Kevin Smith 3 Movie Collection

Cover Art and Menus: 6/10
The covers from all three movies are the same art that’s been used before, so nothing exciting there. The box that holds all three discs is a pretty bold image of Kevin Smith in some kind of superiority complex pose bathed in a very ominous yellow. I like it. I would love it if the box were big enough to put ALL Kevin Smith movies in…..hmm what an idea.

There’s not much to say about the menus. They are all designed in the spirit of the movies they are representing. Chasing Amy is designed to match style of comic book art that’s a big part of the story, my favorite of the three.

Features: 9/10

Clerks 15th Anniversary Edition

  • Introduction By Kevin Smith (Blu-Ray Exclusive) – Kevin Smith explains why he put the crummiest looking movie ever on Blu-Ray. He also sets up the next extra we take a look at.
  • Oh What A Lovely Tea Party: The Making Of Jay & Silent Bob Strikes Back (Blu-ray Exclusive) – This Documentary (89 Mins) made by Kevin’s Wife, is a fly on the wall look at day to day life on the set of Jay & Silent Bob Strikes Back. This documentary has been in limbo for quite some time and it’s great to see it here on the Clerks Blu-Ray.
  • Theatrical Version Of Clerks – The original Theatrical version of the movie we all know and love.
  • Classic 95 Commentary – The commentary from back in the day with Kevin, Scott, Mewes and more. It’s a typical View Askew commentary not particularly heavy on information but funny all the same.
  • Enhanced Playback Track With Trivia & Cast & Crew Quotes – A pop up video style extra that plays throughout the entire movie, it’s much more informational than the commentary and quite a fun way to rewatch Clerks.
  • The First Cut Version Of The Film – The original cut of Clerks had a much much darker ending than the one we know and love. This is that cut in it’s entirety in glorious LOW definition. I have to warn you this cut looks and sounds rough it’s certainly not showcase material even for VHS standards.
  • First Cut Commentary – Commentary on the first cut of the movie, this was included on the Clerks X DVD so chances are you have already heard it.
  • 2004 Kevin Smith Intro – A short intro by Kevin from back when the DVD came out, it’s your usual Kevin Smith humor if y0ur a fan you will dig it.
  • Clerks The Lost Scene Animated Short – An animated “Lost Scene” which features Dante & Randal  Pretty cool stuff for a Clerks fan the short runs about 10 minutes.
  • The Flying Car – Dante & Randal discuss flying cars for about 8 minutes. I think this was originally shown on The Tonight Show.
  • MTV Spots With Jay & Silent Bob – The obligatory MTV spots used to promote the movie to the nations teenagers.
  • Theatrical Trailer – The trailer for Clerks looks worse than the actual movie in terms of quality, still I like having trailers on discs just for completions sake.
  • Soul Asylum Music Video – The “You Can’t Even Tell” music video from the band Soul Asylum that was featured in Clerks. The most interesting part of this video is the introduction by Kevin Smith.
  • Clerks Restoration – I love restoration features, The Godfather & The Wizard Of Oz are some of my favorites, this one not so much, they talk about the restoration for about half a minute then Kevin & Scott go on to introduce the DVD for almost 10 minutes. So in short I wouldn’t call this Clerks Restoration more like Clerk’s DVD introduction.
  • Original Clerks Auditions – Four different audition tapes which run around 10 minutes. The Dante & Randall ones are actually quite funny.
  • Snowball Effect The Story Of Clerks – One of the best extra’s on the Clerks disc a 90 minute full length documentary about the making of the movie, this is less a fly on the wall more of a E true hollywood story look at how the movie got made and even it’s entry into the Sundance film festival.
  • Mae Day The Crumbling Of A Documentary With Intro By Smith & Mosier – A bit of View Askew history right here with Kevin & Scott’s original film school short about a planned documentary about a transexual that did’t go as planned. If you are a fan of Kevin this is his original work right here.
  • Outtakes From Snowball Effect – Some bloopers and unused parts from the aformentioned documentary.
  • 10th Anniversary Q&A – The Q&A session from the Clerks X DVD, it’s pretty similar to the Chasing Amy Q&A but deals with Clerks (Obviously)

