Be Kind Rewind is a 2008 comedy directed by Michel Gondry and starring Jack Black and Mos Def. Mos Def's character, Mike, helps run a video store that stubbornly offers VHS tape rentals regardless of the rise of DVDs. Mike's peculiar friend Jerry (Jack Black) tries to sabotage a power station and nearly electrocutes himself, becoming magnetized in the process. He then walks into the video store, erasing all of the VHS tapes. Angry customers begin to come in complaining, and Mike is at a loss as to how to replace the store's stock on a limited budget. The store has already received threats of foreclosure, which the owner has tried to prevent by getting the building registered as a historical landmark as the birthplace of jazz singer Fats Waller.
The idea soon occurs that Mike and Jerry will reshoot the films themselves, using whatever they have available. They start with ambitious projects such as Ghostbusters (1984) and RoboCop (1987), creating a crazy home video feel they call being "sweded". The store gathers popularity around the neighborhood, so much so that the FBI anti-piracy warning at the start of the tapes becomes a reality.
This film provides examples of:
- Actually Pretty Funny: The reason why the swedes become a hit. The respectable effort and hilarious Stylistic Suck resonated with customers, leading to demand for more.
- Bittersweet Ending: In the final scene of the film, Jerry, Mike, and Mr Fletcher convince the neighborhood to help produce a tribute film to Fats Waller's Life. After the film airs to a small minority, the trio exits the store moments later to the sound of applause, and discover that most of the townsfolk were in the street watching the film through an outside projector. Everyone cheers for them, including the demolition team and the police (who were meant to tear down the establishment for legal reasons).
- Broken Aesop: If what really happened doesn't suit you, write your own history.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: When Jerry is magnetized, one of the films glitched by him moving around is the film itself, as the picture glitches every time he passes too close to the actual location of the camera.
- Chekhov's Gunman: The supposed patron who came in all the way from New York? He's actually a federal agent who later shows up to confiscate the store's collection of swedes.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Jerry
- Generic Graffiti: Averted. Mike and Jerry are working on a mural of Fats Waller at the beginning of the film.
- Irony: Even though the premise of this film is about a video store that only rents VHS and refuses to carry DVDs, this movie did not get a VHS release.
- Lightning Can Do Anything
- Logo Joke: For European prints, the Pathe logo was sweded. (Sadly, the US version just has the plain old New Line Cinema logo.)
- No Budget: The in-universe sweded films are made on a dime budget with rudimentary props and the same set of actors.
- Ominous Visual Glitch: After Jerry gets magnetized, the images warps momentarily as if the camera itself was being affected by Jerry.
- Never Trust a Trailer: First, watch the trailer. Then watch the movie and realize that the trailer cut out an ENTIRE MAJOR SUBPLOT.
- Reality Ensues: Shockingly. The movie actually points out that piracy is illegal and the place gets shut down. Ouch.
- Real Men Wear Pink: When a group of hoodlums request a few "Sweded" films and The Lion King pops up, everyone immediately stares down the Scary Black Man.
- It was Alma.
- Shout-Out: Tons upon tons.
- So Bad, It's Good: the sweeded films are this in-universe.
- Stylistic Suck: The Sweded movies, duh.
- Wraparound Background: Used to film the sweded Men in Black tunnel scene.