Miramax has collected three of its Kevin Smith classics for this three-disc Blu-ray collection. Clerks, Chasing Amy and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back comprise perhaps the most pivotal films in the View Askewniverse, tied together by characters whose lives overlap and weave together, creating a rich tapestry.
CLERKS. Kevin Smith's first film was made on a shoestring budget using friends and family as much as possible and financing through a flood insurance payout, the sale of some choice comic books, and the maxing-out of credit cards. Dante (Brian O'Halloran) is called in to work at the Quick Stop on his day off with the promise that the boss will be in by noon to take over for him. Unfortunately, he's stuck there the whole day (though he does close the store to play hockey on the roof and go to a wake). His constant companion is Randal (Jeff Anderson), the guy who works at the adjoining video store. The two encounter many interesting characters who come into each store. Dante must decide, in the course of the day, whether to stay with his current girlfriend, Veronica (Marilyn Ghigliotti), or try to rekindle a romance with his high-school love, Caitlin (Lisa Spoonhauer).
Smith's first film focuses on dialog pretty heavily, and this is its greatest strength. Though profane in many spots, the dialog is rich, interesting and familiar as real-life discussions between friends and co-workers. Clerks extras include a making of featurette, deleted scenes, 10th anniversary Q&A, and so much more. There's even a behind-the-scenes featurette about Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (which is fortunate, because there's perilously little extra material attached to that film).
CHASING AMY. Smith's second movie was given a much bigger budget, had some star power behind it, and flopped at the box office. Fortunately, the failure of Mall Rats paved the way for a much smaller budget third film called Chasing Amy. Holden McNeil (Ben Affleck) and Banky Edwards (Jason Lee) have a successful underground comic called Bluntman & Chronic. While at a comic convention, they run into their friend Hooper X (Dwight Ewell), who introduces the boys to fellow comic creator Alyssa Jones (Joey Lauren Adams). Holden and Alyssa immediately hit it off. They're from the same area of New Jersey, and quickly they're like peas and carrots. The only problem is that Alyssa is a lesbian (or open-minded, as we used to say). The bulk of the film deals with this circle of friends and how they get along. Banky doesn't like Alyssa at all and is happy for any stumbling blocks encountered by Holden and Alyssa.
There is a lot of truth in Chasing Amy, truth born of experience with relationships and jealousy. The bulk of the film smacks of truth until the very end. Holden proposes a solution to the tensions in the trio that just doesn't seem logical to me... Well, that's not quite right. It does seem logical, but it's the devil's logic, and I don't believe anyone would propose it in real life. In the end, Holden is alone, but there is some reason to hope. The best dialog in Chasing Amy may be from Silent Bob (Smith), who explains the root of his greatest pain and the title of the film.
Extras include commentary, a making-of documentary, deleted scenes, a 10th-year Q&A, and more.
JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK. Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith) move to the foreground in Kevin Smith's fifth film in the View Askewniverse. The stoner drug dealers discover that there's a movie in production based on the comic characters Bluntman and Chronic, which are loosely based on them. When they discover that there is such a thing as the Internet and furthermore that people are talking smack about them, they decide to hit the road to Hollywood and put a stop to the film (and hopefully the smack-talk). Along the way they meet many other characters from previous films along with new characters.
Jay and Silent Bob is greatly about cameos, but they're not stupid, mindless cameos - they're fun, and while you may not get every reference in there, you'll get a lot of them (especially if you've come by this film in the Kevin Smith three-movie collection). Naturally the film climaxes on a studio lot in Hollywood with a cavalcade of bizarre costumed actors and showgirls walking about (I wonder what studio lots really look like). Cameos include Chris Rock, Carrie Fisher, George Carlin, Mark Hamill, Will Farrell, Tracy Morgan, Jon Stewart, and many more. Ben Affleck plays Holden McNeil and Himself, and Jason Lee plays Brodie Bruce and Banky Edwards. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is a fun film. That patented Kevin Smith Dialog is there, and it's got more expletives than ever. While we all can't quite empathize with Jay, we have a good time watching him cross-country with his nigh-mute companion rolling his eyes in reaction to Jay's antics.
Extra feature includes commentary by Smith, Mewes, and producer Scott Mosier.
All that's missing from this collection is Mall Rats, Dogma, and Clerks II, but it's a great place to start building up your Kevin Smith Blu-ray collection.
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