Portland artist reimagines VHS covers of over 300 movies

Over the years, Portland-based sketch artist Tim Goodyear has drawn over 300 movie reviews in the old style of VHS covers. What originally began as a hobby in which Goodyear would write reviews and sketch out covers of movies became a bound book, which will be sold at downtown’s Floating World Comics.

The journey began when Goodyear worked at a store he and his friends opened called The Bad Apple. “I would put little pieces of masking tape over the barcodes of the movies we were selling, and writing little descriptions on those…that was the first step before [this book],” Goodyear said.

In fact, the original intention for Video Tonfa wasn’t to be made into a bound book but rather a way for Goodyear to maintain a way to enjoy the little things in life. “[People] say, ‘Oh yeah, the good things just float away from you,’ and I thought, ‘Well, I don’t want the movies and the drawings to float away.’ So I wanted to find a way to work those things together.”

Video Tonfa was Goodyear’s way of preserving his artistic hobby. “It was pretty easy and fun to just jabber about a movie for a little bit,” Goodyear said.

The 300 movie reviews within the book aren’t typical critic reviews. He wanted his reviews to be easy and fun, enjoyable, rather than cynical.

“Some of the reviews are meandering, and some of them are pretty off topic,” Goodyear said. “But it’s also not really meant to be like a movie review, like a thumb critic’s style movie review. I tried to focus on things that I liked about the movie, or not spending too much time being grumpy about it.”

Goodyear wanted to avoid cliché famous movies such as “The Shining” or “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” “What am I going to say about ‘The Shining’? I mean, everybody already knows about it. It’s Stephen King, it’s Jack Nicholson, and it’s a cultural icon. What am I going to say in five or six sentences?” Goodyear said.

Instead, he focused on movies that had cover art, meaning no movies on Netflix with no cover box; he also focused on movies he found interesting. It sometimes took him the length of the movie to finish redrawing the VHS cover. “It’s mostly about emulating the packaging,” Goodyear said.

Within Video Tonfa are photocopies of Goodyear’s original writings of his movie reviews without spellcheck or regard to grammatical errors, which Goodyear realizes may be a turnoff for some people.

“My writing is definitely uncommon,” Goodyear said. “I think that people who are really rigid with their English, structural language rules, will probably be frustrated and offended by it,” Goodyear said. “I think it’s probably more of a humorous book than a reference book.”

Support your local comic shop and pick up Goodyear’s Video Tonfa at Floating World Comics.