Be Kind Rewind Poster IMDB

The FUTURE FILM MAKERS club went and saw this movie about a week ago. In Be Kind Rewind, Jack Black and Mos Def star as two New Jersey nobodies attempting to save their VHS-only video store through the action of remaking old films. Their only resources are their nostalgic memories of the films themselves and whatever random items they can find in their slum community. Its a great premise, highly inspiring in this age of do-it-yourself digital film making and distribution, and got us future film makers all really excited to see what Michael Gondry could come up with.

Unfortunately the film itself is somewhat forgettable. That’s a sad thing to admit considering its one of the more creative movies to come out of America in the last couple years, but the fact of the matter is that the pacing, the narrative, and the fun factor of a movie such as this was just way too…I dunno, WONKY to really recommend. Now I like strange things and I love outrageous cinema, but this one just really didn’t do it for me or my friends in terms of “laugh factor.” The conversations the characters have come off as disconnected, as if all the characters have rabid cases of ADD. While it isn’t unusual for a bunch of zero-budget film makers to behave in such a way, it doesn’t work for a narrative as deeply themed and potentially rich as this. The humor is also smart, but sometimes pretentiously so, that the only jokes the whole audience will tend to laugh at at once involve Jack Black’s physical comedy (i.e watching him be beaten and violated by the environment around him).

As the plot thickens and the community pulls together to help the aging and dying video store (And associated format, VHS), the story begins to congeal into something far more palatable and upbeat. One cameo by Sigourney Weaver takes a tad of a depressing turn, however, and the predictability of the film becomes apparent.

The ending is really marvelous though, and if you truly appreciate the art form of cinema then you probably should watch this film. This is one of the best displays of how film making has become the prominent art form of this generation and why it brings people together as it does. If the entire last third of the picture was used as a thesis for Film’s Power in Sociology, it’d probably get an A+. Somehow, sadly, I don’t think most viewers will get it. Hopefully you will.

If you are a mainstream viewer then a rental will be good for you. Its really hard for me to say whether or not I liked this movie, as I am sure my readers can tell by the indecisivenesses of this review, but heck, that’s why we’re allowed to have our own opinions, isn’t it? One thing is for certain- the movie was full of great performances and a couple of really truly memorable moments.

However, I think what this movie will be most remembered for is it’s impact on the internet film community. Filmmaking Frenzy did a contest based off of the “sweding” of films (Custom-to-order-film-renting-on-less-than-zero-budget) that takes place in the movie. Here’s one of the favorites I’ve seen on the internet, TERMINATOR 2: