Two bumbling store clerks inadvertently erase the footage from all of the tapes in their video rental store. In order to keep the business running, they re-shoot every film in the store with their own camera, with a budget of zero dollars.
In Passaic, NJ, Elroy Fletcher runs a video store in a condemned building he claims was the birthplace of Fats Waller. Fletcher goes on a Waller centennial trip, leaving his foster son Mike in charge of the store. Mike's peculiar friend Jerry tries to sabotage a power station and nearly electrocutes himself, getting magnetized in the process. He inadvertently erases every tape in the store. Mike and Jerry hatch an plan to hide the disaster by making a homemade "Ghostbusters" to rent to a woman whom Fletcher will be phoning to check on them. Soon, with help, their homemade versions of films develop a cult following. Will this new business save the store and the building? What about Fats? Written by
When Alma puts the movie selections of several store patrons into a black trash bag and picks two at random (settling a dispute about which titles to "swede"), Jerry says "Without civilization, life is nasty, brutal... and short!" This is an almost verbatim quote from Thomas Hobbes' 'Leviathan,' one of the most important works in political philosophy. See more »
When Mr Fletcher sets off on his trip, the train leaves going back the way it came, even though Passaic does not appear to be a terminal. See more »
I missed this film at Sundance, caught it as soon as possible, and I wasn't disappointed. Despite being privy to the exhaustive fine-tuning of an indie film with an improvised feel, watching "Be Kind" I could absolutely believe it came together as quickly and spontaneously as the snippets of "sweded" films. This was part of its charm and I think Gondry's intention.
All the actors were engaging, and genuine heartfelt emotion - most definitely by the surprising, naturally pitch-perfect Mos Def - transcended the dialog, plot points and general wackiness.
The Fats Waller thread was just random enough and very skillfully and satisfyingly woven into the story from beginning to end. This and many other details - including touches like lovely Mia Farrow's curiosity about supernatural films and Sigourney Weaver's brief take-charge turn
convinced me that Gondry put quite a bit of thought and skill into
perfecting the film's endearing awkwardness. It might not be to everybody's taste, but I think it was a great idea, executed and seasoned just right.
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