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VHYes is a nostalgic wave of home shopping clips, censored pornography, and nefarious true-crime tales.
An absurdist retro comedy and montage shot entirely on VHS and BETAcam, VHYes takes us back to a simpler time, when twelve-year-old Ralph mistakenly records home videos and his favorite late night shows over his parents’ wedding tape. The result is a deliciously disorienting retro-stew of Tel Sell ads, meditative public access television landscape painting, and hints of dated B-grade porn, which totally loses the plot.
Even the American version of the Antiques Roadshow feels uncanny here. This fun, well-thought-out pastiche of cultural criticism and nostalgia with plenty of memorable cameos refers equally to the past and present. A scientist on a talk show prophetically warns us about the dangers of video: “One day we will all have mini VHS cams in our pockets! The world will exist to be filmed”.
Dir. Jack Henry Robbins | 72 min | 2019 | Recommended for mature audiences
“Robbins, the son of Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon (who both make unglamorous, oddball cameos in VHYES), had released a couple of short films at Sundance before putting together the movie. Those two shorts, the vintage porn parody Hot Winter (whose buff and buxom performers fret about global warming in between “FOOTAGE MISSING” romping) and Painting With Joan (starring The State/Reno 911 vet Kerri Kenney-Silver as a Bob Ross-style public access painter who likes adding some unexpected things to her pastoral landscapes), are part of VHYES. It has the feel of an anthology film — a series of clever, Adult Swim-style absurdist pieces linked by a narrative through line that looks and feels like a Terrence Malick home movie.” – Ashley Naftule, Phoenix New Timesdisoe