By Liam Alexander
A warm buttery tang intoxicates the air around you, the curtains swing open like the pearly gates of heaven, sinking into the plush seat whilst you are fading into darkness…and suddenly…LIGHT. A blend of visuals and audio transport you to another world, a darker world, a lighter world, a funnier world, a scarier world, an unknown world. This, is the power of the cinema experience. Chemically processed pieces of celluloid film have carved and influenced generations around the world, the ultimate universal way of telling and sharing stories. But as we have progressed for more than 100 years with technological advancements in the world of film, it is the cinematic experience itself that is starting to fade into the darkness for good.
Cinema is currently going through a little bit of a superhero kind of phase, so I will put this in a way that is easy to understand. The Cinema Experience’s worst enemy, its most hated opponent, is this daunting, evil, corrupted thing that you are using right now: THE INTERNET. Cooked up in some lab in the late 1990’s, with the initial intention to ‘help’ people, it has now defeated the cinema experience in many, many, many battles over the years. Using an array of hideous weapons like, spoilers, pesky little things that ruin film’s plot lines before you have even stepped foot into the cinema, can be found littered through the web. Take Star Wars: The Force Awakens, people were so desperately trying to avoid spoilers that they had to just stop using social media as a form of defense (Jack and I both doing so) with #NoStarWarsSpoilers trending during the film’s release. Why is this kind precaution taking place? It shouldn’t be, but it is.
If that wasn't enough to handle, the internet is a home to evil little henchmen that illegally leak movies in lower than low quality, so we can watch them on our iPods, iPads and iPhones free of charge, who cares about quality when its free? Who cares about supporting the industry when you don’t have to leave your room? Films that were intended to be seen on the big screen are being seen by someone who’s sitting on the toilet. I can hear Tarantino shuddering and the millions of people who dedicate their working life to bring these stories to you, sighing in disappointment.
However, a new threat has just taken a turn to the dark side after it was touched by the demonic hands of the internet. Trailers. Trailers for films have been around since the dawn of cinema, but just recently, as the internet has boomed and sites like YouTube and social media can be used as key marketing tools for films, trailers are no longer ways of teasing you for what to expect, getting you excited enough to go see it in the theatre. No, they’re now ways of showing the most iconic shots of the films, giving you the condensed version of the story and letting you know what is going to happen and when. So what’s the point of even going to see it?
Let me take you on an imaginary journey back in time for a brief second, imagine you’re sitting in a cinema, it’s 1974 and you’re about to watch The Godfather Part II, but before they play the movie they show you a trailer for a motion picture, Jaws, being released next year. Hmmm this seems intriguing? Imagine if in this trailer, they show the shark eating several victims, the jump scare under the boat, Brody’s son getting saved in extreme quick cuts after a near miss, a wide shot of Brody stranded on the boat alone and then a quick shot of the shark blowing up…JAWS.
Any kind of subversiveness you would have had in the film next year will be completely tarnished, human beings are smart enough to connect the dots, realising subconsciously that a moment from the trailer hasn't come yet. Cinematic experience, ruined. Jaws won’t become a classic. Thank god that wasn’t the case, but unfortunately it is a sad reality many films face today. They’re being ruined before they’re being seen.
Avengers: Age Of Ultron had 6 different trailers and a total of 16 different 30 second TV spots. To put that into perspective, that’s about 21 minutes of film…all shown in the trailers. Thankfully, Disney fixed up their act at the end of the year with The Force Awakens being a diamond in the rough on how to do marketing right in the 21st century, tease and don’t tell. The accessibility of these trailers and TV spots allow for the unknown adventure of watching a movie to be completely thrown out the window of a 57-story building. Why watch a movie if you’ve essentially seen it already? I know studios have to appeal to the masses, but the masses like intrigue, they like mystery, they like not knowing. Would the Force Awakens have made the money it is doing if it was all spoiled in the trailers…I don’t think so.
Let’s talk about a positive for a second, The Hateful Eight, or more specifically, the 70mm Roadshow Release of The Hateful Eight. What an event. This is the cinema experience at its purest. Well, apart from the fact that the screenplay got leaked online and Quentin Tarantino nearly quit making the film. I got the chance to watch the Hateful Eight twice in this Roadshow release and each time was just marvelous and by far the best cinema experience I’ve ever had; overture, intermission, program book and played in 70mm! How could it get better?
