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Michel Gondry Bias alert: I think Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is probably the most perfect movie made in the last 10 years.

Michel Gondry Counter-Bias: The Science of Sleep wasn’t really very good (good ideas, but not a great movie)

With that out of the way let’s tackle Be Kind Rewind, his newy.

I am going to start by asking if many of the film critics out there have even seen it or do any semblance of research when reviewing a film. First things, I have read all kinds of things about Michel Gondry. Did you know he wrote and directed Adaptation? Neither did I because it is WRONG. Did you know he wrote the screenplay to Eternal Sunshine? No? Well that was WRONG too (well, he was co-creator of the story, but didn’t write the screenplay).

Next rant is aimed at the critics about their reviews of Be Kind Rewind. Most I have heard or read like to take to task the implausibility of a key part of the story… the fact that a magnetised Jack Black erases all the tapes in the local video store. The problem doesn’t seem to be that he could be magnetised in the first place, rather that there is a store that just has videotapes. I ask again… did these critics even watch the same movie? First of all this is dealt with in the movie and the fact we are in a DVD age is a core part of the movie. Secondly, did these critics never scour old thrift stores looking for that elusive video that they had heard about but never seen? I know I did my best to find that bootlegged copy of Clockwork Orange back in the day.

So, all that out of the way, what did I think? Well, part of the reason for that ranting is that I actually really loved this movie. The main conceits of the film may sound silly but are handled really well in Gondry’s hands. Everyone in the movie is great (I especially dug Mos Def and Melonie Diaz is ace) and yes, the home-made renditions of Ghostbusters, Rush Hour 2 etc are very cool. Most amazing is a one shot (well looks like one shot) whizz through the “sweeded” versions of 2001 and King Kong amongst others. This is complete Gondry magic.

What I most love in this movie though is the subtlety. The whole premise of 2 guys and a gal making their own versions of movies could be really pretentious and an excuse for “oh, look at us… how funny is this”. But it is a device used quite sparingly to chart the new found success of the video store. The whole movie is not Jack Black and co. mugging for the camera. The conclusion to the film is really quite sweet too and had me and my mate Temp lamenting some days gone by.

So there you go. I don’t understand some of the hate towards this film as a one-idea movie that runs out of laughs. It is not all about the laughs, there is a bit more substance in there. Or maybe that is just the old-school movie lover in me remembering that movies USED to be made by people who loved movies, and not some computer in an office in LA LA land.

… muttler

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One Comment

  1. interesting point of view.
    i saw this movie, and thought it was pretty good. however, the plot changed often.
    that was the only part i didn’t like.
    other than that…
    i’d give it 3 1/2 stars.
    thanks!
    peace,
    mle xox


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