Chasing Amy

  • Audio Commentary With Kevin & Scott – A brand new commentary with Kevin & Scott which is exclusive to Chasing Amy on Blu-Ray. This is very different to the commentary on the old Criterion DVD release and comes off more like a lost episode of the Smodcast.
  • Tracing Amy The Chasing Amy Doc – The star of this disc is right here ladies and gentlemen. This feature length documentary which is a retrospective on Chasing Amy with all the cast members 10 years after the fact. It’s really insightful and at times revealing. I really enjoyed hearing Joey and Ben talk about the movie. I think Tracing Amy is worth the admission price of this set alone.
  • Was It Something I Said A Conversation With Kevin & Joey – Kevin & Joey sit down on the 10th Anniversary of Chasing Amy at the secret stash to discuss the film. I would have preferred an interview with Joey alone as Kevin tends to talk over her so it’s not as insightful as it could be. This is very cool though as Kevin and Joey were dating during the film and seem to be friends all these years later.
  • 10 Years Later Q & A With Kevin & Cast – A 30 minute Q&A session recorded at 2005’s Vulgarthon. After seeing all the other extra’s there isn’t any new information here but Ben Affleck steals the show with some amusing comments. Apparently this Q&A was a lot longer than 30 minutes perhaps we will get to see the rest on the 20th Anniversary disc.
  • Deleted Scenes – Ten deleted scenes that were also included on the DVD of Chasing Amy.
  • Outtakes – A couple of funny moments onset.
  • Trailer –For completions sake the trailer from back in the day.

Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back

  • Audio Commentary With Kevin Smith, Scott Mosier & Jason Mewes – An OK commentary but why oh why is this the only extra included on this disc? I feel like they had lots of copies of the Blu-Ray hanging around and decided to repackage them in this set to get them out of a warehouse somewhere. Perhaps down the road we will get a Jay & Silent Bob Strikes back anniversary edition of some sort and we can pay Kevin some more money for the privilege.

The Movies:

Clerks 9/10
A guy has to work on his day off. He works in a convenient store in New Jersey. His best friend works in the crappy video store next door and two drug dealers hang around outside the door all day. This is the premise of this 90’s classic. My lame description doesn’t begin to sum up the epic day that Dante has while he constantly refuses to accept that he’s working on his day off.

Randall is the snarky friend who points out lots of deep life wisdom while not doing his job, reading magazines, and generally further corrupting Dante’s bad day.

Clerks is a movie you have to just see to believe. It’s not easy to describe, but here we go. It’s black and white, which makes it feel cheap and artsy, for better or worse. It’s not artsy, but it is cheap, in a good way. Low budget is a good thing though. It brought out the young movie maker creativity in Mr. Smith.

There are no bells and whistles to distract from the deceptively uncomplicated series of events taking place. Depending on your age and how many times you have seen Clerks, you will find more complex themes and ideas as you dig behind the potential crass-factor.

I sit here trying to think of what to say. It’s not that I don’t love the movie. I absolutely do. That’s my problem, that and I’m a little tired after working all night and this is supposed to be my day off!! Just kidding. It’s hard to sum up all the laughs, all the insanely iconic moments that live in the world of the Quick Stop.

Why are they iconic? I have no idea. I mean, my mother won’t think they are, nor will most of the people I know. In fact, I bet if I took a poll about 20% or less of all the folks I associate with will have heard of it and even less will have seen it. Yep, that’s how I role, with the “What’s wrong with Catwoman? Halle Berry is soooo good in that.” crowd…(shudders at the thought). HEY, that explains it perfectly. Most of the people I know don’t “get it” and I feel somewhat superior and more cool because I’m a Clerks minion.