Tarantino is one of the few directors working today that appreciates the audience enough to design an experience that will make you fall in love with the idea of going to the movies all over again, because going to the movies shouldn’t only be seen as an option for a quick date (even though there’s no problem with that). Cinema is art, it’s the best way of sharing stories to an audience on a large scale and we should remember that.
Now, when you’re talking about the cinematic experience, it’s sort of inevitable that Film vs. Digital is going to get brought up at some point. Personally, I like the look of film aesthetically more than digital, but really if I'm being honest, digital can look just as good, if not better in some cases. Emmanuel Lubezki (Birdman, The Revenant, Gravity) shoots stunning images on the Arri Alexa, which is a digital camera. Most audience members don’t really care, and they shouldn’t. If the story is great, it shouldn't matter what it was shot on. One thing I can not deny though is the superiority that film projection has over digital, there is a certain euphoria associated with hearing reels of film run through a projector at 24 frames per second, seeing the grain, the colours, the little scratch marks and cigarette burns as the industry calls them (thanks Tyler Durden).
Film projection feels oddly personal, you’re seeing a version of a film no one else is seeing and will ever see again, one scratch mark may be in a completely different spot in the next screening of the same print. It all adds to the cinema experience. Digital projection is not bad in any way; I’m not saying that. You could have a great cinema experience in digital, but film is film, and the fact that it is so rare to see anything projected in 35 or 70mm these days is sad. As Tarantino once said, “digital projection is just television in public”, which is true, nowadays with Netflix and great television available right at home, people need to have a reason to go fork out 15 bucks and watch a film in an actual movie cinema. Here’s hoping 70mm projection can make a strong comeback, it could be the future of event cinema.
Film and going to the cinema to be transported to another world has been apart of every single culture around the globe for generations. And it should continue to be. This article isn’t going to do anything to change the direction the film industry is going, the decision is ultimately your own. The technological wave is distorting the importance of the cinematic experience, the art form, the pastime, the storytelling event of sitting in a room with completely unknown people and going on a journey with them. Hopefully this article will help you remember the importance or appreciate cinema in a new light. Continue to love film. I sure do. Thanks for reading.
By Chris Campo
Foreword by Jack Dignan: Hello, friends (and not so friendly readers). This is not my article, but since I am a narcissist I figured I should go ahead and hijack it, leaving you a little something before we begin. This article, written by Chris Campo, is the first in an on-going series I've come up with for the website, titled 'Where To Go Next.' Between the four writers on here, we will each be writing articles after the release of major franchise movies, predicting and discussing where the franchise should go next. It'll be good fun, hopefully for both you and us. So without anything else left to say, please enjoy Chris' excellent article.
This weekend, 20th Century Fox unleashed Deadpool across the globe. Not only do the hardcore fans love it, but it's getting exceptionally high scores from critics. It's everything you would want a Deadpool movie to be. Lucky for us, the film is also making a profit, people are seeing this movie, and they're demanding more. Where does the merc with a mouth go from here? As a hardcore fan of Deadpool fan myself, I have a few ideas.
Let me begin with my thoughts on the film. I went in expecting a good Deadpool movie and I got one. No, I got a perfect one. I thought not only the character, but the actual filmmaking was handled so flawlessly and with so much love, I was honestly blown away by how much I was consistently blown away by Deadpool. I was worried just how Deadpool they would make deadpool. Would he be the childish, charming mercenary we know and love or just Van Wilder in a mask, watered down for mass appeal? He was pitch perfect. Ryan Reynolds didn't give us a take on Deadpool, he gave us Deadpool. There are so many great little moments, like where he casually picks up a hub cap from a car and tosses it at Ajax because he's bored, or where he masturbates to a stuffed unicorn. Everything I love about him in the books and games was there.
There was, however, one thing missing: the voices inside his head. Deadpool has two voices in his head in the comics, one a more mature and civilized Wade Wilson, and the other an even more insane Wade Wilson. While it is a staple of his character in the books, it was a wise choice to not include it in the film, I think it would of played off poorly in the film. After seeing Deadpool, it's so pitch perfect already, I dont want them include his voices in any possible sequels. But there is a lot I do want in sequels.
So the ending credits stinger in Deadpool announces that Cable will in fact be in Deadpool 2. This can mean a lot of things. For one, Cable is an older, former soldier that usually serves as a more mature and gritty balance to Deadpool. Think of Cable as almost a father figure to Wade, who's just as annoying to Wade as Wade is to literally everyone else. He's a staple of the franchise and a fan favorite. Cable can allow the film to going to huge places, as Deadpool's toughest missions usually have Cable right by his side. His appearance could also potentially introduce Domino, a telpathic marks-woman.
