Forget about nostalgia for 35mm – let’s talk about nostalgia for VHS! Josh Johnson’s new documentary, Rewind This!, revels in it. But nostalgia is just the tip of the iceberg: the advent of the VHS tape represents not only the great democratization of home viewing but also an era where the market was flooded with some of the weirdest movies ever made. And where do those weird movies exist today? Only on VHS.
We all remember the Jane Fonda workout videos, but Rewind This! does us a favor in pointing to others in the more-bizarre-than-you-might-think genre of instructional videos. How about a Windows 95 video guide hosted by Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry? Or a Bubba Smith workout video titled Bubba Until It Hurts? Or, one that I personally remember and wish I had on my shelf, Leslie Neilsen’s hilarious golfing video? Only on VHS. And, well, yeah: YouTube. But that’s kind of the point. VHS created a culture that demanded accessibility, only heightened by the possibilities of the internet.
Populated by collectors, programmers, critics, filmmakers, video store owners, industry insiders, and cover artists, Rewind This! is more than just romanticizing bad films, it examines how VHS changed the way we watch and appreciate movies. Check out reviews of Rewind This! on The Dissolve and Tiny Mix Tapes.