STUDIO: New Line Home Video
MSRP: $27.98
  “Passaic Mosaic”
  Theatrical Trailer

The Pitch

Jack Black becomes Magneto and remakes Ghostbusters.

The Humans

Mos Def, Danny Glover, Jack Black, Mia Farrow, Sigourney Weaver and Melonie Diaz

Where are we going, elderly Danny Glover?
To Amish country.
There’s this Han Solo looking motherfucker there that I’ve got whack.
Sounds good, sounds good.

The Nutshell

Be Kind Rewind is Michel Gondry’s tale of two friends in Passaic. They’re trying to make their way, as outside interests want to redevelop their homes. One day, Jerry (Jack Black) decides to sabotage a local power plant. He becomes magnetized and causes an accident at the local video store. It’s up to Mike (Mos Def) to come up with a way to restore the VHS tapes and find a way to help his boss.

All hail the New Flesh! Hail it, bitch! HAIL IT!

The Lowdown

Michel Gondry has fascinated me since I first saw the video for Lucas with the Lid Off. His later videos for Bjork, the Rolling Stones and White Stripes helped me to warm up to his dreamlike style. I fell in love with his turns on Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Dave Chappelle’s Block Party. But, Be Kind Rewind has offered up something fresh for Gondry. It’s his chance to make a modern fable.

Be Kind Rewind opens on two friends Mike and Jerry, as they try to make a film about a local jazz legend. We cut back to the past, where we see the duo trying to come to terms with the fact that their homes are changing. Jerry fights against and ends up magnetized. Don’t worry too much about the accident, just believe in its ability to help forward the story. A lot of elements in the film are basically that. Fantastical inventions dedicated to bringing the latest thrills to the viewer’s eye.

Uwe Boll presents Turkish Robo Delight.

Mos Def was a revelation in this film. He’s making a habit of being that actor you can rely on to do amazing work in a pinch. His work as Mike could easily be written off as being the straight man, but that doesn’t count. He’s a forward developing character that succeeds even when the wild variations of the film tend to go off track. You care about the people of Passaic, because Mike wants to believe in the fantasy of Passaic. Hell, you almost want to buy a Sweded VHS tape off the guy.

When the film was first released, the big screen rush didn’t allow for the fantasy elements to don on me. It seems silly now to admit to missing out on a large chunk of why the film worked. But, I just want to take the time to acknowledge the film’s strength. It’s an old-timey movie with heart and ideals. You can’t live in the past, but you can build upon it. The myths and legends of a neighborhood community grow with each person contributing to the mix. Care about the other people around you and share stuff. You’ll never know who’s going to like The Lion King.

An homage to one of the shittiest Best Pictures ever.

The Package

Be Kind Rewind arrives on DVD with a standard edition. Well, it’s a crippled standard edition when compared to the Blu-Ray. Special features were seemingly pulled off this release to show off the next-gen release that was released a week prior to its standard definition counterpart. Still, the DVD gets a special features and the theatrical trailer. The sole feature about Passaic and its history is fun. But, it’s not a reason to buy the disc.

Quality is pretty strong. You get a bit of shimmer, that plagues the early scenes. But, the later Sweded scenes look strong. It’s just that you’re missing out on the clarity that’s on the Blu-Ray. I hate to sound like shill, but it’s been awhile since I’ve seen such a marked difference between day and date releases.

In the end, Be Kind Rewind
is a film that I’ve turned around on. The film is all about the smaller happenings in what life. Plus, it shows how far a little elbow grease and dedication to the craft will take you. It also introduced me to Melonie Diaz. She’s quite a piece and helps to make the film worthy of a second look.

It’s the Savage Land Mutate Ragtime Hour.

7.9 out of 10