Mona goes to the movies.

It’s true. I went to the movies. Spring is coming in Washington and for Mona that means leaving the house every once in a while. For you, that means witnessing my foray into movie reviews…well, not really reviews…but thoughts…

Last night I saw Be Kind Rewind, written and directed by Michel Gondry of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and maybe more forgettably The Science of Sleep (which I didn’t see but heard was appropriately sleepifying despite the participation of my secret lover, Gael Garcia Bernal). I adored Eternal Sunshine and so thought Be Kind Rewind was promising. Also promising was the cast: Mos Def (my husband), Danny Glover, Jack Black, Mia Farrow, and Melonie Diaz (who I’d never heard of, but was adorable and fantastic).

This is so not how a movie “review” is supposed to go, but I thought “Be Kind Rewind” was like totally the best name ever! No seriously, I thought it was pretty clever and cute since the plot revolves around a video store of that name still selling VHS tapes.

So onto the plot. It’s about the lovely aforementioned video store in Passaic, NJ, owned by Danny Glover and eventually run by Mos Def. Jack Black is their crazy friend…whose brain gets “magnetized” after a power plant sabotage gone awry. With this magnetized brain he then accidentally erases all the tapes in the video store. This makes no sense, but will if/when you see the movie. Long story short, in order to keep the struggling VHS-only store afloat (and from being taken by the city for modern “urban renewal”) they remake a bunch of the movies in the store…themselves. They do their own 20 minute versions of major movies like Rush Hour, the Lion King, Ghostbusters, Robocop, and so on. The town ends up loving the self-made shorts–better than the movies. The story goes on, but I think that’s enough information…I don’t want to ruin anything.

So, I thought the movie was great. Gondry has a way with fantasy that makes it palatable to even those that hate fantansy…It’s steeped in reality using the most innocent and simple twists (like being magnetized or having your memory erased), that aren’t outside the realm of even the most atrophied imagination. I think it’s sort of like magical realism without the typical style and imagery used in Latin American literature, like windmills.

The heart of the plot I think is brilliant-making 20 minute versions of blockbuster movies, which the characters really take seriously. It gets at the idea that when we can see the heights of creativity within our own limits it’s inspiring. When we see that 2 fools can use a bunch of crap in a junkyard and some intense and hillarious creativity (like instead of building a ginormously tall organ, assembling one on the ground and shooting from above) it makes it feel so accessible…and doable even by yourself. The movie you’re watching becomes more than an escape…Anyway, it made me want to make my own little movies.

It’s a little cutesy, but in this sweet way that you can’t really fault it for. For me, the sweetness actually may have negated some elements of the movie that could have been cliche, which if I elaborate on could ruin it for you.

Another thing I saw while at the movies was a preview for this movie, Young at Heart:

There’s an obvious shoutout to my fellow knitters in there, but the preview looked incredible–about a chorus of senior citizens singing rock and roll and punk, like the Clash, the Ramones, etc. They’ve performed all over, even at a jail in LA where inmates loved the performance and were genuinely inspired. Can’t wait to see it.


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