I don’t care what the critics said this time, I liked Be Kind Rewind.
Gondry presents Passaic as a sweet fantasy of an integrated, urban, local community whose bond—movies—is a shared national culture. In a twist on common wisdom, the homogeneity of culture on a massive scale permits the happy coexistence of strangers from diverse backgrounds and age groups on the neighborhood level. And that in an age after neighborhood has ceased to imply any common background: Customers stay loyal to failed businesses, neighbors volunteer on kooky projects, obsolescence is venerated.
It doesn’t really matter if that tight-knit community exists or not (I mean, it matters, just not so much for this): Michel Gondry’s vision, this utopian dream of coexistence, is specifically and uniquely American.