On November 17th, Miramax released a trio of Kevin Smith’s best cult classics, including Clerks, Chasing Amy and Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back. It was a pleasure revisiting these three gems in the Blu-ray format, and the hefty serving of extras for each, should keep fans of the Jersey-born cult favorite writer/director.
In Clerks – one of indie cinema’s great icons – Dante (Brian O’Halloran) gets called in to work at the Quick Stop on his day off. Supposedly he’s filling in for the morning, but as his day goes from bad to worse, he gets pulled into spending the entire day there, with his current girlfriend (Marilyn Ghigliotti), ex-girlfriend Caitlin Bree (Lisa Spoonauer), and irresponsible best friend (Kevin Anderson), weaving in and out of the story line. Outside his store, a pair of drug dealers named Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith) practice their trade, while Dante’s girlfriend brings him lasagna, as he pines for Caitlin, who is supposedly engaged to an Asian Design Major.
Clerks is set in one location and was shot on 16mm black and white film. The real power of the film is in the writing, and its comic timing. There’s hilarious jokes throughout, and I couldn’t help but be attracted to its purely Jersey roots.
Chasing Amy, Smith’s rumination on the dating scene, stars Ben Affleck stars as Holden McNeil, who along with Banky Edwards (played by Jason Lee) has created Bluntman and Chronic, which MTV wants to pick up for a network show. They’re friends with Hooper X (Dwight Ewell), who introduces them to Alyssa Jones (Joey Lauren Adams). Holden immediately falls hard for Alyssa, but soon finds out that she’s a lesbian. This leads to difficult friendship that changes both of their lives, for better and worse.
There is a powerful subtext going on in Chasing Amy, but Smith’s characters are so amusing, the viewer is likely to ignore it, and take the film for its pure entertainment value. The plot make the most of the humor in every situation, making Chasing Amy is my second favorite film of Smith’s after Clerks, which also benefits from Smith’s developing camera and directing skills.
In Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Smith focuses the camera squarely on his recurring characters Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith), the two stoner losers who started by hanging out in front of the local Quick Stop smokin’ blunts and dealin’ weed.
In the film, Jay and Silent Bob are living well on royalty checks and hanging out at the same local Quick Stop from Clerks, thanks to the success of the comic book series “Bluntman and Chronic”, which used their likeness for character inspiration. After finding out that “Bluntman and Chronic” has been sold to Miramax and they have received no compensation, they head to Hollywood to stop the production. Along the way, four hot chicks pick them up, who are actually jewel thieves in need of two fall guys for their next job. After being framed for the theft of an orangutan, they’re hunted by Federal Wildlife Marshal Wilenholly (Will Ferrell) as they travel the back roads to Hollywood to clear their names.
Early on, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is somewhat fun, particularly because of the nostalgia of the store, and the characters attached to it. It’s later in the film that things begin to come apart story-wise.
Clerks on Blu-ray, featuring All New Blu-ray Bonus Features, including:
- Oh, What A Lovely Tea Party: The Making Of Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back
- Introduction By Kevin Smith
- Plus Original DVD Bonus Features: Classic Commentary
- Enhanced Playback Track
- Intro To The First Cut 2004 Commentary
- 2004 Commentary (with New Authoring)
- Clerks Lost Scene – Animated Short
- The Flying Car
- MTV Spots With Jay & Silent Bob
- Theatrical Trailer
- Soul Asylum’s Can’t Even Tell Music Video
- Clerks Restoration
- Original Auditions
- Snowball Effect
- Outtakes From Snowball Effect
- Mae Day: The Crumbling Of A Documentary With Intro By Kevin Smith And Scott Mosier
- 10th Anniversary Q & A and more
Writer/Director: Kevin Smith
Cast: Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Marilyn Ghigliotti, Lisa Spoonhauer, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Scott Mosier, Scott Schiaffo, Al Berkowitz, Walter Flanagan
Clerks Original Release Date: October 19, 1994
Chasing Amy on Blu-ray, featuring All New Blu-ray Bonus Features, including:
- Tracing Amy: The Chasing Amy Doc
- “Was It Something I Said?” – A Conversation With Kevin & Joey
- 10 Years later Q & A
- Audio Commentary with Writer/Director/Actor Kevin Smith and Producer Scott Mosier
Plus Original DVD Bonus Features, including:
- Deleted Scenes
- Trailer and more
Writer/Director: Kevin Smith
Cast: Ethan Suplee, Ben Affleck, Scott Mosier, Jason Lee, Casey Affleck, Dwight Ewell, Joey Lauren Adams, Guinevere Turner, Carmen Llywelyn, Brian O’Halloran, Matt Damon, Alexander Goebel, Tony Torn, Rebecca Waxman, Paris Petrick, Welker White, Kelli Simpkins, John Willyung, Tse-Mach Washington, Ernest O’Donnell, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Kristin Mosier, Virginia Smith
Chasing Amy Original Release Date: April 4, 1997
Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back on Blu-ray, with bonus features including:
- Audio Commentary with Director Kevin Smith
- Producer Scott Mosier and Jason Mewes; Deleted Scenes with Intros by Kevin Smith and Guests
- The Secret Stash with Intro
- Gag Reel with Intro
- Internet Trailers with Intro; TV Spots
- Stills Galleries; Behind the Scene featurette
- Morris Day and the Time’s video Learnin the Moves
- Music video Afroman “I Get High”
- Music video Stroke 9 “Kick Some Ass”
- Comedy Central’s Reel Comedy: Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back
- Cast and Crew Filmographies
- Guide to Morris Day and The Time (Still Frames)
- Storyboards and more
Writer/Director: Kevin Smith
Cast: Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Ben Affleck, Jeff Anderson, Brian O’Halloran, Shannon Elizabeth, Eliza Dushku, Ali Larter, Jennifer Schwalbach Smith, Will Ferrell, Jason Lee, Judd Nelson, George Carlin, Carrie Fisher, Seann William Scott, Jon Stewart, Jules Asner, Steve Kmetko, Tracy Morgan, Gus Van Sant, Chris Rock, Jamie Kennedy, Wes Craven, Shannen Doherty, Mark Hamill, Amy Noble, Ever Carradine, Ernest O’Donnell, Tango, Marc Blucas, Matthew James, Jane Silvia, Carmen Llywelyn, Joe Quesada, Diedrich Bader, Scott Mosier, James J. McLauchlin, Joseph D. Reitman, Paul Dini, Quentin Wright, Walter Flanagan, Renée Humphrey, Joey Lauren Adams, Dwight Ewell, Alanis Morissette, Morris Day
Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back Original Release Date: August 21, 2001