ooh, ooh, me next!
Did Janet Jackson want too much money for Control?
Something about Xanadu!
Now, I’m sure there’s a perfectly good reason why they would stop their “serious” musical to include a “rocking” teen rebellion song that has nothing to do with padding the soundtrack, but whatever it is, this song is just awful, so much so that TV Tropes, which is run by people who like everything, lists this scene as Repo’s Dethroning Moment of Suck.
Let’s put it this way: It says a lot when even Joan Jett can’t save a tune.
Shilo gets to the part about how she’s a fucking monster, when Nathan, who’s been literally standing in a corner shaking his head for the last three minutes, finally gets fed up and asks her what the five fingers said to the face. She blacks out and we cut to GeneCo, where Amber’s been rendered hideous by a botched operation. Rotti berates her about getting too many surgeries, only to send her back for more surgery when he sees how bad it is. Does he gamble his way out of gambling debts, too?
Incidentally, I can’t think of any cosmetic operations that would do damage to that area of her face. But maybe they’ve invented new ones. Plastic surgery… of the future!
Rotti reminisces about his empire and how he’s gonna give Shilo all his money. Given the fact that his entire family is certifiable, I’m with him on this one. He calls Shilo on her Spy Kids watch, but Repo overhears and swears revenge, leading into that one song from all musicals, you know the one, where everybody’s heading to one spot and they repeat their motivations, so when we go into the third act we haven’t forgotten anything. It’s like ”Tonight Quintet”, only with people with other people’s faces stapled onto their faces.