Dante Whines Again

Submitted for your perusal: the new trailer for Clerks II

I’m a straight white geek in my twenties, so it goes without saying that I’ve been through a Kevin Smith phase. By the time I graduated college, I’d seen and worshipped Clerks and Mallrats, and I deeply believed that Chasing Amy was one of the most powerfully honest movies about love I’d ever seen. I knew the lines, I quoted them liberally; more importantly, I was convinced that this man had perfectly captured my lifestyle on film.

Course, like so many whirlwind affairs, this one ended poorly. I saw Dogma in the theaters, and while I liked much of it, even in my fandom I couldn’t completely ignore the basic shallowness of Smith’s ideas. Then I made the mistake of reading some of his comic book work, which was just a series of mildly funny one-liners distributed among characters at random, combined with clunky storytelling and moldy cheese. Then I saw Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and laughed two, maybe three times the entire movie. Suffice to say, the honeymoon was over.

I never saw Jersey Girl, don’t think I’ll be rectifying it soon, and man, this new trailer? Maybe one chuckle in the whole damn thing. Smith is a funny, funny guy, and the interviews he’s done, and the commentary tracks on his movies (and defunct TV show) are hilarious, but the end product is getting repetitive. He’s not much of a director, so most of his films have this flat, static look to them that bores the hell out of me. Jersey Girl was reportedly his attempt to grow as a filmmaker, but grow into what? Nora Ephron? At least Chasing Amy was fearless about its limits; Smith didn’t really know how to solve the central problem of the movie, wasn’t even sure he should be trying, and that’s what you get on the screen. It’s sloppy, and depending on your interpretation, juvenile and horribly offensive, but in its best moments, it had the electricity that comes from an artist who’s willing to be completely open with his audience regardless of the consequences.

And now we’re back to square one. Screw that. If I get jonesing for a Smith (heh), I’ll just watch Mallrats again.

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