Be Kind Rewind (2008)
Now I’m not really a fan if Jack Black who I find too wacky and out there, I have seen School of Rock (2003) which you can tell was made for him. The same goes for Be Kind Rewind (2008) which I finally saw today and I actually did engage with it and with him as an actor, well comedian if I’m honest. I think it was more the film lover in me that drew me to this film.
You’d think that video stores by the time Be Kind Rewind was made there would be no more of these left. As the DVD had long taken over the role of the main home entertainment medium. Now you could say its all about streaming as DVD and Blu-Ray sales are struggling in the era of on-demand viewing platforms and illegal downloads. I have personally taken to not downloading films in support of the film industry. Anyway enough of my film politics and onto this fun film that really pays homage to modern film without being overly romantic about it. As the next film to really do that was The Artist (2011) which really made you soft and gooey inside.
I think what really got me as how these average characters, not some larger than life people, (apart from Black really injected so much fun into this otherwise throwaway film about film. I must say it has given me ideas for a future Western piece I want to make. Ok now lets talk about Be Kind Rewind a film that really should never have been made on the face of it. When video shop owner Mr.Fletcher (Danny Glover) entrusts his store to Mike (Yasiin Bey) whilst he goes on a research trip, he leaves only one instruction, “keep Jerry (Jack Black) out”. Which we know doesn’t last long in a film. After a mad-cap scheme leaves Jerry magnetised he somehow wipes all the video tapes in the store. Reminds of me Thunderbird 1 erasing the footage of camera to ensure they stay top-secret. Which in this case is not good for business as they both find out a day later.
Coming up with a mad-cap ideas to re-shoot the films, beginning with Ghostbusters (1984) with just the two of them, crappy special effects and some clever ingenuity too. All in the hopes that Miss Falewicz (Mia Farrow) who has been keeping an eye on the shop for Mr. Fletcher doesn’t recognise this bootleg version from the far superior original. To a point it works, a shorter version passes her by unnoticed but not her nephew who comes in with his friends wanting more of the same. Placing Jerry and Mike in a sticky situation, one which they come out on-top (for a while). F
They begin to film more, starting with Rush Hour 2 (2001) which we see in much more detail, there is more clever tricks which we are let into. Its seems that no film is too complicated for them. This soon booms into a series of “Swede” films that they make, with the help of Alma (Melonie Diaz) the token woman in the film who also allows them to do more and make more “Swedes” for the ever-growing customer base that had once fizzled out. The shop is however threatened with demolition if it’s not brought up to code/regulation in time.
Of course the legal consequences of all these “Swedes” does catch up with the gang, now reunited with Mr. Fletcher who has taken on this business model. Taking the form ironically of Sigourney Weaver sadly not as Dana Barrett who lays down the law of copyright infringement, pirate videos etc, basically shutting them down in embarrassing style. Forcing them to face the reality of their situation, no longer able to make “Swedes”. Leading them to make a film from scratch about a local jazz musician who was “born” in the video store. Its full of film-making energy which we have been seeing flickers of throughout the film, which finally comes together. It could be seen as disjointed having it all broken up and placed all over the place, from the beginning until the final act when we see it come together, as the film a documentary of Fats Waller. It’s a very loose film with a lot of heart and low-fi techniques that is actually quite heartwarming to watch, a strong reaction to the slick production values of film today. Creating to look and feel if something much older with practically no budget produce this documentary that brings together the community that cinema used to do. Like the other films they made its full of heart and heaps of fun, its got Black all over it and it works.