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Saturday, July 22, 2006
finally Clerks II! [beware, spoilers below]
Listening to:ABC, Jackson 5
Reading:about to give up on GEB
Weather:still hot and sticky, but a merciful 70 this hazy morning
It's no secret I'm a huge Kevin Smith fan. Ever since Dave "Count Slutula" S lent me Dogma years ago, and Olivia made me watch it about 10 times, I have sought out opportunities to listen to, watch, and read Kevin Smith stuff. I read his blog, I own all of his movies (Clerks, Chasing Amy, Mall Rats, Dogma, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back), we even made a pilgrimage to Redbank NJ to breathe some of Kev's air and check out his comic book store Jay & Silent Bob's Secret Stash.

So I've been anxiously anticipating the opening of Clerks II for years, since Kevin first started talking about making it. Early on he was calling it Clerks II: The Passion of the Clerks. A little background, Clerks was Kev's first movie, and cost him $25,000 in cash advances to make. It's black and white. It was filmed almost entirely in and around the Quick Stop, the minimart where Kevin worked. This film is so fresh and unique, I could write for a week about it. But as background for Clerks II let me just say Clerks is a window into the world of smart slackers, those folks who are mostly content to have a mindless job, who are not motivated to do more or have more or keep up with any joneses (except perhaps their own), but who have insanely sharp wits and perhaps a few choice pop culture obsessions (ie. Star Wars), and who are mostly ambitionless. They have a peculiar kind of zen in life, and are slacker sociology philosophers extraordinaire. Like the small percent of posters on the Customers Suck blog who are so insightful and hilarious you laugh out loud at their daily customer encounter vignettes. But I digress, on to Clerks II. . .

The film would open Friday July 21, so of course we had to find a midnight showing for Thursday night. Not an easy task in Morganhole. Fortunately there is a great cinema in Fairmont, Tygart Valley Cinemas, comfy seats, old red velvet 70's kitschy decor, a mere $6 for adults and relatively cheap popcorn and soda. That's the ticket (wouldn't Joel Siegel be proud of me! more on this later). So Larry and I take two cars of Liv and her teenage pals down 79 to the South Fairmont exit around 11pm. This is no easy task for a working class mom such as yours truly, who is accustomed to looking at the inside of her eyelids by 11pm or shortly thereafter weeknightly. But I'm pumped so I'm starting to shake off the drowsies.

We buy our tix, some giant Mountain Dews, a huge bucket o'corn with butter, and head in about 1/2 hour early, testing a few seats and vantage points until we find what the choice spot. Finally the trailers come on, and we are stunned to see about 5 or 6 trailers that all look like just about the worst excuse for movies ever. I can't even think of any of the names, but they all looked unbelievably sucky. Hurry up, start the movie!!!

Finally the film begins. It starts in black and white! It's the Quick Stop! Be still my heart. Dante, looking a little puffier than he did 10 years ago (don't we all), but sporting the same neatly-groomed goatee, puts the key into the padlock. In Clerks it wouldn't open because someone had stuck gum in it (actually, it wouldn't open because they were filming after closing time), but this time the key goes in, the lock opens, and Dante pulls up the metal accordion gate to find inside the window we see the Quick Stop engulfed in flames! The flames are in color. Holy shit!

And so the film begins, the Clerks have new jobs, this time at the fastfood joint Mooby's. It's got all you old Clerks fans hoped for, slackerdom, dick and fart jokes, Star Wars v. LOTR (one of my favorite scenes in the film), bestiality (or should I say "interspecies erotica"), cameos by Jason Lee and Ethan Suplee, rooftop fun, contemplation of god, customer abuse. But it's got more, too. Now that Kevin is older, married, has a kid (Harley Quinn, who also has a cute cameo in this film), rich byatch, and lives in LA, his slacker view has broadened a bit. We get a happy ending love story in this one, slackers striving for more and getting more, Jay and SB still dealing but in recovery and even sporting 12 step coin, glimpses of parenthood, and some new characters. I liked the innocent kid Elias, very cute, good straight man for Randal's continuous obscene yammering. Don't think too hard about Becky's character (played by Rosario Dawson, hot off the film version of Rent), which doesn't make a whole lot of sense in the bigger picture. Why would she let someone like Randal work for her? But I liked her, her performance is great, the film needed a cute normal person for the happy ending, and Dante's got to have a love triangle if it's a clerks movie, right?

The dialogue isn't quite the fast razorwit I expected, but this movie has a plot that has to move forward, unlike Clerks which was more a day in the life. But the movie is paced pretty well, and there are still plenty of little quotable jewels, like "hey, they're not gay, they're hobbits," and the whole taking back porch monkey thing. One of my favorite scenes is when Randal rags on LOTR as just 3 long movies of walking, does a 2 second impression of each film, and ties it up with "even the trees walk." Hilarious, laugh out loud stuff. Can't wait to see it again.

So what about Joel Siegel? Well he apparently walked out of the film at a critics' screening, and loudly proclaimed it was a "fucking disgusting movie." According to Kevin's blog (which btw is apparently experiencing server probs as we speak) Joel Siegel is a punning hack who stole Gene Shalit's schtick, mustache and all, and his walking out is a badge of honor. But Kevin's pissed that he disrupted the movie by loudly commenting while others were still watching, other critics, no less. So Kevin got on some radio show and the two hosts phoned up Joel and he actually answered. Kinda funny to listen to, especially when you realize Joel doesn't know one of the 3 voices on the phone is actually Kevin Smith himself. But Kevin repeats himself ad nauseum about how unprofessional Joel was to disrupt the film, and Joel just won't go there with him and admit it was unprofessional, though he does apologize for doing it. The funniest moment is when Kevin admonishes Joel "don't O'Reilly me."

permalink posted by cat 8:32 AM

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finally Clerks II! [beware, spoilers below]