Wednesday, 2 February 2011

View Askew...Well wearing your glasses like that, you will be....

Afternoon Vaderites! After a rather productive morning, (film watching of course) I popped the 10th Anniversary edition of Mallrats into the DVD player and felt compelled to talk about a film that I genuinely enjoy as well as the works of Kevin Smith. Now, not everyone is a fan of Mr.Smith some people just don't "get" him, but trust me, spend 90 or so minutes in the company of one of his films and you'll be interested to see what else he can do. So where shall we begin? How about the beginning.....

Back in 1994, a little black and white film was unleashed on the unsuspecting public, Clerks.

The basis of the film, is following the exploits of best friends, Dante and Randal, during a working day. Sounds boring I know, but trust me (which I hope by now you do!) you'll be rolling about in laughter. The wacko's who frequent the 2 shops (Quick Stop and RST Video) will make you actually piss your pants! The other main point of the film is that it was the first to create the View Askewniverse, a universe created by Smith where characters, events and places interlink with each other. With each subsequent film made, more and more information is given filling in the timeline right from 0BC. Although this being the first film to be made, it's actually set a day after the second film we'll talk about. Another few things to note about Clerks, is the fact it's the first time we get to meet "Jay and Silent Bob", two stoners and drug pushes who enjoy nothing more than just standing outside the two stores causing trouble. The other thing being that Kevin Smith was actually a real life employee of Quick Stop and used the store during the night to film interior shots, it also helped the running gag of the shutter being down all day due to somebody putting chewing gum into the locks! It wasn't an easy shoot, not by a long shot, as Smith personally funded the film by selling his comic book collection as well as maxing out countless credit cards. Luckily it worked out well, as Smith got to film his second feature, but first the trailer.....

So, let's move onto the second film to be released (but actually the first in the series, confusing I know), MALLRATS!!

I'll admit it now, this was the first film by Kevin Smith that I ever saw. I lent it from a friend on VHS (wowza how long ago??) and sat there mesmerized at how funny and clever the whole thing is. This was the film that alerted to me to the genius of Smith and led me into the complex world of the View Askewniverse. As I mentioned, even though this is the second film made by Smith, it's actually the first in terms of the universe he created. This is found out by the mentioning of Julie Dwyer dying the day before Mallrats is set, and the boys in Clerks attending her wake with Dante knocking the coffin over! Again Jay and Silent Bob pop up, this time showing that Silent Bob has a lot more strings to his bow than first thought as it turns out he's quite a clever man as both him and Jay set about ruining the game show getting ready to be filmed that afternoon in the mall. The main protagonists of Mallrats are Brodie and T.S as they go about trying to win T.S's girlfriend, Brandi, back whilst avoiding security and Brandi's irate father. As with most Kevin Smith films, you strap yourself in and wait for the laughs to come. This also stars Joey Lauren Adams who goes onto become the star of the next film in the universe.... Again here's the trailer for you guys.

The next film on the list is Chasing Amy, a love story of a straight guy falling in love with a lesbian!
I'll say this I'm not too much of a fan of this one. Not that it's bad but when I compare it with others in the universe it just doesn't measure up for me. But enough of that lets get to it. This one is about Holden McNeil and Banky Edwards, two friends who also happen to be comic book artists, who have created a comic based on Jay and Silent Bob called, "Bluntman And Chronic". Whilst up in New York at a comic book convention, they meet Alyssa and Holden falls for her. The term Chasing Amy comes from Silent Bob reciting a similar story as to what Holden is going through now (that you'll have to find out yourself by watching it!) and announce that ever since then he's constantly been "Chasing Amy". The film culminates back at the convention in New York, where Holden and Banky are no longer partners and are both selling there comics and Holden hands over a copy of his new comic, "Chasing Amy" to Alyssa. As I said not as good as the other films, but still a film I'd recommend you seeing. A trailer I hear you cry??

The next film on the list is Dogma, a film actually mentioned as being the next time we'd see Jay and Silent Bob, in the credits of Clerks.

Ahh yes Dogma, the little film that could, well did really. If you mean by making the director a victim of 1000's of pieces of hate mail of which a large majority were death threats. Bit of a strange one this as it involves 2 fallen angels travelling across country, to enter a church which will purge their sins meaning they can re-enter heaven. Only problem is, this would mean the end of the world, so what do we get? The last blood relative of Jesus, the 13th Apostle oh and Jay and Silent Bob. It is a funny film, even with a rather strange apology to the duck billed platypus at the beginning!! My real memory of this though, was going to the cinema to finally see it at the 3rd attempt. The first time, we were turned away due to one of my mates giving the totally wrong birth year, second time was my fault as I knocked my parents' wedding dinner service over ruining plates that were worth quite a bit. Every piece was destroyed..... The third time though, 31st December 1999, me and my friend finally got in to see it. Admittedly I don't think we really "got" it at the time but I remember laughing quite hard and Jay and Silent Bob, more for the die hard's this but still a funny film, if just a tiny bit controversial.....oh and it has a Shit Demon in it!!!!

