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A Threesome with Kevin Smith
DVD disk
Dec 4, 2008 By: Jason Adams
A Threesome with Kevin Smith order
Director:
Kevin Smith

Actors:
Jeff Anderson
Brian O Halloran
Ben Affleck

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Three classic Kevin Smith movies, each filled to the brim with foul language, frank sex talk and a surprising amount of insight in to the human condition: In CLERKS, we follow Dante and Randal, two disenfranchised young men working the counter at a New Jersey convenience store as they struggle to make it through one day amidst a hazy future. In CHASING AMY, a young comic book artist falls in love with a female contemporary, despite the fact that sheís a proud and out lesbian. And in CLERKS II, Dante and Randal are still working together a decade later, this time in a fast food joint following the fiery demise of the Quick Stop.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
CLERKS
Do I really need to review CLERKS? Kevin Smithís low budget, grassroots film is familiar, if not beloved, filmic canon, if for no other reason than it helped to kick start the ďanybody can make a movieĒ indie genre and bridged the gap between film fans and filmmakers.

And I donít mean to slight what Smith or his collaborators did when I say ďanybody can make a movie.Ē Sure, the film is obviously shot on the cheap and slightly amateur in itís making, but that fresh, raw, and unadorned quality is truly part of its appeal. For any budding director, the fun spirit of filmmaking is there, but more importantly so are some truly hilarious dialogue. I remember the first time I saw CLERKS and just being in shock at how the characters talked like my friends and I. We werenít as loquacious or quick witted as these two store clerks, but the topics and relationships style were sure spot on, which is obviously why talking has become Smithís trademark. In CLERKS heís helped by the chemistry between Anderson and Oí Halloranís, but even moreso their ability to actually say the words he writes somewhat convincingly. Neither got Oscar attention for their roles, but they had no problems carrying a film thatís as fun to watch today as it was 15 years ago.
4 out of 5 stars.


CHASING AMY
By his third movie, (skipping the oft maligned, but still charming MALLRATS) Smith had grown surprisingly as a filmmaker. The ground covered in the socially aware, but still defiantly politically incorrect CHASING AMY remains impressive and rarely treaded. And amongst the still welcome nerd references and expected coarse topics of conversation came a more mature and worldly story that hushed the manís harshest critics.

Ben Affleck, who would go on to be DeNiro to Smithís Scorsese, carries the picture even better than he did PHANTOMS, yo. He gets crap for choosing shitty movies, but when paired with Smithís scripts and sensibilities, itís hard for me to not root for the ĎFleck. (Though his Holden does make a few stupid choices in the flick, though he is a dude.) Same goes for Jason Lee, who does what he does best as the fast talking and opinionated Banky, an angrier version of his character in MALLRATS. And of course thereís the ever squeaky Joey Lauren Adams, who is saddled with the most difficult role of all. There are many ways that a complex and evolving character like Alyssa could go wrong, but with Adams at the helm, itís easy to be swept away by her in the same way Holden is (even if she has a horrible, horrible singing voice). Together the three characters take Smithís direction and present a complex and intertwining story on relationships and coming of age in the modern world, a primer for us nerds ready to grow up just a little.
4 out of 5 stars.


CLERKS II
When it was announced Smith was going back on his promise to close the book on the Askewniverse and the characters within, some people were dismayed, others not so much surprised. But when the man began to publically work on a sequel to his first and still most cherished movie, it was pretty much met with Internet-wide suspicion and dismay. (Even more so when the working title was revealed to be PASSION OF THE CLERKS.) So the fact that CLERKS II as a finished product is a more than decent follow up is impressive. And couple with its predecessor, the two films present a funny and slightly poignant look at going from immature twenty somethings to older slightly less immature adults. Thereís also dick jokes and inter-species erotica.

From a technical standpoint, Smith, like his characters, has grown as a filmmaker. I know the man is his biggest critic when it comes to his visual skills, but even on a $5 million budget CLERKS II is a slick looking, well made film. (Maybe cuz I watched them both back to back.) And though his aesthetic sensibilities have changed, the rest of his arsenal is still the same. The dialogue here is some of the funniest, dirtiest and sharpest heís written and OíHalloran and (especially) Anderson are much better line deliverers now, and even show some promise in some of the more emotional scenes. Thatís right, thereís some emotional stuff in this movie, but darn it, feeling like Iíve grown up with these characterís made Randalís homo-riffic speech at the end work for me. And thatís a big surprise.

