Apr 2, 2008

Be Kind, Rewind

A few words about a light and enjoyable movie (written and directd by Michel Gondry) I saw last night.

When the nostalgic owner of a VHS renting shop (Danny Glover) goes away for a week to spy on the competitor’s DVD shops, he tells his adoptive son (Mos Def) to take care of the shop. But he has a clumsy friend (Jack Black), who, when trying to sabotage a power station, becomes magnetized. So when he enters the video club, he erases all the tapes just by being there.

So when the shop’s best client wants to rent “Ghostbusters”, they quickly realize that the only way to have a VHS copy of the movie is to film a remake themselves. It turns out to be very crappy, but with a lot of heart, so the best client’s son and friends find it fascinating.

When asked what the hell is going on, Jack Black answers that the movie has been sweded. “That’s not a verb, that’s a country”, the young gangster reacts. “Exactly” retorts Jack Black, “that’s why it’s expensive”!

Turns out they start making more of this hilarious and “feel good” sweded versions, including 2001, a space odyssey, Rush Hour 2, the Lion King and Driving Miss Daisy. But just as they’re starting to make enough money to save the building from being destroyed by urban developers, the copyright lawyers come and destroy all their sweded versions.

They conclude by filming a documentary on Fats Waller, the jazzman who supposedly lived in that same house where the video club is today and the idol of the shop owner. When they project it the night of the building destruction in the video shop, the entire neighbourhood has gathered to enjoy the craziness and human feeling of their filmmaking.

Anyway, this is a crazy movie about how people care about social assets such as friends and neighbourhood culture in Passaic, New Jersey. The point is not that change or progress is a bad thing; the point is that the best things in life are the ones from the heart.

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