WAIT, WAIT what's this......a......trailer?? AGAIN??? God damn, I am good to you people!

See, I bet you want to see it You can't stand Jay and Silent Bob and feel it's just a way for Kevin Smith to shoehorn himself into his own screenplays and to give his friend a job? Well you might wanna skip this next part as the next film is based solely on these two...


Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is the name, and it's 104 mins of the two stoners we all love (or hate but if you hate them I did warn you and told you to not bother reading this part, SHAME ON YOU!!) making as many dick, gay and fart jokes as you can handle. This sees our 2 titular heroes being banned from standing outside the Quick Stop, thanks to Dante and Randal, and finding out that the comic book based on them (Bluntman And Chronic by Holden and Banky from Chasing Amy, see how it's all fitting in?) is being made into a film, and decide to go to Hollywood to stop it being made as they need to get paid for it, whilst also being chased for being "Terrorists" for a cell called C.L.I.T. Oh did they mention they also have a monkey hanging out with them?? The magic of this though is the fact that the View Askewniverse comes full circle as almost every character we've come across from the previous 4 films. Jay and Silent Bob (obviously!!) are the main characters from the universe but they come across Dante and Randal at the Quick Stop, Brodie at his comic book shop, Holden at his house, Banky at the set of the movie and Alyssa as she leaves the premiere of the movie. Smith always said that this would be the last of the View Askewniverse and for a time we believed him.....until he couldn't help himself.

Oh, i guess I might as well give you the trailer for this one too.....

So guys and gals we're on the final leg of our journey together on this cold and wet Wednesday afternoon. But It's a perfect way for us to finish as we've really have come full circle as we're back at where we started albeit roughly 10 years later (in the universe people!!!), yes we're back with Dante and Randal!!!!

Oh, where do I start with this one? This is my favourite Kevin Smith film by far!! The dialogue is by far the best he has wrote, my example of this is a scene that you need to see to believe it. It involves Randal arguing with a customer and his co-worker Elias over how bad LOTR is!! So much so the other guy starts puking!!! You'll love it!!!

Anyways this one starts with Dante still working at the Quick Stop, going to open the store and finding it ablaze. The film then shifts a year as they guys have gained a job working at a fast food restaurant and it again follows a day in their lives as they are coming to terms that Dante is breaking the relationship up by moving to Florida with his wife to be. Randal spends the day bullying Elias whilst plotting the perfect going away party for Dante (which again has to be seen to be believed) all while Jay and Silent Bob are still peddling their wares outside, although now they have found Jesus apparently (something to do with Dogma maybe?). It's a perfect way to finish a fantastic series of films that are all interlocked in some small way with it being characters or places and by the end you can't help but think you're gonna miss these guys and their adventures.....But what's that in the credits....Jay and Silent Bob may return??

My God I hope so!!

Last one then seen as I know you all love this part of the article, where you can sit back from my drivel for 2 minutes and relax by watching a video so here goes.

By all means though, Smith has directed a few more movies, there was Jersey Girl, which again starred a regular, Ben Affleck, but the less we say about that, the better for us all! Then Zack and Miri make a porno, which I will freely admit is a very very funny film, not on the same level as these we've spoke about today, but in terms of a comedy film, it's a good 'un. Of course we finish then on Cop Out, if you read movie sites you'll know that only these past few weeks, Smith has gone on record as saying the star of Cop Out, Bruce Willis, was soul destroying to work with. This translates onto film as a poor showing on par with Jersey Girl, yes it's that bad!! I don't think it helps that it was the first film by Smith that he hadn't wrote and it shows, the dialogue is sloppy throughout, or that could just be Tracy Morgan, I haven't decided yet! This year though should hopefully see the release of a new Kevin Smith film entitled, Red Slate, which is Smith's first journey into horror, and as you know being such a fan of horror I'm eagerly awaiting that one!

The bad news is that Smith has declared that this will be the last film he ever directs (there are a few rumours including a 3rd Clerks story) as people fully expect him to go back to his other loves, writing scripts and comics. What a lot of people don't realize is that Smith has wrote stories for Batman, Spiderman and Daredevil. He also owns a comic book store as well meaning he can indulge in his love! Smith is also famous for writing a Superman script that was dismissed by Tim Burton who had accepted the directing gig, but I guess we could talk about that some other time, in fact that could be rather fun. Yeah there's an idea, failed comic book movies.... look out for that one guys!!!

So it's time for me to sign off, I mean expect another article tonight as you know, i love doing this!!

Take care and "God Speed Spiderman"......oh wait no, that's not right...........

Goodbye Everyone!

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