• R, 1 hr. 33 min.
  • Drama, Comedy
  • Directed By:
    Bill Fishman
    In Theaters:
    Oct 1, 1988 Wide
    On DVD:
    Mar 13, 2001
  • Anchor Bay Entertainment


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Tapeheads Reviews

Page 1 of 8

Super Reviewer

September 6, 2010
I love this movie, and it's virtually unheard of! It has two big stars: Tim Robbins and John Cusack, as two unemployed friends who start a music video production company, and the craziness that occurs along the way. It's really fun and entertaining, and very funny. It's one of my favourite movies from 88.
Conner R

Super Reviewer

November 18, 2009
John Cusak's stash is the funniest thing I've seen on a human being. This movie is another buddy 80's movie and if you don't enjoy those then you probably won't like this. It does have a lot of heart and Mike Myers pretty much stole this idea for Wayne's World and gets ZERO credit.
Jason S

Super Reviewer

May 8, 2008
Good flick.
Lafe F

Super Reviewer

September 1, 2007
Great comedy film about 80's music video production. Another good one is "The Big Picture".
Curt C

Super Reviewer

March 17, 2006
The movie itself is all over the place, but still enjoyable; mostly due to the great chemistry between Cusack and Robbins in 'before they made it big' roles.
November 12, 2009
This was something I'm ashamed to say that I waited this long to check out!

Cusack and Robbins as the two buddies trying to get a music video career going is amusingly dated now, but so much fun to watch. The rise of their career and involvement in a political scandal is also very 80's feeling to me, but is still well worth a look. Great little time capsule film for the era.

Give it a rental.
September 19, 2008
Ivan and Josh have grown up together, playing ball and being co-named the most likely to succeed. But, they haven't succeeded, by their standards - not yet. They leave their jobs as security guards after getting caught having and videotaping a party on the premises. Videotaping, it seems, has always been a hobby. Josh, in particular, has an eye for the most up-to-date, cheesy 80s effects that could be generated at the time. Josh is the talent, and Ivan is the manager of the operation. They luck into sharing a loft free of rent and put out their shingle for Video Aces. Their goal is to make music videos, but along the way they find various other jobs, from videotaping living wills to capturing the happenings of local political events. Their big break comes when a band they have taped is killed in a most unlikely way. The video they made is aired in remembrance, bringing them attention and acclaim. They want to use their new power for good, helping boyhood music idols find the fame they richly deserve. Before they can enjoy the success, though, they must tie up some loose ends.

Mo Fuzz: "All good things come in threes.
Josh Tager: It's not good things. It's celebrity deaths that come in threes."

Cusack and Robbins are delightful as Ivan and Josh. Cusack reminds us why he is one of the funniest and quirkiest actors in movies today. With his pencil-thin moustache and slicked-back hairstyle, he's like a cheap version of John Waters. His character is set in his own little world, trying hard to achieve respect that will never come, at least not with that moustache. Robbins plays a more geeky character who is shy and meek, but has a rip-roaring streak in him. Robbins has shown that he has the stuff of great comedy.
August 14, 2007
This movie is horrible and stupid. It makes no sense how the two main characters can afford to make any videos and how they even know how to use any effects, since they do not have a computer around. I don't know, I just lost interest instantly in this cheesy, stupid movie. The only decent thing about it is Cusack's moustache and Robbins' glasses - they both look hilarious.

Also - This is the same director as "Car 54: Where Are You?" If that tells you anything.
Cindy C

Super Reviewer

December 29, 2006
"Everybody loves Menudo!" (and John Cusack and Tim Robbins). Look for Jello Biafra of Dead Kennedys at the end.
December 30, 2006
One of the funniest frickin' movies I've ever seen that also contains one of the funniest frickin' TV COMMERCIALS I've ever seen. How can you beat that?
December 19, 2006
Good parody of the late 80's music video scene. Cusack & Robbins help raise this film from " Oh yeah -- I remember that movie" status to cult classic.
September 29, 2006
Sometimes very funny, a lot of the time it was absolutely nuts. My favorite part was the sobriety test
September 16, 2006
It was funny, had to stop it a few times to watch tv, but finally finished watching it. The music was great and the Swanky Mode's music was pretty catchy!
July 18, 2014
I love Cusack, but this was irritating and did not work for me.
August 10, 2013
It's better than most people give it credit for.
April 3, 2013
I Youtubed some clips of Tim Robbins and John Cusak dancing and watched parts of Chicken and Waffle rap commercial. I am no longer interested in this movie.
FilmGrinder S.
January 8, 2012
Love it or hate it type of flick.