With Cable and Domino, Deadpool could potentially lead into the X-Force, which is basically the X-Men's own version of Suicide Squad. Deadpool has already proved he works well with others, shown by the incredible inclusion of Colossus and Nega-sonic Teenage Warhead. With an R rating, which would be comic acurate, X-Force could be the twisted inbred cousin of the X-Men, with Cable being pretty much being the Xavier of the crew, and Deadpool takimg an almost Wolverine-like leadership. Also, with X-Force, we would probably see Deadpool's gorgeous grey suit. I will cover some of the more ridiculous Deadpool stories in a little bit, but X-Force seems to be where the franchise is going, as Ryan Reynolds expressed he feels it's a priority and because Jeff Wadlow, director/writer of Kick-Ass 2 has already been working on an X-Force script since late 2013.
The world-building of Deadpool is always fun to speculate, but what about the character? Where will he go? For one, me personally would love to see Deadpool's teleportation belt, built by Weasel. It's a belt, obviously, that allows Wade to teport short distances, usually to get the upper hand in a fight. Will we ever see his omnisexual side? Deadpool is an omnisexual, meaning if his brain decides he's gay for a night, he's gay for that night. Speaking of relationships, depending on if the one we have already seen lasts or not, will we see Deadpool fall in love with Death? Death and Deadpool are often shown in a relationship, as Deadpool can not die, and Death usually kills whomever she touches. Deadpool's rich history can mean one of the most diverse and interesting characters ever to be put in screen.
Now, let's talk X-Men, and I mean real, Byan Singer, X-Men. Will Deadpool fit? Yes and no. Deadpool has been an X-Men in the comics, and the world is built up perfectly in the first film, but what works in the comics doesn't always translate to the screen. Now, dont stop the X-Men cameos in Deadpool films, but leave him out of the main films. Put him in a post credit scene. See, X-Men is too comercial to make R-rated. You coul do what they do in a lot of the comics, bleeping out Wade and having him acknowledge the censor, but it would be out of tone in a core X-Men film.
We're dipping our toes into unrealistic territory starting right now, but oh well. The ending set piece of Deadpool takes place on a crashed S.H.I.E.L.D helicarrier, confirmed by Reynolds himself, although the famous logo cannot be seen. Also, there's a Sam Jackson as Nick Fury reference. Kevin Feige, lead producer for Marvel Studios, was heavily rumored to be producing Deadpool uncredited, although Marvel unfortunately shut down that rumour, but again, it's fun to think about, especially as Deadpool, right now in the comics, is an Avenger. Seriously though, don't ever think we'll get Deadpool in a Marvel Studios film. It's not happening.
As Deadpool is basically a lunatic, there are may unrealistic options of Deadpool stories that Ryan Reynolds has said will probably never be touched. But, it's still fun to imagine them on screen. Like 'Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe' where Deadpool kills nearly every popular superhero, for a ridiculous reason that would be criminal for me to spoil. Or how about the dead-core, a family of Deadpool's containing Lady-Deadpool, Kid-Pool, Head-Pool (a severed head from a Wade Wilson from another timelime) and Dog-Pool (a literal dog with the powers of Deadpool). We will never see these, or Deadpool fighting zombies or aliens or even fighting himself in my personal favorite Deadpool story, 'Deadpool Kills Deadpool,' but it is a blast imaging these stories as a feature film.
So that's where I think Deadpool could go, should go, and probably never will go. Fox just struck gold with such a unique character, it would be a sin not to get the most out of him. I can't wait to see where the films take him, the possibilities are literally endless...
Deadpool is in cinemas now and Jack Dignan's review can be found here
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By Jack Dignan
As you may be aware, today was Super Bowl day. Now, sports have never really interested me, but I do quite like the Super Bowl. Not because of the sport, or the atmosphere, or any of that. No, I like it because of what's between the games. I like the ads. As a matter of fact, I don't even know who was playing today, let alone who won. But what I do know is what films we got a brand new look at, and so, without further to do, it's time to discuss these trailers and give them a rank. Not going to lie, there is a rather clear winner in my eyes. You'll find out which one soon enough.
13. Eddie The Eagle
The first trailer up is Eddie the Eagle, which hits Australian theatres this April. Now, I am not saying that this will be a bad film. As a matter of fact, a friend of mine has already seen the film and says it's great. I am putting this trailer in last place as the trailer itself didn't do anything for me. It's a few sports players I am not familiar with, talking about how much they liked the movie. I can never trust it when celebrities are in ads promoting a movie, and so I've learnt to just not care. James Cameron thinks the new Terminator is great? Okay. I don't believe him, but okay. With this Super Bowl TV spot, I once again don't know if I can believe them. I'll just listen to my friend, instead.
