[IMDB Link] Tapeheads was reminiscent of UHF, starring Weird Al Yankovic. In fact, Weird Al even makes a cameo — just long enough to knock over and flick off one of the main characters. This was a decent comedic story about the rise of a video director, and a policitian trying not to be embarassed. It’s a pretty solid 6/10 movie: Enjoyable, but not special. I’d definitely recommend it for people who have nothing better to watch on the table.

CAST: I think it’s really, really hard to go wrong with either John Cusack or Tim Robbins, and they were the primary reasons for watching this movie. That, and the fact that it is a comedy, and that it is about video. As mentioned above, the story is reminiscent of UHF. In UHF, Weird Al gets a TV Station to do whatever he wants with, after nobody wants it. In Tapeheads, a director (Tim Robbins) rises to fame with the help of his best friend and advocate (John Cusack, with a moustache and a thin cigar), via a slightly different process: Making videos. But the fact that both movies are about weird losers who rise to fame via unforseen success related to producing video inexorably ties these 2 movies together.

I think the Weird Al Yankovic cameo is quite ironic — at first I thought it was the director giving a coded nod to the audience: “Yes,we know the 2 movies are similar. With this cameo, we acknowledge that.” But then I looked it up on IMDB, and UHF came out a year after Tapeheads. So who knows. I may be looking for meaning where there is none.

Also: Look for Jello Biafra (of Dead Kennedys fame) as the guy who says “Remember what they did to Jello Biafra?”, and Xander Berkeley (aka George Mason on 24, and also a Gargoyles voice), who I actually didn’t notice in the movie. I assume Xander was playing a small part.

BAD STUFF: The ending. The ending was a God-awful song that went on forever. I actually stopped paying attention and wasn’t looking at the screen when the movie ended. It just fell apart. Although the central plot involving the president was concluded, it still felt like the movie didn’t really end. If one were to focus only on the last 5 minutes, it might ruin the whole movie. So we try not to think about the end. :)

VIDEO VS FILM RANT: I have to say that I am actually more enamored with the connotations that come to mind with the word “video”, than those that come to mind with the word “film”. Doubtless this is sacriledge to many, but I am, as a general rule, pretty strictly into modern things, and this is no exception. Film to me represents a physical, analog medium. One which was used more in black and white than in color, and one which costs money. You have to buy the film, and it isn’t cheap. The practical limitations as such causes film to represent a sort of “top-down authority” in my mind, where you truly have to have studio backing to create.

Now take “video”. Video, to me, represents the opposite of film — instead of a “top-down authority”, you have a “grassroots bottom-up”-centric environment. Anybody can make as much video as they want. It’s not quite 100% digital, but even analog video let you re-tape over the same tape again, much unlike film. Thus, I see video as being superior to film, in an almost political way, as well as being far more convenient practically. And film will die. Digital technology will reach the limits of human perception, and then surpass it. Why stop at visible wavelengths? What if we want other species who see different wavelengths to be able to decode and view our media accurately? What if future humans increase their powers of perception via technology augmentation (which is already happening today with blind people)? In the end, film will represent a nice nostalgic idea that is nonetheless archaic, as well as the imagintive tricks people had to use to work around its limitations (chocolate syrup as blood, for example). It reminds me of interesting games that came out for the Atari 2600 — technical limitations cause people to use their imagination in interesting ways. But in the long run, having to waste your imagination on technicalities seems to be a waste of resource to me.

Thus, the movie represented “video” as a concept to me, and I really liked that idea. It took place in the mid-90s mid-80s, when video was really starting to take off, and people finally started having camcorders. These guys were just average joes who bubbled their way to the top without any sort of top-down orders, and I liked that aspect of the movie greatly.

COINCIDENCES: After just having watched National Lampoon’s Senior Trip, we ended up with 2 movies in a row with parties where they shouldn’t be the principal’s house/bus/senator’s hotel room in Senior Trip, and a secured place of employment in Tapeheads. Both movies also feature a plot involving the embarassment of a policitian. Also, Tapeheads and UHF both share the plot similarity already pointed out above.

IN SUMMARY: Again, see it if you like the cast, like camcorders, or just need a night of moderately good entertainment. :)

Mood: ready for the Sabbat show Saturday
Music: Sabbat – Blood For The Blood God