Two bumbling store clerks inadvertently erase the footage from all of the tapes in their video rental store. In order to keep the business running, they re-shoot every film in the store with their own camera, with a budget of zero dollars.
In Venice Beach, naive Midwesterner JB bonds with local slacker KG and they form the rock band Tenacious D. Setting out to become the world's greatest band is no easy feat, so they set out to steal what could be the answer to their prayers -- a magical guitar pick housed in a rock-and-roll museum some 300 miles away.
In Passaic, NJ, Elroy Fletcher runs a video store in a condemned building he claims was the birthplace of Fats Waller. Fletcher goes on a Waller centennial trip, leaving his foster son Mike in charge of the store. Mike's peculiar friend Jerry tries to sabotage a power station and nearly electrocutes himself, getting magnetized in the process. He inadvertently erases every tape in the store. Mike and Jerry hatch an plan to hide the disaster by making a homemade "Ghostbusters" to rent to a woman whom Fletcher will be phoning to check on them. Soon, with help, their homemade versions of films develop a cult following. Will this new business save the store and the building? What about Fats? Written by
During the first scene within the "Be Kind Rewind" video store, a music video can be seen playing on the television behind the check-out counter. It's the music video for "Ma Maison" by French rock group Oui Oui, which Michel Gondry directed. Gondry was also the drummer for Oui Oui when they were still together between 1983 and 1992. See more »
When Mr Fletcher sets off on his trip, the train leaves going back the way it came, even though Passaic does not appear to be a terminal. See more »
We did it...because we're Ghostbusters!
[gives thumbs up]
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Nothing from Nothing
Written by Bruce Fisher and Billy Preston
Published by Irving Music Inc. (BMI)/Almo Music Corp. (ASCAP)
Performed by Billy Preston
Courtesy of A&M Records
Under license from Universal Music Enteprises See more »
Charming, intertextual tribute to the cinematic arts
Considering the vast array of films whose subject matter introspectively deal with the nature of their medium in itself, it should come as no real surprise that few films paying tribute to the film industry itself boast more than a smile or two in terms of quality. After all, how could such self-serving Hollywood love letters come across as anything more than pretentious and self-congratulatory? It would seem eclectic director Michel Gondry has found the answer, by crafting a film with charm, but not Hollywood glitz, with humour but not generic sight gags, and with heart, but no mainstream sap - Be Kind Rewind is the end result, and a truly laudable feat as consequence.
If taken at face value, Be Kind Rewind may appear simplistic to the point of appearing patronizing at times, but Gondry is too shrewd to operate on directorial autopilot, and instead allows the form and cinematics of his own feature to mimic the unassuming homemade feel of his protagonists' shorts. Indeed, upon closer examination there is much to appreciate, as the structure of the film itself can be taken as allegorical for the development of the film industry itself and its ups and downs: a couple of men fooling around with cameras with no real idea what they were doing impulsively deciding to make movies, which steadily become more streamlined and mass produced (a montage sequence joyfully alludes to the days of "assembly line" Hollywood studio production) as they increasingly become less about art and more about making money. The film also makes witty references to the scare of video pirating in today's culture as well as an examination of the changing home viewing technologies, and the inevitable transition from more nostalgic days of video cassettes to DVDs. But Gondry's film also celebrates the enormous cultural significance of film, and glimpses at the joy of producing them and the heart-warming reaction of viewer enjoyment. Quite simply, Be Kind Rewind can be taken in a nutshell as a movie about loving the movies, which, although potentially coming across as too schmaltzy for some, is surprisingly touching as opposed to dissolving in a mess of Hollywood glitz.
Although the film is without question not without its faults, they scarcely detract from a film so unpretentiously touching and charming. Yes there are certain prominent lapses of credulity, logic, and even some paltry special effects (whether intentionally so or not, they do stand out). Yes some parts do undeniably drag or appear to be slightly off track, and the script carries the "improvised low budget feel" a bit too far in certain segments. But such concerns are easily forgiven when the final product is so earnestly enjoyable, and the "remake" sequences (as Black and Def lampoon such films as Ghostbusters, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Boyz 'n the Hood and Rush Hour 2) are comedic gold, and feel disappointingly rushed, considering their being the primary draw of the film. Similarly, the film's genuinely moving finale is a triumph
one feels transported to the earliest days of audiences screening
silent films in a flickering theater with only a whimsical solo piano accompanying, and it hard to resist giving in to the sweeping feeling of genuine nostalgia and heart rather than typical Hollywood tear-jerking. And perhaps this exemplifies the film in itself: one gets the feeling the film could have reached and easily succeeded loftier or more profound aims, but ultimately the film doesn't pretend to be anything but what it is: a celebration of the art of creation and a parable for the love of film-making and its cultural significance.
Gondry's cast similarly light up the screen with enough infectious enthusiasm and good natured quirkiness to easily sell an occasionally rocky concept. The boundless charisma of Jack Black is put to perfect use as the irrepressible Jerry, taking a bumbling, attention seeking anarchistic character and still effortlessly capturing the hearts of his audience. Mos Def's offbeat comedic talents also perfectly compliment the film's quirky tone, and while undeniably funny, Def is given a chance to shine dramatically in several understated emotional scenes, and he rises to the challenge. Backing up the two charismatic leads, Danny Glover brings class and authority to the role of the gruff video store owner Mr. Fletcher, and Mia Farrow brings dignity and offbeat comedy simultaneously as an eccentric video rental patron. Melonie Diaz makes a lovably bizarre addition to the inspired pairing of Black and Def as an aspiring actress roped into the duo's movie-making frenzy, and a delightful cameo from Sigourney Weaver is priceless, especially considering the earlier Ghostbusters spoof.
For whatever faults or shortcomings, Gondry's film boasts such low key, unassuming heart and charm that it is almost impossible to dislike. While not as overall funny as one might hope for, it is exceptionally hard to resist a smile creeping onto one's face throughout, and the film proves surprisingly moving, despite the noticeable lack of Hollywood emotional showiness. Be Kind Rewind is somewhat of an anomaly in its unpretentious refusal to be anything apart from what it intended to be - a movie about celebrating the joys of making and experiencing movies it hard to resist, and Gondry's film is just cute and unassuming enough to pull it off with considerable skill.
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