March 1, 2008

"Be Kind Rewind"

An excerpt from my review of "Be Kind Rewind" in the new American Conservative:

A new satirical website called Stuff White People Like has earned three million visits in the last ten days by offering dead-on deadpan analyses of status symbols among the under-40 upper middle class. Listed along with such de rigueur affectations of the more-sensitive-than-thou set as "Apple Products," "Threatening to Move to Canada," and "Barack Obama," is "Michel Gondry," the French director of Bjork's music videos and "such white classics as 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.'"

Christian Lander, who masterminds the site, helpfully advises:

"[Mentioning Gondry] can be used to help find common ground with white people. Talk about how you wanted to direct music videos after you saw Michel Gondry’s video for “Around the World” by Daft Punk. Then make a joke about how foolish you were at that age and everyone will have a good laugh. But they will also feel your pain about sacrificing your artistic dreams."

Like much of the stuff white people like, there is something to be said for the ingenious and ingenuous Gondry, whose video autobiography is aptly entitled "I've Been 12 Forever." His twee trademarks are childlike sets and props that he might have made out of cardboard and other junk he found in his dad's garage. Indeed, I found Gondry's surrealist comedy "The Science of Sleep," with Gael GarcĂ­a Bernal as a boyish graphics designer who can't tell his waking and dreaming lives apart, the most delightful movie of 2006.

Yet, while Apple can charge $800 extra for a laptop, movie tickets all cost about the same, so having a small upscale fan base doesn't do much financially for Gondry. To escape the status-striver's ghetto and connect with the American mass market, Gondry is recycling the do-it-yourself aesthetic of "Science" in "Be Kind Rewind." It stars part-time heavy metal singer Jack Black and part-time rapper Mos Def. Unfortunately, although not surprisingly, American lunkheadedness and French condescension make an ineffectual combination.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


Anonymous said...

You are slowly taking the fun out of stuffwhitepeoplelike.

Steve Sailer said...

Well, I put a lot of the fun into Stuff White People Like in the first place.

m said...

Steve- don't answer these anon posts- they are beneath you. I will handle them from here on out.

Anonymous said...

I should also mention that Gondry's biggest hit was Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which was largely popular with elites because of its cast and, most importantly, the fact that it was written by the quirky Phillip K Dick like Charlie Kauffman. Gondry was absolutely replaceable as the film the could have just as easily been made by Spike Jonze (who directed Kaufmann's other two hits--Adaptation and Being John Malkovitch. I wonder why he didn't helm Eternal Sunshine.) In short, it's cute when Stuff White People Like suggests Gondry has a following among white elites--it's comedy. But it's not quite true enough to merit a mention in your review.

Frauenhoffer said...

There is a delicious schadenfreude to the left being bitten by their own identity politics,isn't there?

"Threatening to Move to Canada,"

I have,or rather had,an acquaintance who made that threat,after W was reelected,I asked how soon she expected to make the move.

Her responce,more or less, was "are you crazy,it's a deep freeze 10 months of the year,the taxes are outrageous and the health care just plain sucks!"

I suggested she and her fellows should try Cuba or Venezuela,or best of all,Zimbabwe or S. Africa,all socialist progressive paradises.

Thus the past tense "had".

Anonymous said...

Funny thing, two characters in Robert Ferrigno's L.A. crime novel Flinch, video store clerks, talked up a movie idea called Please Rewind. I wonder if this script has been floating around since then.

Anonymous said...

I thought "Eternal Sunshine..." was actually based on a sci-fi short story called In Medici's Gardens. It's in one of my sci-fi anthologies and I don't remember the author but it wasn't PKD.

On a related note, I always thought Lucas's brilliant "THX 1138" was inspired by the Scandinavian sci-fi short story Codemus.

Thoughts, fellow nerds?

Cal Ulmann said...

Mos Def should stick to rapping.