“Be Kind Rewind”
**** out of ****
Director: Michel Gondry
Cast: Jack Black, Mos Def, Danny Glover
Dare if I say how much I have a HATE for Michel Gondry. “The Science of Sheep” made me nothing but mad and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” just be one of the most overrated movies since “Titanic.” He even made Dave Chappelle look boring, and I’m a lifelong Dave Chappelle fan. But finally, it looks like Michel Gondry has grown a great pair of balls, for not only does he show why we love movies so much, but how loving movies can bring one together.
Film critic Tony DeFrancisco approves of that message.
“Be Kind Rewind” takes place in a video store called… umm… Be Kind Rewind. The store is a national landmark in Passaic, New Jersey for it is the place where supposedly jazz musician Fats Waller was born. While owner Mr. Fletcher (Danny Glover) is out of town for a “memorial of Waller” (which he really is staying in a room across the street from West Coast Video, spying on the owner and the store and their customers), he puts Mike (Mos Def) in charge. Across the street from Be Kind Rewind is a power plant, where Jerry (Jack Black) inhabits next to his trailer. Jerry tries to “sabotage” the plant, but the plant sabotages him instead, electrocuting him and making him a human magnet.
The next day, Jerry walks in the video store and completely wipes out all of the video tapes. (Oh, and did I mention, every bit of film in the store is on VIDEO and not DVD? Not only didn’t Bin Laden upgrade to the next generation video, but so didn’t these guys. (And if you were asking, I think everyone in Bellmawr, New Jersey, has upgraded to DVD.)) So in order to make their videos look good, Jerry and Mike go out and “swede” movies, or make homages of the movies. To the neighborhood, it is an excellent idea, but to the United States government?
“Be Kind Rewind” isn’t nearly as funny as the trailer suggests, but the trailer only shows us half of the story. We’re only showed how Mike and Jerry’s sweded films affect them and the video store, but we’re never shown the other side. The video store is a big part of the community, and they get involved throughout the film. Mike and Jerry’s sweded projects soon become the community’s sweded projects. It would rather be more of a heartfelt film than a comedy, but even a man as cynical and mad as me can accept that.
The film geek in me loved the sweded films. All of the swedes shown in the film got a laugh from me at least once, especially the “Robocop” swede. Hell, I have officially replaced the real “Ghostbusters” theme song with Jerry’s version of the song. That reason alone would catch any real film geek’s attention, especially the scene where Jerry describes his feelings for “The Lion King.” He sounds a lot like Roger Ebert, but the thought alone of one-half of Tenacious D recommending someone a film frightens me.
Jack Black finally plays a role where he is not playing Jack Black. He doesn’t act goofy or obnoxious. Instead, he plays a kind and hearty character, and it doesn’t annoy me at all (thank god). I’m sure that Black’s biggest fans will stay far away from “Be Kind Rewind” after reading that statement, but he has “Kung-Fu Panda” to make up for it later this summer. I’m sure that we’re all going to be entertained by that film, after all.
The little problem that I had with “Be Kind Rewind” is that I wanted more. I wanted to see more swedes. I wanted more character development. I wanted more. Running at one-hundred and five minutes, “Be Kind Rewind” could be considered long enough by most people. Not for me. I had a love for “Be Kind Rewind” that I didn’t want to leave until I was ready.
It’s about time that we get a comedy that actually defines a generation that was long lost about five years ago. I literally have forgotten what VHS was like, but thankfully, Gondry has reminded me the format that I was born into. And now, we have DVD, a format that doesn’t seem to be leaving us for quite some time. Even with Blu-Ray, DVD won’t die. DVD will never die. I expect that in five years, we will be watching DVDs the same way that we have been watching them for the past eleven years.