Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Like other artifacts of bygone media eras, VHS and its one-time rival Betamax have inspired a small-but-loyal legion of amateur (and sometimes professional) archivists dedicated to preserving the legacy of the videotape—by, say, touring the country to publicly screen some of the medium’s many curiosities, or building a shrine to the local Blockbuster in their basement. And then there’s filmmakers Jack Henry Robbins and Nunzio Randazzo, who are carving out a niche within a niche in one of the lesser-trafficked avenues of VHS nostalgia: The shot-on-video motion picture, domain of Boardinghouse, Suffer, Little Children, Sledgehammer, and other low-budget, lower-resolution rental-store relics. Robbins and Randazzo’s latest effort, distributed by Oscilloscope Laboratories, is called VHYes; ahead of the film’s exclusive engagement at Alamo Drafthouse theaters, The A.V. Club is the first to bring you the tracking-line-streaked trailer above.

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Following in the footsteps of Robbins and Randazzo’s shot-on-video parodies Painting With Joan and Hot Winter, VHYes strings together vignettes featuring appearances by Thomas Lennon, Kerri Kenney, Charlyne Yi, Mark Proksch, and John Gemberling. The film depicts the life of 12-year-old Ralph (Mason McNulty), as seen through the home movies and late-night cable junk he records on his personal camcorder. It’s a little bit found-footage and a little-bit sketch-comedy movie, with a through line focusing on Ralph’s parents—appropriate, since the contents of VHYes are ostensibly being recorded on a tape that originally contained footage from their wedding day. (Robbins’ own parents, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins, are onboard as executive producers and co-stars.)

Managing editor, The A.V. Club

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