Blu-ray Review Kevin Smith 3-Movie Collection (Clerks, Chasing Amy, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back)
Directed by: Kevin Smith Rating: R Due Out: November 17, 2009
WHO'S IT FOR? With the fan-based nature of his movies, if you like these titles from writer/director Kevin Smith, then you probably own them already. It’s really up to you if you want to shell out ninety dollars to have their latest incarnation, though none of them really demand a high definition presentation except for maybe the more Hollywood Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. The documentaries about each movie are fun watches, but perhaps you should put this on your wish list before your immediate shopping list.
Kevin Smith embraces the suckage of work by finding the amusing nature of the weird sh*t that can go on during one shift. Slaving away at a beat down convenience store on a Saturday (“I’m not even supposed to be here!”) must be the worst, but the events that occur here are funny, touching, and all with Smith’s vulgar charm. Shot in black and white with extended takes and simple scenarios, Clerks is a personal film with a maturity for the many lessons of life buried underneath storefront humor. With numerous releases and references to Clerks in the following films, writer/director Smith has certainly had a part in shaping the movie to be legendary, but it’s difficult to dispute this.
Smith’s dialogue is sometimes unjustified by the community theatre acting quality that brings Clerks to life, but the odd interactions and situations of the script save it from being amateur. Like Reservoir Dogs, She’s Gotta Have It before it, Clerks is certainly worth a view to witness another freshman film that led onto a respectable career. Whether one really hooks onto the juvenile humor is a whole other story.
MOVIE SCORE: 7/10
Maturity has always been possible for Smith, and it finally shines through with his romantic comedy Chasing Amy, a dated movie that looks at homosexuality with great curiosity. With this great curiosity comes a lot of words, as much of the movie is spent with Ben Affleck’s character mulling over the true identity of his lesbian girlfriend played by Joey Lauren Adams. Sometimes the film relies too much on its topical discussions to carry the movie, with Smith trying to share the lessons he’s learned with an audience that just wants to laugh. The second half of the movie, which focuses on the idea of not letting our lovers’ past haunt our present, hits at our heart like Smith hadn’t before, despite its melodramatic tendencies (Adams cries for most of it, and is accompanied by a really ineffectual piano score). However, it couldn’t be any more true when the hilarious Jay and wise Silent Bob show up, to which Jason Lee’s character says, “What took you guys so long?”
MOVIE SCORE: 6/10
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
It is no secret that Kevin Smith is a true film geek. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, a bizarre adventure that takes the two side characters from outside the Quick Stop to California, is an ode to the Hollywood system he has navigated in with his own movies, which are also constantly referenced throughout. With its endless amount of cameos, (from Mark Hamill to Gus Van Sant), it is one of the decade’s funnier movies about making movies, even if its consistent juvenile nature brings potty humor to a new high. Like other Smith movies, it is fine with disgusting jokes, but a clever brain is at work, certainly one that is capable of being mature.
It's a near perfect movie for the internet fanboy/girl that needs a solid midnight movie. Consider Clerks or Chasing Amy as the main event, then let your brain fry with hilarious but less dramatic adventures Jay and Silent Bob.
MOVIE SCORE: 8/10
Extras on Clerks
Theatrical Version - Classic Commentary Circa '95 - Enhanced Playback Track The First Cut Version - Audio Commentary with Kevin, Brian, Jeff, Mos and Mewes in 3 viewing modes - 2004 Kevin Smith Intro Clerks: The Lost Scene - Animated Short "The Flying Car" MTV Spots with Jay & Silent Bob Theatrical Trailer Soul Asylum "Can't Even Tell" Music Video Clerks Restoration Original Clerks Auditions "Snowball Effect: The Story of Clerks" "Mae Day: The Crumbling of a Documentary" with intro by Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier Outtakes from "Snowball Effect" 10th Anniversary Q&A Oh, What A Lovely Tea Party: The Making of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
Extras on Chasing Amy
Audio Commentary with Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier Tracing Amy: The Chasing Amy Doc Was It Something I Said? - A Conversation with Kevin & Joey 10 Years Later Q&A - with Kevin Smith and the Cast Deleted Scenes Outtakes Trailer
Extras on Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
Commentary with Kevin Smith, Scott Mosier, and Jason Mewes
TOTAL EXTRAS SCORE: 9/10
Each movie has its own documentary, even if the Clerks desk is “tons of fun” with two (one of them about Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back). All three of the specials run about 90 minutes, which is a spectacular amount of inside material by itself. The collection offers an overwhelming amount of inside features, all of them appealing to his fanbase that Smith continues to answer to. However, here lies a problem.
The collection is very guilty of borrowing. With an exception of the Strike Back doc, the Clerks disc is loaded with material previously seen on the thousands of other releases of Smith’s cult favorite. Chasing Amy has a new conversation and Q&A, which might help “soften the blow” of Strike Back having no extras (at all) of its own. None of the DVDs are given new packaging, and the Strike Back Blu-ray is the exact same one released in 2006. Also, does anyone want to see Clerks in high definition? Smith said it himself: that film is the "antithesis" of aesthetic quality.
Regardless, if you don't already own a copy of Clerks and you love Kevin Smith, this is a great place to look. But if you've got these movies already, you can pass on this somewhat money grabbing collection. I'm sure the "ex-counter jockey" would understand. Snootchie bootchies.
FINAL SCORE: 8/10