The Verdict: Clerks III

In the 1990’s, a glorious time for American, independent cinema, writer-director Kevin Smith debuted with the ultra low budget comedy Clerks. It was a terrific movie because of the characters, the delicious dialogues on pop culture, and mostly because it was very, very funny. Smith followed up his cult success with some pretty great (Chasing Amy / Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back) and not so great (Jay and Silent Bob Reboot) movies. Now Clerks III has arrived and it is Smith’s worst movie to date (from the ones I have seen). The main problem: it is not funny. And the dialogues don’t work. Also, the characters Dante and Randall are not interesting any more 26 years later. Randall is no longer harassing customers. And Dante’s self pity worked in the original because he had an actual big life decision to make. Now, it just gets tiresome. The one positive thing I can report about Clerks II is the ending. Spoiler alert: Dante dies! Not to be too harsh on Smith; I still love the guy. And not that I hated Dante so much that I wanted him to die. I just thought it was a fitting ending to the Clerks saga. Hopefully, Smith’s Mallrats follow-up will be better.

Clerks III is now available on Netflix

The verdict: to stream or not to stream? Not to stream. Watch the original instead.

Dungeon Classics #27: Clerks

FilmDungeon’s Chief Editor JK sorts through the Dungeon’s DVD-collection to look for old cult favorites….

Clerks (1994, USA)

Director: Kevin Smith
Cast: Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Marilyn Ghigliotti
Running Time: 92 mins.

Writer-director-comedian Kevin Smith once said in an interview that Reservoir Dogs influenced him to make Clerks. “A bunch of guys talking about movies and making dick jokes, that counts?!?” So he maxed out his credit cards, sold his comic book collection and filmed at night at the quick stop grocery store where he worked. The protagonist is Dante ‘I’m not even supposed to be here today’ Hicks. An appropriate name because Dante literally thinks he’s in hell. He hates the store, the stupid customers and basically his whole existence. His partner is the foul mouthed Randall who ‘runs’ the video store next door, which means bitching about movies, abusing customers and playing hockey on the rooftop. Clerks follows Dante’s and Randall’s misadventures as they deal with weird customers, (ex-) girlfriends and two deaths happening that very same day. Now Smith is no Spielberg, but two things he can do: write a screenplay that is funny as hell and find the boys and girls who know how to deliver these great lines. Clerks started a whole franchise of Kevin Smith comedies with many of the cast members frequently returning. Some movies are good (Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back!), but like with Bond Girls, the first one is still the best. Clerks is clever, original and very, very re-watchable.

Dungeon Classics #14: Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

FilmDungeon’s Chief Editor JK sorts through the Dungeon’s DVD-collection to look for old cult favorites….

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001, USA)

Director: Kevin Smith
Cast: Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Ben Affleck
Running Time: 104 mins.

The stoner comedy is a genre that I as an ex-stoner can definitely appreciate. Jay and Silent Bob, who before this movie were side characters in Kevin Smith’s four previous films (Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy and Dogma), are the perfect stoner buddies. The foul-mouthed Jay is hilarious, and Silent Bob provides not so subtle feedback through body language alone. The duo embark on a quest to Hollywood to prevent a film being made based on their comic book alter ego’s Bluntman and Chronic. On their way, they meet many weird characters played by well known actors, such as: Jason Lee, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Eliza Dushku, Shannon Elizabeth, Will Ferrell, Chris Rock and – most impressively – Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill. The movie is filled with dick-jokes, fart-jokes, gay-jokes, and movie references (especially Star Wars). Highlights include comedian George Carlin’s cameo as cock smoking hitchhiker and the confrontation with Mark – Luke Skywalker – Hamill as Cocknocker, the villain of the Bluntman and Chronic movie. Yes, this is definitely the Citizen Kane of stoner comedies.