Tag Archives: DVD

BE KIND REWIND: A History of Sweded Film

Be Kind Rewind (2008) was written and directed by French filmmaker Michel Gondry. It’s a movie about the dawn of the DVD and a VHS video rental employee’s attempt to thwart off the digital competition by creating his own versions of popular movies. This practice is known as “Sweding.”

It was panned by critics.

“It’s the kind of amusing film you can wait to see on DVD,” said Roger Ebert in a 2008 review.

Be Kind Rewind currently sports a 65% fresh rating on rotten tomatoes and 6.4 on IMDB.

A colossal box office flop. The film only reeled in four million opening weekend.

Dave Chappelle was supposed to play the main character, who is instead played by Mos Def.

Chappelle’s Block Party documentary in 2005, apparently inspired the film’s urban setting, though the idea was one Gondry had envisioned for years prior.

In an interview with avclub.com in 2008, Gondry said: “Chappelle was intrigued, interested in this project for a while, and he mentioned a couple of films that we did remake: Driving Miss DaisyRush Hour 2, that was his idea… Boyz N The Hood as well.”

Enlisting Dave Chappelle would have made a difference at the box office. Nevertheless, the legacy of Sweding has lived on.

Four years after the film was released, people are still cranking out Sweded films. Including this Casino Royale Gem.

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Filed under 3 Tinseltown Tuesday, The Big Screen

Writing secret: Light as air, strong as whiskey, cheap as dirt

Those nine words are magic.

And those words help sell 5.842 gazillion miles of barbed wire back in the late 1800s, when the West was still wild and there weren’t handy trees or stones to make fences.

Light as air, strong as whiskey, cheap as dirt – I’ll remember that for days. Forever, maybe.

It’s honed down to perfection. Nine words, and not a one is wasted.

barbed wire

A little strand of steel with a twist and BOOM, you are golden.

In the five seconds it takes to hear those words, or read them, you’re sold.

Writers struggle with those first five seconds.

  • What’s the best way for a reporter to convince the city editor put a story on A1 instead of buried next to the obituaries on B15?
  • How can you sum up a 100,000 novel in a single page – or a single sentence?
  • When a magazine editor is buried with pitches, how does yours stand out from the slush pile?
  • What should a screenwriter say about his script while riding in an elevator for 30 seconds with Steven Spielberg?

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Filed under 4 Writing Secrets Wednesday