Clerks is that ‘accidental’ stepping on the foot of someone you don’t like followed by an insincere apology. Whatever that means. I just realized this after twelve odd years. Even while I watch it again I have that feeling that I’m in some exclusive, very exclusive gaggle of humans who linger on Randall’s every word. I love thinking that so many people would have that question mark expression during the singing of Berzerker, or the discovery that Dante’s girlfriend and a dead….um….well, there’s an event in a darkened bathroom at the back of the convenient store. I’ll let you find out what it is and then, if you think it’s awesome and funny you belong to the secret Clerks Appreciation Society. It’s so secret no one but me knows it exists. If you find the humor of Clerks unfunny, well, that makes me feel smug and cool and ever-so-slightly above you. Win Win.

Don’t be fool my review reading friend, Clerks scratches a very specific itch for those of us in the View-Askewniverse. My life is forever changed. I vow to never search for the best milk expiration date, and just the other day the CLERK at the store had to send my eggs back to the cooler with the other CLERK because I don’t examine the carton for cracked shells.

Snooch to the……nah, just kidding.

Chasing Amy 10/10
This guy I met on the internet about 12 years ago gave me a list of his favorite movies to watch. On that list was Clerks, Mallrats, and Chasing Amy, among others. I watched. I liked them all. We got married.

So you see boys and girls, Kevin Smith and his little universe of movies played a big part in my happy home. Therefore, my ability to be rational and unbiased has just chucked itself out the window and I’m free to gush and wallow in luxurious musings about this, one of my all time favorite flicks.

That same internet guy is patiently waiting for this review as I sit here typing it two days late. He won’t bark or complain, just smile and say “thanks love”. That’s the kind of marriage that’s built on a foundation of shared love for movies, at least that’s how I like to think about it.

Why are we tortured by emotional garbage as we go through our lives? I know, it’s a big question, but I feel like I’ve been on a bit of a journey looking for that answer with the whole of Kevin Smith’s collection of movies, live ‘discussions’, and podcast through the years. I’m not a fangirl, if that’s what your thinking. I do find Mr. Smith to be quite hard to handle sometimes with his own superficially stunted emotional growth. As for Chasing Amy, he has presented some of the most compelling relationship nuances in a unique way, cheap and funny and brilliant. Yes, brilliant.

Chasing Amy focuses on a young man’s feelings of sexual, and I would argue, personal inadequacies in the face of a growing relationship with a woman who has had “a past” he can’t come to terms with. It’s not touchy feely at all and I hope I don’t give that impression. Some of the conversations are incredibly real, not that I’ve have the same topics of discussion in my life, but the FEELINGS are the same.

Holden and Alyssa meet, he falls for her immediately. He finds out she’s a lesbian. He falls in love. They begin a relationship, only to hit that stumbling block of her past and his ego colliding, big time. Every time I watch it I’m more and more impressed with the raw sensitivity that Smith writes into the more intense scenes. Holden can’t handle a past sexual exploit that Alyssa does not apologize for in a parking lot argument that looks, sounds, and feels like many we have all either been in the middle of or seen from a distance. Just thinking about Ben Affleck’s reactions and forging through the dialogue as if it weren’t on a page somewhere but from his own experiences, and Joey Lauren Adams heart wrenching, almost suffocatingly frustrated crying and desperate but unyielding yelling through her tears, it’s on my list of one of the greatest movie scenes ever.

I won’t go into the rain scene. Ohhh it’s awesome, but it’s the most talked about, I reckon, in the whole movie, so you’ll just have to see it for yourself to soak up the goodness.

Everything is good in this movie, not polished and perfect, but solid and even with those flashes of brilliance that I would say only crawl into a few people’s psyche. Not everyone will “get it” the way I do, or the way my husband does, and that’s the beauty of it. It’s got a few hard knocks here and there with Banky, played by Jason Lee, and his unedited spewings about the situation, but that’s part of the juicy goodness. I have never felt this is a story that caters to whimpy emotional types or hard core cynics, but that cross over group stuck somewhere in the middle.

