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Movie Review: Be Kind Rewind

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Photo courtesy of New Line Cinema

If you think you know what Be Kind Rewind is all about, you're probably mistaken. The film's advertising would lead you to believe that it's a raucous comedy about two losers forced to re-make classic films on a zero budget to hilarious effect. While that's certainly a major plot point, it only exists to serve what I think is the film's subtext. Namely, Be Kind Rewind is a film about filmmaking and, more specifically, it's a film about the tight communities that form around the making of a film. It's a daffy ode to the hard work, compromise and wild invention that making a movie inevitably requires. Anyone who's ever made a low-budget film will love it.

As the film opens, we find Mike (Mos Def) working as a clerk in Mr. Fletcher's (Danny Glover) positively ancient video store (ancient as in they still have VHS instead of DVD). Jerry (Jack Black) is Mike's seemingly psychotic friend, a frequent and unwelcome visitor to the store. If the movie has a weak point, it's in Black's initial, half-crazed characterization of Jerry. There was a point in our culture when wearing foil hats and suffering from intense paranoia and delusions was a quaint peculiarity. Today, it signals "person with a profound mental disorder who should probably be avoided or steered towards serious medical assistance."