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Remote Control

Director: Jeff Lieberman

It's 1988 and you are the kid walking to the video store a few times a week to scour the shelves for the best video box art to take home with you and gamble another few bucks on what may be the best film ever made.

Those days are gone forever so it would seem. But maybe not?
"Remote Control" by cultish filmmaker Jeff Lieberman (Blue Sunshine) appears on the shelf one day back in 1988, and immediately you think "this could be it".

Well, it's not. And now that those days are seemingly over, only the memories remain.

What films were on heavy rotation back then? What kind of promotional cardboard stand ups were being given to the local mom and pop shops?

Remote Control, a sci fi film about videotapes from outer space brainwashing everyday renters like yourself, answers that question in spades.

Here's a movie that brings you right back to the scene. 60% of this film takes place inside of a video store and there certainly doesn't seem to be any copyright issues with displaying (blatantly) the titles that had been accrued on home video up until that point.

What about the movie itself, any good?

Yeah, it's not bad. The music really gives it a boost. Elmer Bernstein's son, Peter, is at the helm with a spooky and moody theramin soaked score throughout. Kevin Dillon, Deborah Goodrich (April Fool's Day), and Jennifer Tilly (Bound) are all about the fun and serious tone. Remote Control does take itself seriously. I'd imagine that if it were pure camp, it wouldn't have worked so well. The pace is a bit sluggish, and the acting ranges from melodramatic to silly, but the locations and story are interesting. It's basically nostalgia that knew it was nostalgia before it was even considered nostalgia.

Very clever little film.

I personally love this movie. It is a pitch perfect time capsule of that era and is now available on HD home video, where it belongs.

If it were on VHS still, that might be kind of dangerous.