Thanks to Chasing Amy, and by extension Kevin Smith, (and a few other factors if I’m honest:)) I, the mid-western chick who views the world through some pretty skeptical specs these days, have a wonderful husband and memories of fictional characters brought to life by someone else’s very personal exploration of life and love and sex and whatever else. Which all adds up to me having a very hidden, buried, tiny little glimmer of optimism in this life…. Thank you sir.

Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back 5/10
I wasn’t a big fan of Jay and Silent Bob in their own movie. It’s got tons of bit parts by big Hollywood types, which is cool-ish, but it also makes it feel a bit TOO Hollywood. The story does lend itself to that though. The stony duo make their way to Tinsel Town to find out about a movie that’s being made from the comic they star in from Chasing Amy, Bluntman and Chronic.

It’s a road trip movie. It’s a buddy flick. It’s a slap stick comedy. It’s a fanboy’s wet dream. Kevin dumps almost every niche icon from his other movies, while parading lots of other movies into one action comedy mega-meal. I think it was just too much dazzle for me to appreciate.

I do really enjoy watching Jason Mewes. I always like his style, even if it’s derived from some unmentionable sources in his ‘real life’. So, in terms of that I get my fill for sure. I just don’t love the hop from one crappy jokey moment to another. It’s like stolen laughs, or forced laughs, if you know what I’m saying. As if my brain knows I like Kevin Smith, and his movies, so I have to find the good stuff to appreciate. While my inner skeptic and all round cynical core is barking, “This isn’t funny. Do not patronize the man with those fake giggles!” Oh, the struggle within.

Catching glimpses of again now while watching the documentary behind the scenes, I realize the scope of the thing. Geesh, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamil, Bartleby, Jason Bourne, Chris Rock, Banky/Brodie, 90210 chick, Will Ferrell, and then there’s the heist, the explosion, the light saber battle, the ET ripoff moment, the f-word about a zillion times, chimpanzees, flashbacks, seriously it’s a massive undertaking. I think I appreciate the complications more now that I look at it from the point of view of a fan of Kevin Smith. By that I mean that I think of him as a low key kind of writer director who has awesome ideas and seems to tap into something special with every relationship he writes into his stories. As a big time action dude I guess I just wasn’t ready for more flash and less substance.

I have to just sit back and let it be what it is, comedy, action, and fan service to those of us who do admire and follow Mr. Smith on his movie making journey. Gimme that disc….I’m watching it again with a new attitude!

Audio & Video: 6/10
I was very interested to see how much better two of my favorite movies, Clerks and Chasing Amy, would look on Blu-ray. I wasn’t expecting miracles and I pretty much got what I expected. Clerks was filmed on a really low grade film stock in black and white and is still as soft as the DVD release. The only improvement I see here is the blacks are blacker and there are no compression artifacts which did show up in spots on the previous DVD releases. Chasing Amy, from a technical standpoint is essentially a color version of Clerks. The video is very soft and not up there with the HD video you will be used to. Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, on the other hand, looks the best of the three with some excellent flesh tones and a razor sharp image.

All three of the movies are given the full TrueHD sound treatment, but still Clerks and Amy have some scenes where dialog is unintelligible. I do not think this is a problem with the transfer though as the DVD’s are the same. I would say it was a problem that happened during filming (Kevin was new at this back then, perhaps the budget didn’t stretch to good microphones).

Overall two of these movies are in my top 100 of all time and are worth the purchase. The Blu-Ray presentations are as good as these movies are going to look so don’t think holding out for a future double dip will get you a better deal. If your a fan of Kevin Smith or new to the View-Askewniverse this box set delivers two of Kevin’s best movies and one of his worst in a convenient box.

Value: 10/10
If you find this three movie set on Blu-ray for around 50 bucks, I think that’s a good deal. There are tons of extras, excellent documentaries of the making of all the films, and a lot lot more. If you haven’t bought them already it’ll all be new and shiny to you. I would say it’s a great starter Kevin Smith kit, BUT you have to get Mallrats, Dogma, Jersey Girl to watch as a View Askew marathon. It’s a must have in this household, in fact I think we have every release of each movie lining the “S” section of the alphabetized shelf

Overall Score 10/10