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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Ghost Buster

Be Kind, Rewind: Celebrating Movies With Heart And Soul


courtesy of New Line Cinema

Greetings and salutations* film lovers from Loco Video Gods, the last 24-hour, non-porn, VHS/BETA-only video store on the West Coast. Craftily hidden among the massage parlors, methadone clinics and beautiful losers in the SF Tenderloin, Loco Video, according to Sony Home Video Entertainment, houses the last remaining Betamax copy of the 1984 classic Ghost Busters on planet earth. I’m sure all you SF Scenesters are already thinking about your next shoe purchase, but not so fast my babies.* 

For once MRF’s not “midnight ridin’” on his own narcissistic cause celebre. I still love-me-some-me but tonight’s for dear old Aunt Edna who’s nobly fading away in the Outer Sunset on her feather deathbed. Her translator sent me a poignant text saying her dying wish was to watch the movie Ghost Busters one last time on her old school Beta Video Player with her steadfast decrepit pooch, Cow Lick, and a brown bag of liquorices and penny whistles. Sticking with Texas etiquette, to never deny an old broad quality entertainment, I’m on a mission from God* (in my Cousin Dwight’s ride) to find a Betamax needle in the proverbial haystack.

Be Kind, Rewind

courtesy of New Line Cinema

While the video tranny on duty searches for beta gold, it occurs to me I haven’t given you this week’s tip for cinematic salvation. With paltry pickings in local theaters, your film filter thinks it’s time you checked out 20 Swedish remakes of some of the best (and worst) movies of all time. I’m not talking about a Bergman film fest or a trip to your video store. Instead, why not duck in for a show of Michel Gondry’s latest comedic chiaroscuro Be Kind, Rewind? If your frown ain’t turned upside down by the time the curtains go up on this flick then you should jump off the GG Bridge immediately because you’re dead inside.

Loaded with Gondry’s trademark camera angles and artistic whimsy, Rewind centers around a struggling (VHS only) video store where laid back video clerk Mos Def is cruising along running the shop for his vacationing boss. When Mos’ buddy (Jack Black) gets himself magnetized and accidentally erases the store’s inventory; the video nerds must find a way to restock the shelves to keep the shop from going under. 

The plot goes cuckoo when crazy (Mia Farrow) shows up to check on the store for her vacationing friend. An aged film geek herself, she wants to rent Ghost Busters. The nerd’s stall, claiming it’s on back order from Sweden, it will be in stock tomorrow. Once the old coot buys it, our dimwitted heroes are challenged with shooting a remake of Ghost Busters (in one night) that will fool crazy Mia into thinking it’s the real thing. Using props, aluminum costumes and dime-store theatrics, our two-bit Ghost Busters catch lightning in a homemade ecto-containment system. Their movie remarkably becomes a neighborhood hit; more “swede” movies must be made.

Gondry To Ratner: Suck My Wake

courtesy of New Line Cinema

And so it goes, Rewind hits its ridiculous stride spoofing movies from 2001: A Space Odyssey, Robocop and The Lion King, to Driving Miss Daisy, Boyz N The Hood and Rush Hour 2. After watching the swede version of Rush Hour 2, an employee remarks it’s “way better than the original.” You bet your boots* it is (are you listening Brett Ratner?), but take heed cineastes, Rewind is not on par with Gondry’s greatest Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind because the writer/director was forced to add a shark jumping sappy third act re: saving the store that doesn’t work with the rest of the picture. 

Poppa says demagnetize the third act and focus on the laughs. Way more accessible than any of his earlier pictures, Sunshine or The Science of Sleep, Rewind is a mainstream guerrilla filmmaking experience. Full of silliness, the whole carnival ride seems to have come from the mind of a fourth grade narcoleptic art student on nitrous oxide who gets his audience. That’s a high compliment coming from yours truly. 

Crack Whores Love Segway Scooters

courtesy of New Line Cinema

As for MRF, Chico finally exhumed the last Betamax copy of Ghost Busters, hell yeah. But, I seem to have misplaced cousin Dwight’s prize Segway Scooter. Shit balls, I parked Rolling Thunder outside next to a pigeon-toed lady of the night named Lil’ Spicy but I don’t see hide-nor-weave of that girl. A few of the semi-coherent eyewitnesses mingling about report Lil’ hotwired Thunder a half hour ago and scooted into the Tenderloin miasma with a case of Mickey’s Big Mouth under one arm and a pint sized street performer named Scooter under the other. 

Nice imagery, but oh despair ladies and germs, I’ve got some splaining to do …* While I hail a cab back to the vigil, go ahead and laugh it up fuzzballs ...* Your vengeful maker will surely smite thee in the next life. Till next week, this is MRF signing off, be bad and get into trouble baby …*

Happenings Round Town
•    Blade Runner: The Final Cut (1982) Dir. Scott – Castro (to 2/21)
•    There Will Be Blood (2007) Dir. PT Anderson – Bridge
•    The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007) Dir. Schnabel – Embarcadero
•    Michael Clayton (2007) Dir. Gilroy – Opera Plaza

Volume 52 Footnotes
•    “Greetings and salutations.”Heathers (1991): Christian Slater doing his best Nicholson impersonation to a monacle-lovin’ Winona Ryder. 
•    “Settle down my babies.” – Late Night With Conan O’Brien (1993 to present) – The King of the Comic Absurd warms up inhabitants of the Cone Zone.
•    “We’re on a mission from God.”The Blues Brothers (1980): Inspired by the Penguin, Jake and Elwood vow to get the band back together.
•    “You bet your boots it does.”Young Frankenstein (1974): Suppressed glamour puss Maddy Kahn gives Wilder the prick tease in b/w.
•    “Lucy, you’ve got some splaining to do.”I Love Lucy (1951): Desi drops his trademark Cuban lisp tongue lashing on his favorite crazed redhead.
•    “Laugh it up fuzzball.”The Empire Strikes Back (1980): Spurned Leia lover, Han Solo lashes out to his furry sidekick Chewbacca.
•    “Let’s get into trouble baby.”Tapeheads (1988): Soul Train host Don Cornelius (as Hollywood Producer Mo Fuzz) breaks it down to upstart filmmakers Tim Robbins and John Cusack.