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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Be Kind Rewind (2008)


What’s a VHS?

In a downbeat area of New Jersey, there lies what seems to be one of the last ever mom-and-pop-run video-shops that actually still sells VHS tapes. The place is called “Be Kind Rewind” and it’s run by the old and a bit out-of-touch Mr. Fletcher (Danny Glover). However, in order to see what’s wrong with his video-store and how he can fix all of its problems, he decides to take a bit of a vay-cay and do some thinking on his own. This leaves his most trusted, dedicated employee, Mike (Mos Def), the responsibility of watching over the whole shop and making sure nothing bad at all happens. Somehow though, it totally does, because once the buffoon of the neighborhood, Jerry (Jack Black), gets electrocuted and comes into the shop, he wipes all of the tapes clean with nothing but static on them. Scared to have his boss find this out and be ultimately disappointed in him, Mike decides to pick up a camera, get Jerry and start filming their own versions of these movies. It’s called “Sweded”, and somehow, the town catches on and, in a way, like these versions a lot more than the actual movies themselves. This gets the store all sorts of attention – both wanted and unwanted.

So yeah, while that premise may sound strange and all, just let me tell you that this is a film written and directed by Michel Gondry; somebody who is definitely one for not always being the most “normal” film-maker out there. However, that’s the reason why this movie actually works – Gondry has a vision that may alienate some, but to others, there’s a certain joy in seeing what he sees through those artistic eyes of his. And while I couldn’t necessarily call something like this “artistic”, there’s still something joyous about it that makes it all worth watching.

"So you want me to get rid of all the Woody Allen pictures?"

“So you want me to get rid of all the Woody Allen pictures we have in store?”

Gondry’s weird-isms aside and all.

Although, I do have to say that for the first half-hour of this movie, nothing seemed to be happening at all. I get that there was supposed to be some sort of reason behind why these tapes were all erased and therefore, drive these guys to actually have to make these Swedes, but it seemed way too slow and messy. Almost as if Gondry himself was searching everywhere he could for anything that resembled a plot and didn’t know where to start, or end; he was just searching and searching, while annoying us at the same time.

But eventually, once the plot gets going and the Swede-ing starts happening, then the movie gets to be a bunch of fun. Which is mostly due to the fact that I think Gondry shows exactly what it’s like to have the creative adrenaline run through your body; the same kind of adrenaline that makes you want to get up from what you are doing and just have the world see what it is that you see, or are able to create. A part of me likes to think that Gondry uses this angle, only to express his own knack for creating low-budget remakes of popular films, but another part of me likes to think that whatever the case may be, it doesn’t matter. He’s clearly happy making these small, really cheesy remakes, and as a result, I was too.

And basically, that’s the whole gist of this movie. For a good portion of it, at least, the movie is all about what it’s like to have the need to make a movie right from where you are, with whatever you’ve got. It doesn’t matter if you have a budget, a whole lot of talent, or even all of the right equipment to get going from the ground-up. All you need is some inspiration and that drive to make you keep on shooting whatever it is that you want to shoot. If it’s a video of you just ranting about whatever it is that’s on your mind in that point in time – then go for it! If it’s a video of some Charlie kid biting somebody – then sure, totally go for it!

Whatever the idea in your head may be, it doesn’t matter. All that does matter is that you’re able to get up off your rump and film something! That’s what movies are all about in the first place, and while this movie may not be the most perfect piece of cinema to exemplify that fact, it’s still a noble effort from someone who clearly knows a thing or two about what it is that he’s talking about/filming.

How I imagine he acts every time he steps out of the shower.

How I imagine he looks every time he steps out of the shower.

As for the rest of the movie, it’s all pretty fine, especially in the casting-department. Though Jack Black’s shtick is the same here, as it’s been in, I don’t know, say, every single one of his damn movies, it’s still pretty entertaining and makes sense once this Jerry character gets a little bit too big for his britches and acts like he’s some big-time star of some sort. Sure, he has plenty of haters, but Black’s shtick, when used well, is entertaining and fun to watch. Same goes for Mos Def who, despite being on a short list of rappers-turned-actors, is one of the better ones because he’s able to go from role-to-role, without ever seeming like he’s trying too hard for one thing or another. He’s just being an actor, although there still has yet to be that one role that distinguishes him from the rest of the group.

