Be Kind Rewind

Remember the era of VHS? Remember when having a short, 5 minute “Making of” segment at the end of the tape was considered a special feature? Yeah -me too and now I feel really old. Anyway, it’s time to look at “Be Kind Rewind”- a film all about those magic cassettes.

Be Kind Rewind (2008)

I honestly don’t like Michel Gondry that much. I’m not entirely sure why, either. There are many more deserving directors out there worthy of my dislike, but some of it seems to be focused on the French director’s head. Oh- he’s French. That’s why. Let’s go with that. /Clarkson

“I’m Bill Murray, you’re everybody else.”

The story follows video rental store clerk Mike (Mos Def) and his oddball friend, Jerry (Jack Black). After Jerry becomes magnetised in an “industrial sabotage” attempt, he accidentally wipes every last video in the store, leaving Mike in a difficult situation. The pair decide to try and recreate mega-budget Hollywood films on no budget at all in order to not get in trouble with store owner, Elroy (Danny Glover). I really liked the story as it seemed it shared the same love of film that I have. It was almost a love-letter to cinema in general, which I can appreciate. Jack Black is great as usual, but not doing much more than playing himself with a “quirky” edge. Mos Def is pretty forgettable, acting as the straight man to Black’s…well, Blackness I suppose. Danny Glover seems to be going the motions too, at times seeming less concerned with the story and more concerned with the fact he was once in “Lethal Weapon”.

The way the films are “sweded” is incredibly creative. Every single film they show being made has clearly had a lot of thought and effort put into it. My favourite of theirs has got to be “Ghostbusters” where tin foil and tinsel on a wire stand in for the Ghostbusters’ uniforms and proton packs. I guess the one recurring word for “Be Kind Rewind” is “charming”. Everything that transpires has a nice, off-the-wall quality that could disarm even the most cynical of film critics.

However, “Be Kind Rewind” seems to be trying to cater for everyone at once. One minute it’s a typical Hollywood slapstick comedy and the next it’s going for the edu-crowd, trying to cajole them into letting out a snort of laughter (ironic, of course). What Gondry doesn’t seem to grasp is that these types of comedy are at opposite ends of the spectrum. It’s very difficult to pull off successfully and very few films have managed this. Story-wise there seem to be a few bits missing, including the backstory on Mike’s relationship with the rival DVD store owner, who shows up talks to Mike in a way that suggests a history and then sticks around for the rest of the film. Plus, the “big corporation taking over a small-town business” plot device is so damn hackneyed that even Disney don’t bother with it anymore. Still, nice to see Sigourney Weaver again.

(During the “sweding” of “The Lion King”) ” Listen to me. I need to you say the line. I need you to say “I will piss on the bones of your ancestors”

Overall, I enjoyed “Be Kind Rewind” a lot more the second time than I did the first. It has heart (although not as much as it wants you to think it has) and some very funny jokes coupled with a truly innovative approach to recreating films. All together now- “When you’re walking down the street/and you see a little ghost…”

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