Directed by: Josh Johnson
As an avid VHS enthusiast/collector myself having gotten back into the game a few years ago, this, along with Adjust Your Tracking, have been 2 documentaries that I've been dying to see because they both deal with the recent VHS boom. I have yet to get a hold of Adjust Your Tracking, but happened on this on streaming on Hulu Plus.
I have to admit, this one did not have a great start. In fact, the first 5 minutes were so dull that before the opening credits started to roll, I actually started to wonder what I got myself into, or if I'd even be able to continue on. Basically it's a guy scouring a local flea market for some VHS tapes as he's talking to the camera about what he looks for and what he ends up finding almost every time. You kind of hope that this tedious and uninspired segment leads to him finding that rare "find" out in the wild. But that is not to be. Instead what this guy is doing is giving you an idea of how boring and uneventful VHS hunting can be because for every Deadly Prey or Black Devil Doll From Hell you "might" stumble upon at a garage sale, flea market or swap meet, you will always come across about a thousand Titanic or Jerry Maguire's.
Thankfully, and rather impressively after a killer opening credits sequence, Rewind This! changes course 180 degrees and what we are treated to is 94 minutes of VHS love. Full of insightful information regarding the VHS boom of the 80's, even going into the machines that played them and their role in the VHS vs. Betamax war and even giving us the complete history of how home video even came to be and where it started, Rewind This! is a filmgeek's dream. Rarely does a documentary ever turn out this good, but this one does in spades. Oh, and what documentary about the home video revolution would be complete without delving into the start of the porn industry and their role in the format? Oh yea, they go there too.
As engrossing and entertaining as the entire thing is, there are a few notable standout interviews; chief among them, Frank Henenlotter (Brain Damage, Frankenhooker, Basket Case) and another guy named David Nelson, who calls himself The Rock and apparently has no idea of how to make a film, yet has miraculously made hundreds of them by splicing together scenes he films randomly until they make sense. And he sells them door to door. Henenlotter, on the other hand, seems like a really fun guy who just doesn't give a shit about what anybody thinks, but this guy The Rock seriously needs to consider doing motivational speaking because he was just great at it during this one moment when he's basically screaming at you to follow your dreams and not listen to what anyone else has to say about it. You want to do it? Then go out and fuckin' do it and stop crying about it!
Rewind This! has everything a video nerd and filmgeek could want. Remarkably engrossing from start to finish it will surely make you want to dig through your old box of VHS tapes you have stored away in the attic to see if you have any lost gems hidden in there. Director Josh Johnson has crafted a loving homage and nostalgic trip down memory lane for those of us old enough to have been alive and collecting during the height of it's success. Rewind This! acts as a quirky time capsule to a different time, and it's surprising and quickly expanding resurgence.