12. Gods Of Egypt
Gods Of Egypt is without a doubt the worst looking movie on this list, so much so that I can't wait to not see it. Ever. (I probably will, but that's not the point) After watching this new trailer, I still have no interest in the film. It still looks like a whitewashed, corny, clichéd and stupid movie with lazy special effects and famous celebrities honing in a lifeless performance to earn a bit of extra cash. Will this end up on my '10 Worst films of 2016' list? It's looking like it might.
11. Alice Through The Looking Glass
Oh, Alice. What have you gotten yourself into now? Alice Through The Looking Glass is the follow up to Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, which released back in 2010 to mixed reviews. The trailers for this haven't been looking promising, and while I would argue this is a well edited trailer, it doesn't grab me. Nothing about it looks remotely interesting, director James Bobin trying to be Tim Burton so badly. He tries, but ultimately, it doesn't look like he's going to succeed, and while I will definitely be seeing this movie, I can't say I'm excited. Johnny Depp, you're better than this. Just look at Black Mass. That film was good. You were good. Go do more stuff like that.
10. The Secret Life Of Pets
Next up on the list is The Secret Life of Pets, the latest animated film from Illumination, the company behind Despicable Me. I'm curious, but cautious when it comes to this movie. The initial teasers had me in stitches, but their latest trailer made me a little bit skeptical. Not only did that trailer show a lot of the movie, but it wasn't very funny, and the film, after all, is meant to be a comedy. There's not much new footage to be found here, but what's shown is good. They seem to really be advertising that goddamn poodle, though. It was funny the first couple of times, sure, but that poodle has made its way into every bit of advertising and the joke is well and truly dead.
9. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
Ah, Batman V Superman. The film that's been consistently hit and miss with the way it's advertising its movie. I have mixed feelings towards the first trailer, I adore the second trailer, I'm straight up annoyed by what they show in the third trailer and I love the TV spots, and with these new Turkish Airlines ads, I don't mind them. I have no strong feelings towards them. They're fine and they do a good job at advertising the movie, but I never get too excited by things like this. Just like with Eddie the Eagle, their approach to advertising didn't do a lot for me. Still, it's cool to see and hear these iconic characters, such as Bruce Wayne, and locations, such as Ace Chemicals, on film.
8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows
I enjoyed the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. I like it for what it is. It's a dumb movie about talking turtles who are trained by a rat. It's ridiculous and it's a lot of fun, so of course I'm looking forward to the sequel. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows is looking exactly how a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequel should. It'll be a whole lot of guilty pleasure fun, and with the addition of the new characters, what could go wrong? I mean.... look at Spider-Man 3. They added a whole bunch of new characters, too. That went well, didn't it?
7. Independence Day: Resurgence
In an unexpected turn of events, I'm actually sort of looking forward to the new Independence Day movie. Yep, I'm not that big a fan of the first film, but I'm surprisingly keen for the sequel. Between this TV spot and the last trailer, the film is looking hopeful, nailing the tone and mixing drama with humour. I'm not a big Roland Emmerich fan, but it seems like he's in his element with this movie, so we'll have to wait and see how it turns out. This could be the big, fun summer blockbuster we're all after.
I did not want to see this trailer. Deadpool opens up in Australian theatres this Thursday and I already have plans to go as soon as I can. I'm already sold. I don't need to see new footage, yet for the purposes of this article, I did. Did they spoil any of the jokes? Absolutely not. Did they show what I'm going to presume are some of the best moments of the movie? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Did I like what I saw? Of course. Deadpool is shaping up to be a lot of fun, and I honestly cannot wait to see it. Ryan Reynolds, I already want to give you a hug and a butt squeeze and I haven't even seen your movie yet.
5. The Jungle Book
During the Super Bowl, Disney decided to release the full second trailer for their upcoming live action version of The Jungle Book. Why? Because they're Disney and they're rich so why not? This latest trailer for The Jungle Book is all sorts of brilliant, putting a very wide smile on my face. It's a delightful trailer, full of wonderful visuals and a talented cast. It may take some serious adjusting to get used to these hyper realistic animals talking, it was certainly jarring during the trailer, but once I get a grip on the whole thing, this film could be one hell of a good time.
