Mos Def is Bill Murray. Jack Black is everyone else.

I’ve been trying to see Be Kind Rewind for a few weeks now. I fell in love with Gondry’s style soon as I saw Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I regret to say I haven’t seen The Science of Sleep yet. With our plans wiped out for the night, my husband and I decided to go to the movies.

I wasn’t going in expecting “Jack Black does funny stuff with films!” I was expecting something a little different. I knew as soon as the movie began that the style would be something like a school play. Plenty of flubs and incongruences that come together to form something wholly endearing. That’s exactly what I got.

Maybe most of the plot was centered around the silly cliché of saving the neighbor store. I can forgive this because it doesn’t happen. Everyone gives what they can and there’s still not enough. It’s a brilliant juxtaposition of innocence, hope, and the crushing realities of life. The final scene may look like it’s right out of an after-school special, but I got the feeling that the bystanders would all shuffle away and the demolition of the building would start.

The obsession of the children in the film with violence and the sudden crude outbursts by the lovable and paranoid Jack Black character are just a couple of examples of the rawness of the film. There are beautiful moments, ridiculous moments (magnetic urine, over-the-top electrocution), sad moments, and superfluous little snatches of time. It was so honest. It felt like living for a few weeks in a few hours. Everything comes at the viewer, good and bad, with little time for them to sort it out or become complacent. It’s not something every movie can do, but this one does it very well.

More than the absolutely brilliant effects and the style, I was most impressed with the dialogue. I saw a lot of criticism of it on the Internet. I know that it isn’t for everyone, but as a writer I was enamored by it. Every line was real. Some exchanges made little sense and others completely abandoned the plot. I felt like a voyeur, but it fit so perfectly with the homespun style of the movie.

I wished I had the courage to write dialogue that’s a complete non sequitur but adds believability. I want to be able to achieve that candor. It has to be unintentional. When you worry over something, edit, and reedit, it’s hard to make it anything but intentional.


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