Rosario Dawson also adds a lot to the proceedings, and is probably near the top of my ďimpossibly perfect nerd girls that only exist in the moviesĒ list. The film itself ends perfectly, down to the last frame, and is sure to please View Askew fans. Just please donít make CLERKS III, Kevin. You got this one right.
3.5 out of 5 stars.
THE EXTRAS
This ďThreesome with Kevin SmithĒ set is simply previous versions of these DVDs packaged together with a thin strip of cardboard. The two disc CLERKS II and Criterion CHASING AMY editions are great, but they included the old crappy CLERKS DVD and not the upgraded CLERKS X anniversary set.

CLERKS
Commentary by Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes , Scott Mosier and others: Recorded way back from when Smith was filming MALLRATS, this track is what youíd expect from this crowd: funny and irreverent. Smith is especially self-deprecating and talks about everything, even the mistakes. Itís a little amateur in the recording and slightly outdated but still worth listening to.

Alternate Ending (4:01): The famous conclusion where Dante gets killed during a robbery at the Quick Stop, which Smith admits he was smart to change.

Deleted Scenes (14:52): These were fun and fine to watch, but a smart move to cut for pacing issues.

Theatrical Trailers, a Soul Asylum Music Video directed by Smith, and Film Recommendations.


CHASING AMY
Intro by Kevin Smith (2:57): The director does his usual schtick and thanks you for helping provide income to support his daughter.

Commentary by Smith and friends: Like all his commentaries, this one is both hilarious but informative with some great stories. Affleck and Lee both show up to provide support, amongst some other familiar faces for Smith fans. In fact this commentary is so good it has its own chapter index.

Deleted Scenes and Outtakes: Ten edits which Smith admits were mostly made due to lackluster performances. Still, thereís some great stuff here, especially the alternate opening featuring Steve Dave. Thereís also separate outtakes, which as you can guess, are mostly people laughing at the dialogue.

A Trailer and as always, Color Bars from Criterion to help you get the best visual image.


CLERKS II
Intro by Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier: Another heartfelt thanks for your well spent money. Smith also talks about his sex life in disturbing details.

Commentary by Smith, Mosier and DP Dave Klein: The ďtechnicalĒ commentary track, this one unsurprisingly begins with a discussion of ass to mouth play. They do cover some of the making of info, especially the difference in filmmaking between the first and second movie, but itís still just Smith and his friends having a good time.

Commentary by Smith and actors: A cast commentary with pretty much everyone except Rosario Dawson. This one is funnier and looser than the other one and a suggest listen.

Unused Podcast Commentary by Smith, Mosier and Anderson: This was Smithís originally suggested in-theater commentary to be listened to during theatrical screenings on the iPod, an idea that was otherwise nixed. Itís amazing that the director still has more stuff to say about this movie.

Deleted Scenes (36:32): A whole bunch, all of which is more than watchable. Look for a nice throwback to the first movie and a couple cameos.

A Closer Look at Inter-Species Erotica (8:59): A personal story from Zak Knutson, the guy who played the donkey fucker in the film. Also, Rosario Dawson shows a disturbing amount of enthusiasm for bestiality.

Back to the Well (1:26:54): This opens with a clip from a JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK junket where Smith talks about hanging up the Askewniverse. Just kidding! Get a comprehensive look at not only the making of the film, but Smith and his filmmaking method as a whole in this behind the scenes doc thatís as long as the actual movie. Itís filled with rehearsal footage, interviews, the whole shebang. Check it out.

Blooper Reel (27:39): Yeah, itís half an hour of bloopers. That may seem like too much but most of them are pretty funny and itís fun seeing the actors/characters and itís a nice look at how movies are made.

Train Wreck: Video Production Diaries (51:02): This behind the scenes web series gave online fans a first look at the movie. Some are fluff (the standing ovation one), but most are worthy material.

Trailers and a Soundtrack Promotion.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Itís not hard to see why Kevin Smith is popular amongst the younger, on tap crowds (despite the vocal MagnoliaFan online haters) and I definitely consider myself a fan of the manís work, style and sense of humor. Though this box set is simply a few of his movies packaged together without any new bells or whistles, itís a good sampling to remind us how the man has stayed true to his own style over the years as filmmaker, and grown up just a tad as well. Penis.

Extra Tidbit: Smith wrote the foreword to JoBloís book ďThe 50 Coolest Movies of All Time.Ē
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