Zilla and the Comics Junkies

Monday, July 24, 2006

Clerks II

To say I'm a fan of [earlier] Kevin Smith films is simply an understatement on planetary scales-- I love the absurd religious satire of Dogma; the the offbeat humour mixed with a genuinely moving and human romance of Chasing Amy; the irreverence of Mallrats. But, most of all, I will never grow tired of discontented monologues and randomness of Clerks. So, because of that, after a two year wait, I saw Clerks II on the first showing on opening day (due to having to work that night at, ironically enough, a video store), and I'm just going to tell you right away that this film was everything I hoped for and much much more.

The film picks up 11 years after the events of the first film, in which, the Quick Stop/RST Video have burned down. Having no real experience in life other than retail, our heroes Dante and Randal take employement at Mooby's (the fast food restaurant introduced in Dogma). Eight months after working there, we're shown Dante's last day on the job, as he is preparing to move to Florida with his controlling fiance (played by Kevin's wife) to manage one of her father's car washes. On this day, we're introduced to Dante & Randal's coworkers; Elias, a 19 year old sheltered, nerdy Christian Transformers fanatic. And their absolutely beautiful manager Becky (Rosario Dawson). We're also reintroduced to "The New And Improved Jay & Silent Bob" who, while still marijuana dealers, have found religion after spending six months in rehab.

On the surface, you really don't know what to expect with this film other than the rants/monologues that the characters would go on in the first film, which they do in this one as well, thankfully. However, this film has much, much more to it than that. As such, this film has much a much clearer direction, plot, and message than the first. It's really about the bonds people make with eachother-- friendships, love, hate, all of that jazz; and how people feel when those bonds are on the verge of breaking. Another message I believe that Kevin Smith is trying to send with this film is, if what you do in your life makes you happy, no matter how small it may seem, be happy with it. Don't yern for more simply because you think that's what you SHOULD do.

Seeing the characters in the other View Askew films, I never would have expected them to say things that would actually tug on my heart strings, but alas, they do. Randal in particular says many things to Dante in the film that identified with me so much that I swear, they nearly brought tears to my eyes. With that in mind, a huge amount of credit should go to Jeff Anderson, a man who had never showed interest in acting before, or after the original Clerks. Everything the man says in the film just sounds so genuine that, as with the first film, we can believe that this is a real person talking, not just some actor reading lines from a script.

Speaking of acting, Rasario Dawson is just wonderful in this film. I admit that I wasn't fond of her in Sin City, both as an actor, nor finding her attractive. But in this film, she's just absolutely beautiful, and she plays an amalgam of a spunky girl and a worn out from life woman perfectly. Her performance in this film is enough to make any man fall in love with her.

The film isn't all drama though, in fact, it's quite the opposite. There are plenty of laughs to be had, most of them from the exchanges between Randal and Elias. I think perhaps my biggest laugh was at one point in the film where Randal and Dante are arguing about why Dante hasn't done anything in his life, mentioning Dante dropping out of university. Randal says something to the fact that "We were studying Criminology! What the fuck are we going to do with that, be Batman!?"

I think the true triumph of the film is that it retains the spirit of Clerks, while adding the heart of Chasing Amy to the mix. You'll laugh your ass off, you'll want to cry your eyes out, and you'll even want to applaud at times. This is a film that is truely not to be missed.


24 July, 2006 17:44, Blogger zilla said...

when did you change to your more scholarly alter-ego Uncensored? I see you are commenting/posting as Christopher Green now ;)

24 July, 2006 17:47, Blogger zilla said...

PS great friggin' review man... thanks. my wife and i have been itching to see this (and quietly hoping it didn't "sell out" with it's big attention, big budget in comparison w/ the first film).

25 July, 2006 19:23, Blogger Christopher Green said...

I changed my display name to my real name about a week or so ago. I figured it was just time for a change, and what better moniker to go by than my real name?


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In no particular order:

Criminal, The Goon, Daredevil, Exterminators, Punisher, Hellboy/B.P.R.D (All), Powers, Godland, Usagi Yojimbo, The Walking Dead, Invincible, Conan, Ex Machina, DMZ, Desolation Jones, Fell, 100 Bullets, All-Star Superman, Ultimates 2, Loveless, and Fear Agent.

I'm recently back reading after a 15 year comics hiatus.

Zilla is not my real name.

I'm from Tejas living in VA. I'm married w/ 2 dogs. I'm an IT security consultant cranking the wheel for a big consulting firm in "real" life.

I watch the History Channel, Nat'l Geo, TLC, Mil Channel, ESPN and NFL Network, CourtTV (forensic files, etc.) and the Cartoon Network (love Genndy T's Samurai Jack and Clone Wars Adventures). My taste in movies: Gladiator, Last Samurai, Braveheart, Godfather, Tarantino (whatever), Kung-Fu (whatever), Westerns, Top Gun, Big Lebowski.

I love the outdoors and bs'ing around w/ my dogs.

In addition to being a comics junkie, i'm also a sports junkie especially when it comes to the Texas Longhorns and the Dallas Cowboys.

Blog contents copyright © 2005 Rod Wetsel