Australian Council on Children and the Media

Be Kind Rewind

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Short takes

Not recommended under 12, PG to 14 (Sexual references, Coarse language)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Be Kind Rewind
  • a review of Be Kind Rewind completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 20 March 2008.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 12 Not recommended due to sexual references and coarse language
Children 12-13 Parental guidance recommended due to sexual references and coarse language
Children 14 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Be Kind Rewind
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild coarse language and sexual references
Length 100 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Mike (Mos Def) is the sole employee of the Be Kind Rewind video hire shop, owned by Mr. Fletcher (Danny Glover) who refuses to bow down to changing times and change his stock from VHS to DVD format. He has a few loyal customers like Mrs. Falewicz (Mia Farrow). The shop has been condemned and is due to be demolished in six weeks unless Mr. Fletcher can come up with $60,000 for repairs.

Mike’s best friend is Jerry (Jack Black), who is somewhat accident-prone and lives in a caravan next to an electricity power plant. Jerry is continuously concerned that the Government is using the power station to send out brain controlling microwaves.

While Mr. Fletcher is away Mike is placed in charge of the shop. Jerry decides it is time to sabotage the power plant, but things do not go as planned and he becomes magnetised as a result of being electrocuted. The next day when Jerry walks into Mr. Fletcher’s shop, he inadvertently erases all of the videotapes in the store.

When Mrs Falewicz wants to hire the now unavailable video of Ghost Busters, Mike and Jerry decide to remake the film themselves and entice Alma (Melonie Diaz) a girl from the local dry cleaners’ shop to act as their co-star. Their version is such a hit in the neighbourhood that they set out to make more films and more money for the shop, until they are stopped by copyright lawyer Ms. Lawson (Sigourney Weaver).

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

None of concern

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

Be Kind Rewind contains occasional comedy violence and accidental harm. Mike and Jerry’s films also contain some recreated film violence but this is very obviously staged and comic when compared to the original film versions. Examples of violence include:

  • On a couple of occasions, Jerry headbutts metal poles.
  • When attempting to sabotage the power plant, Jerry is electrocuted with his body convulsing as it is suspended above the ground by bolts of electricity. Later Jerry complains of a bad headache and on two occasions he vomits on the ground (we see images of Jerry bending over from behind and hear him making retching noises and the sound of vomit splattering onto the ground). Jerry is also depicted urinating in the street, we see Jerry from the waist up standing between two cars with a stream of metallic looking urine running down the gutter; the urine attracts all manner of metallic debris as it runs down the gutter.
  • Jerry’s magnetised body is attracted to a metal fence and light poles, causing his body to slam into them.
  • Mike and Jerry have a push and shove match in the video shop involving mild wrestling and a couple of mild punches to the arm
  • On a couple of occasions, Mike hits Jerry over the head with a metal frying pan with Jerry appearing to suffer no ill effects as a result
  • Mike squirts Jerry with a fire extinguisher
  • Four rough looking gang members enter the Be Kind Rewind video shop. When one of the gang members is denied membership by a female shop assistant, he tells the shop attendant that she is “…real lucky we don’t beat up girls.”
  • Mr. Fletcher twists a gang member’s arm behind his back when the gang member begins to complain loudly in his shop; the gang member immediately apologises
  • In a recreated scene of on-screen violence a pizza is placed underneath a dead body’s head to represent blood and gore. In other recreated scenes, a car muffler is used as a machine gun with firecrackers representing gunfire and a bucket of tomato sauce (representing blood) is tipped over a woman’s head
  • Mike and Jerry use a brick to smash several glass doors in an attempt to break into a video store and steal an overhead projector. The shopkeeper confronts the pair with a large carving knife, but when he discovers Mike and Jerry he lowers the knife, and tells the pair that he doesn’t want to hurt them.

 

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

Children in this age group are likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes of violence and accidental harm, but there are no additional scary scenes

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes of violence and accidental harm, but there are no additional scary scenes

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Younger children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes of violence and accidental harm.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

Nothing of concern

Sexual references

Be Kind Rewind contains a number of sexual references. Examples include:

  • Mr. Fletcher, Mike and Jerry have a discussion about sexual experiences. In the discussion Mr. Fletcher tells Jerry that he can’t imagine too much action (sex) coming out of Jerry’s trailer. Mr. Fletcher tells Mike and Jerry that when he had sex his “…balls slapped so hard he had to scrap them off the ground, and beg them to follow me home.”
  • In one scene the question is asked, “are you masturbating?” 
  • In one scene Jerry is asked to kiss Wilson, Jerry’s mechanic, who is acting in one of Mike and Jerry’s films. But Jerry states that “kissing my mechanic is disturbing.” Jerry also makes reference to homosexual relations with his mechanic and comments about his mechanic suing him for sexual harassment.
  • While trying to steal a projector from a DVD hire shop, Mike and Jerry discover that the owner is sleeping in the hard-core porn section.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some partial nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • In one scene Jerry’s mechanic Wilson is dressed in drag. In another scene, Jerry dresses as a women, wearing a dress with a split up the side to reveal his white boxer shorts.
  • Alma wears low cut tops
  • During the filming of “Boogie Night”, Jerry an Alma are depicted re-enacting a sex scene, this involves the pair kneeling fully clothed under a blanket with the pair rubbing their hands over each other and the film in fast forward. We can hear Jerry say “Hug, hug, kiss, kiss, I want to have sex with you, kiss, kiss.”
  • In one scene, Alma accuses Mike of not wanting to kiss her; she believes that Mike is telling people that she has a moustache.  Mike denies the allegation and says hell prove it by doing a touch test. Mike tentatively rubs his lips over Alma’s upper and lower lips at which point Alma pulls back accusing Mike of trying to kiss her, which Mike denies.

Use of substances

There is occasional low level substances use in this movie, including:

  • Several men sit around drinking bottled beer (no intoxicated behaviour).
  • Another scene depicts Mike, Jerry and Alma in a similar situation.  
  • In one scene a doctor gives Jerry a bottle of aspirin. Later, Jerry consumes the entire bottle and then becomes worried that he might die of an overdose. He is given a bucket of warm, salty water to drink and he rushes outside and we hear vomiting sounds.   
  • One scene contains a voice-over describing Fats Waller as liking to travel via trains rather than flying because in a train you could get drunk.
  • Three women drink vodka (no one appeared intoxicated) 
  • Brief image depicting Fats Waller smoking a cigar.

Coarse language

Be Kind Rewind contains some coarse language and put downs, including:

  • balls
  • bitch
  • honest to god
  • bad arse
  • I’m gunna piss on the graves of your ancestors
  • this sucks
  • Punk kid
  • Jesus
  • damn

In a nutshell

Be Kind Rewind targeted at adolescents and adult viewers is an uplifting and good-natured comedy with lots of genuine laughs.

The main messages from this movie are:

  • the importance of people discovering a passion for life by following their true calling
  • that “the little guy” (independent artists) can be successful by persevering in the face of adversity against “the big guys” (movie industry).
  • the importance of perseverance, hard work and commitment

 This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • the criminal activity engaged in by Mike and Jerry when they attempt to steal an overhead projector from a DVD hire shop
  • a healthy neighbourhood community spirit and its impact on people living within the community.

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