Today! Because I know robot karate –
Be Kind Rewind (2008)
Directed by Michel Gondry
Starring Mos Def, Jack Black (x2), Danny Glover, Mia Farrow, Sigourney Weaver, Melonie Diaz, Jon Glaser, Kid Creole, Steve Cropper, Booker T. Jones
Whenever I watch this movie, I spend half of it imagining how I could create ultra low budget remakes of movies. Like, sure, I’d still need a job – this movie emphasizes you can’t make money from this idea very strongly – but as a pastime? There aren’t a ton of movies covering this concept – this and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl are all that come to mind – but as the acclaimed director of such notable shorts as Antigone: the Musical, Senor Sweeney Gomez, and Russian Bikini Hookers II: Hurricane Ho, I can tell that this movie gets a lot of things right about backyard filmmaking.
I mean, okay, the rest of the plot doesn’t manage to go anywhere of note, but what, were they just going to have Mos Def and Jack Black act out twisted, truncated versions of Rush Hour and Ghostbusters for two hours? Hmm…yeah, they should have, I’d totally watch that (of all the quick remakes they show, Men in Black and 2001 are my favorites). The middle sequences of the film where they are just renting out their videos (the video store’s collection got erased by a magnetized Black – don’t worry about it) and creating new ones couldn’t have been the whole movie without a much different framing plot, but man, if only!
It looked for a while like Gondry would be the new voice of quirky, artistic directing in the ’00s, after this and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but once 2011’s The Green Hornet came and went, Gondry returned to making very small no-star vehicles here and in France, almost completely dropping off the popular radar. His films are still well reviewed, but do you know anyone who has seen The We and the I or Microbe & Gasoline? Come back to us, Michel!
Released in a February and not overly loved in its day, Be Kind doesn’t have awards to show for its hard work – for shame! If nothing else, Best Booker T. & the MGs Mini Reunion, with band members Booker T. Jones and Steve Cropper popping up uncredited during the Fats Waller sequence. Also, how about Best Hollywood Fourth Wall Breaking, for the choices to have Jack Black in their sweded King Kong remake (after he starring in the actual 2005 remake) and Sigourney Weaver turn up late in the movie, after the extended Ghostbusters sequence. Clever business!
And Black is officially a Two-Timer today, following his very brief appearance in #372’s Walk Hard – spotlight!