Making the Grades
My son and his amateur filmmaker friend have eagerly awaited the release of this movie since seeing the trailer. But sometimes the promotions department splices together the very best scenes from a script, leaving much untold. Although all of Be Kind Rewind's laughs aren't given away, these boys, like other audience members, may find the trailer is definitely different than what they get in the theater.
In the story, Jack Black and Mos Def play two less-than-average neighborhood guys who eke out a life in a graffiti-riddled New Jersey borough. Jerry (Black) lives in a rundown motor home next to his mechanic shop. His close proximity to a power substation filled with high voltage wires causes him plenty of paranoia and leaves him wearing a metal colander to protect his head.
His buddy, Mike (Def), works down the street as a clerk in a video store. He's been left to tend the shop after the owner, Mr. Fletcher (Danny Glover), receives notice that the flailing rental business is about to be displaced in order to make way for a new block of high-end condos. Eager to prove he is capable of the responsibility, Mike makes every effort to keep the handful of customers happy. However, when Jerry (who's been electrocuted during an attempted sabotage of the station) demagnetizes all the tapes, the two men have to film their own versions of the most popular titles to appease the clients.
Their creative use of common household objects and their unconventional methods of recreating big budget special effects will likely inspire eager, aspiring moviemakers, but the parody portion of the film is relatively short. Rather these men, like the other members of their community, face relocation when the encroaching developers move in to spiff up the district.
The depiction of Jerry's shocking attempt to shut down the power plant and the aftereffects (magnetized urine, vomiting in the street and the attraction of metal objects) along with some infrequent, crude sexual discussions, scatological humor and profanities comprise most of the film's content concerns for younger viewers. An attempt to steal store merchandise and an unintended overdose of aspirin are other serious subjects played for comedy.
Yet what the trailer doesn't show is the community spirit that develops among this oddball assortment of citizens who call this street home. Gang members, a forgetful mom and bickering old men all find something in common when they dig into the area's historical past. While the theme might be more sentimental than most viewers expect, Be Kind Rewind offers a surprising dose of homemade kindness.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Be Kind Rewind.
How does Mike and Jerry’s filmmaking project bring the people together on their street? What effect can the arts have on a community? What projects might unite your neighborhood or city?
Is it important to preserve historical aspects of a community? How does that impact growth and progress? Who were these developers interested in helping?
What story could you find to tell in your town or on your street?