Still though, I hold out hope. Not just for Def, but for the future of movies as a whole. Because even though certain people don’t believe the movie-business will be the same twenty-thirty years from now, there’s still hope out there that people will feel the need to want to express themselves in a fun, creative manner. Especially with a camera in their hand; something in front of them; and a chock full of ideas inside their noggins.

I still hold out hope, people. And you should too.

Consensus: While inherently messy, Be Kind Rewind still gets itself together in time for it to be a fun, creative, and rather passionate-look at what it takes for a person to create something, whether it be a film, a book, a song, or any piece of work that expresses themselves for being who they are.

7.5 / 10 = Rental!!

Now they're all working at FYE. Damn, DVD's.

Now they’re all working at FYE. Damn, DVD’s.

Photo’s Credit to: Thecia.Com.Au

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15 responses to “Be Kind Rewind (2008)

  1. Roy Sexton (Reel Roy Reviews) July 15, 2014 at 3:11 am

    Totally agree with your assessment and the film’s initial pacing issues. I love Mos Def. Great review!

    >

  2. Wendell July 15, 2014 at 3:14 am

    You’re totally right about this. It is a bit messy and takes a while to get started, but it works once it does. By the end, it’s a fun, nostalgic little film. Excellent review, Dan.

  3. 55theintimidator55 July 15, 2014 at 3:26 am

    I remember seeing a trailer for this. I really want to see it, just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

  4. Josh the Reel Freak July 15, 2014 at 3:35 am

    Haha I remember watching this! It was a pretty funny movie. Good review man.

  5. Zoë July 15, 2014 at 6:20 am

    Excellent review Dan. I must say that I really didn’t like this movie at all, and didn’t even finish it. Maybe it’s because of Jack Black… I really, really don’t like him.

  6. TheFilmAvenger July 15, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    I’ve always wanted to see this movie.

  7. keith7198 July 15, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Great review buddy. Jack Black was enough to make me run away. ;)

  8. Jane July 15, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    I love this movie because it’s so different and fun. You nailed the review and made me want to see it again!

  9. shazza91321 July 15, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    This movie is great, I watched so many times I guess I forgot about it. LOL. Does that sentence even make sense??? Great review.

  10. Sonya July 15, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    I honestly do not remember this movie (except for maybe a scene where Mos Def is wearing a football uniform and he gets pummeled, or Jack Black is wearing it and Mos Def pummels him, or I imagined it entirely), but I don’t think the message that one could make a movie anywhere, at any time, with little funding was as clear for me as it was for you. Though I had worked at Blockbuster and I might have spent the entire time arguing with the premise: no, everything is on DVD now, or I am pretty sure those that rent their movies would be pretty pissed to find out what they paid for wasn’t there. Your review took me back nonetheless, maybe I didn’t give it enough of a chance.

  11. mikeladano July 15, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    Really loved this movie. The trailers did not do it justice. I probably wouldn’t have checked it out if Jack Black wasn’t in it (this is back when I tried to see anything he was in). Thankfully this is so much more than a JB film.

    Enjoyed this Sweded review.

  12. Mike (Mike's Cinema) July 16, 2014 at 3:14 am

    Excellent review, Dan. Knowing that video stores are becoming very extinct as we proceed into the future of streaming and on demand services, makes me appreciate movies like this one more and more.

  13. Tom July 16, 2014 at 4:46 am

    Good review dude, I can’t really remember if I’ve seen this one or not. . . hmmm. I guess that just means I must go back and watch (or re-watch) this cheese-fest.

    And Im totally in agreement about Mos Def. I so hope he finds an excellent lead role to showcase his talents. He’s great.

  14. AndyK July 16, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    I vaguely remember switching this off after half an hour because it was so appalling! It was probably Mos Def that caused my outrage, but I guess I was disappointed because I loved Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and had high hopes as it was Gondry. I might have another go if I’m feeling brave enough…

  15. ianthecool July 19, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    You saw a lot more in this film than I did. I like how you see it as championing true filmmaking, which is a nice idea.

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