Documentaries: Rewind This

Rewind This chronicles the interests and resurgence in the VHS market.

I have a confession to make. When DVD first came out, I was so excited about the jump in picture quality that I donated my huge VHS collection to Goodwill. I scoffed at people who held on to their tapes and took smug satisfaction at being at the forefront of technology. This was when I was in my early twenties and I was still dipping my toes into the film watching world. As I got older, I realized that some movies I loved didn't make the transfer from VHS to DVD. That in my haste, I had gotten rid of some rare gems and had no way of getting them back.

I'm older and wiser now and I held on to my DVDs even after I started collecting blu rays. The cycle has begun anew and not all DVD movies are being released on Blu-Ray.Sometimes it's not just about picture quality, it's about being able to physically own the film.

Rewind This is a love letter about the hey-day of VHS and an entertaining documentary about the people who still collect tapes to this day. It extensively covers the invention of the VHS tape player and its eventual proliferation into practically every household in America. The nostalgia factor is very high and this movie will appeal more to people in their late twenties and older but I'm sure younger people will enjoy a glimpse into the past. I felt a kinship with the tape collectors that they interviewed, sitting in front of their massive collections with their dark rimmed glasses and their Mondo movie posters. We are all so alike in our love of film and in the preservation of art.

Many prominent directors and film bloggers were interviewed for this film and it's fun to see the older people reminisce about the rise of VHS. The core theme of the documentary is how VHS gave power to the people. We could finally control when and where we watched movies without the studios interfering. Independent film makers flourished because they could release direct-to-video movies without going through the major studios. VHS and home movies were a game changer.  There is also some speculation on the future of home video and how Netflix and movie streaming are changing the face of what it means to "own" a film. It's interesting food for thought to be sure. I cannot recommend this documentary enough and any movie aficionado should definitely give it a look.

- Review by Michelle Kisner