"Let's get into trouble, baby."-Mo Fuzz (Don Cornelius)
September 10, 2010
Amazing and hilarious, but enough about me.. This flicker shares none of those qualities. Avoid this film like the plague!
Colin Oakley
May 8, 2010
After being fired from their jobs as inept security guards, Josh (Tim Robbins) and Ivan (John Cusack) decide to start their own business as music video directors Video Aces. Josh is the artist and Ivan is the producer with unshakeable faith in his friends creative abilities. They dream of making a video for their idols, soul duo The Swanky Modes, but just as their stock in the industry is rising, they do a job at a political fundraiser and accidentally get themselves embroiled in a blackmail plot involving a local presidential candidate.

After two decades of leading roles we've gotten used to seeing John Cusack as the straight man in his films, being paired up against wild characters such as Jack Black in High Fidelity or Dan Aykroyd in Grosse Point Blank. But here Cusack takes on a different kind of role; the hyperactive smartmouth as opposed to Tim Robbins shy artistic Josh. His rat-tached entrepreneur is suited and ready to go, seeing Josh as his meal ticket. He can talk the business and take meetings, Josh can point the cameras and be creative. But when the big record labels refuse to deal with them, they're reduced to filming a dying man's living will and an awesome ad for a local restaurant.

Is there a more 80's career aspiration than to become a successful music video director? Made in 1988, this is a pleasant time capsule of the MTV generation featuring some stylish sequences, and as a film about video producers, Tapeheads is pretty reliant on its music which when heard through nostalgia is fairly enjoyable. Before making any actual money from their endeavours, the duo must first prove themselves to the one record executive (Soul Train's Don Cornelius) willing to see them with some no budget videos. Luckily, Ivan's faith in Josh is not unfounded and they manage to film some genuinely creative calling cards. Their videos would easily fit in with most of the videos featured on MTV in the 80's (but with perhaps a more prominent sense of humour).

Whilst shooting a video at the local Governor's house, they meet Samantha Gregory, a local journalist keen on making her name by getting a scoop about the Governor. Of course, like all politicians this guy's into some kinky stuff (A video of a baby food spank party featuring a young Courtney Love. Oh the shame), and one of his mistresses uses the guys video equipment to smuggle out her evidence, unknown to them. Samantha soon tracks Video Aces down and hopes to seize back the incriminating videotape, but through a slightly contrived series of events involving some poorly labelled tapes they soon have a hit video for a deceased rock band and the Governor's squad of hit-men on their backs.

Neither Cusack or Robbins were big stars in 1988. Cusack had appeared in Stand By Me and The Sure Thing, and in 1989 followed this with one of his most iconic roles, Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything...; Robbins had appeared in Howard The Duck, had a small role in Top Gun, and was about to start filming Bull Durham straight after this project. They're pretty much still raw meat at this point and although they both show talent, Robbins' Oscar win is a long way away.

According to some sources, this film was made on the extremely modest budget of $10,000 which is ridiculous. Although it times it does show a certain Michel Gondry DIY aesthetic, it doesn't look cheap. Tapeheads only managed to gross just under $350,000 but that must of been seen as a good return for the investment. Its use of and commitment to this new format of Videotape is endearing, and is a good companion piece to Gondry's farewell to VHS, Be Kind Rewind. As for what this film shows of its stars future careers, this is the kind of film you can only make as a young man, and a slight oddity of both of their filmographies. Cusack and Robbins are clearly great friends, and have worked together many times since, but usually find it more fun pitting themselves against each other, such as the face-off scene from High Fidelity.

I definitely have a soft spot for Cusack's 80's output, and though this is not typical of his usual roles and may never be seen as a true classic performance by him, it's fun enough to survive. Both still young men in this film, Cusack and Robbins have gone on to become big stars with much better roles. If i was to sum up this movie's theme and perhaps make a comment on how best to enjoy this movie, it can be seen with the respect Ivan and Josh show to the Swanky Modes. Be respectful of the past, but keep on moving forward.

Also, if you're going to check it out, it has a great sucker punch of an ending...
Save From Obscurity? Yes
October 4, 2008
Like, totally, 80's. Not that great, despite pretty good performances by John Cusack and Tim Robbins, and a cameo by Fishbone.
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