With as fast as technology has moved in the last couple of decades, it is always good to see when what is old becomes new again. Vinyl records have made a comeback in a big way, and thanks to the popularity of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” the cassette tape is creeping its way back into the popular conscience. I myself had quite a collection of pre-recorded tapes and those I made either from recording my records into a more portable format or mixed up the songs to make something I could travel to. I even had a number of cassette singles if for no other reason that there were certain remixes that could only be bought that way. When I moved from Florida to Texas, I got rid of all of my tapes, and I still regret that as I had a lot of my college radio shows and other things that I still have not been able to find again.
So, when I heard that the 11th Dallas International Film Festival would be featuring Zack Taylor’s “Cassette: A Documentary Mixtape,” it immediately got put on my list of films to see. Add to that names like Henry Rollins and D.J. Red Alert, and there was no way I was missing this. Unfortunately, this was not exactly I was hoping for as it more resembled an extended episode of “How It’s Made” and less of the effect it had on the culture. That element IS there, but the majority of the time here is spent either on current hipster bands that are producing their works on cassettes and the cassette inventor from Philips, Lou Otten. I was interested in his process on the invention of the media itself, but it does bog itself down in its own minutia without really going anywhere. There are literally thousands of stories out there that could have made this a much better documentary, but if that was not the aim of its filmmakers, then I guess mission accomplished. There are aspects of “Cassette: A Documentary Mixtape” that make it informative, but if you are looking for a documentary that will entertain you, this may not be the doc you are looking for.