4. 10 Cloverfield Lane
Cloverfield was a surprise hit, but what was an even bigger surprise was the film's sequel, which went into production secretly and wasn't announced until the first trailer hit the web. The film is surrounded by plenty of secrecy, but it certainly has my curiosity. This new look at 10 Cloverfield Lane gives us a few smaller details surrounding the plot, including the reason why our main character, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, is trapped inside this safe house. The film is certainly looking interesting and it even comes out on my birthday. I mean, I'll be seeing it early, but still, I'll take it as a present worthy of my birthday.
3. X-Men Apocalypse
Despite a very abrupt ending, this new X-Men Apocalypse trailer is mighty fine. There's plenty of new footage to be found here, teasing plenty of action and an insane villain. Oscar Isaac is one of the best actors around and it seems that there's nothing he can't do. His portrayal of Apocalypse is looking good, and I'm genuinely afraid for the lives of these characters. With new and old characters returning, X-Men Apocalypse has a lot of potential, and whether this film will live up to First Class and Days of Future Past remains to be seen.
2. Jason Bourne
Jason Bourne is back, and damn, this film looks good. It's been 10 years since we last saw Bourne in action, and after Jeremy Renner failed to revitalise this franchise, Matt Damon has returned, and as has director Paul Greengrass. This is the very first look we've gotten at this new installment and I couldn't have asked for a more promising return. I'm a big fan of the franchise and this new film is looking good, even with that god-awful title. Someone on twitter pointed out that calling the new Bourne movie 'Jason Bourne' is like calling the new James Bond movie 'James Bond.' It just doesn't work. That punch at the end though..... damn, that looked painful.
1. Captain America: Civil War
Captain America wins. Captain America most certainly wins. I am a big Marvel fanboy. I'm a fan of both the films and the comics, and the Civil War storyline is my favourite comic series of all time, as I mentioned in my initial trailer review (here). This is looking like it could very well be the best Marvel movie to date, bringing together all the major players from the movies, as well as a few new additions. This 30 second teaser is just as good, if not more impactful than the initial trailer, and I can't wait to see the film in its entirety. Everything new, from the first look at Ant-Man to Iron Man deflecting a bullet, is just utterly jaw dropping. The Russo Brothers sure do know how to make these Marvel movies and I have complete faith in whatever else is about to come.
Kevin Smith’s Adventures Across the View Askewniverse: An Irate Reflection on the Director’s Earliest Works
By Anthony Cancasci
He wasn’t even supposed to be there that day. But, that, he was. Ripped from the couches of America’s 90’s grunge youth culture, what with all of their acid wash jean jackets, backwards baseball caps, and video store shenanigans, Kevin Smith was here with his witty commentary on everything, whether you liked it or not. The year was 1994, and the self-proclaimed FatMan was blowing the fuck up. As was his directorial debut, Clerks, which originally premiered at the Sundance film festival. Smith didn’t know it at the time, but that single feature film, jizz jokes and all, was about to spawn one of the most intricately connected non-sequel film series of all time, connected by recurring characters, events, and places, not to mention the most influential dynamic duo since Cheech and Chong, the infamous Jay and Silent Bob.
Or maybe he did. After all, Smith slyly quips “Jay and Silent Bob will return in ‘Dogma’” during the end credits of Clerks, almost as a freeze-framed “we did it” high five to his future self, who would bring Dogma to screens in 1999, after two more films featuring the characters. Kevin Smith has aptly named the universe in which the series (composed of six feature length films, a short lived cartoon series, multiple comic book series, one groovy cartoon movie, and countless cameos and tie-ins) exists the View Askewniverse, based off of the title of his original production company, View Askew Productions. In the time it takes you to finish this article, we will examine the sheer dopeness of each of the universe’s film entries. Let’s begin.
The first of Smith’s films, Clerks, was made on a shoestring budget of less than two and a half million dollars, financed by Smith personally by maxing out credit cards, borrowing money from friends and family, and selling the vast majority of his comic collection. The hour and a half chronicle followed a day in the life of two wildly different, well, clerks, as they dealt with everything from annoying customers to ex-girlfriends to salsa sharks to masturbating old men dying in the faculty bathroom. Dante, played by Brian O’Halloran, was a twentysomething everyman who was called into work on his day off, finding sort-of-solace only in his best friend, Randal, played masterfully and hilariously by Jeff Anderson.
It was a risky bet for a film school dropout who was filming in the convenience store in which he worked with a group of friends and no real prior experience, but it more than payed off. Smith’s mouthy, filthy, slacker story found a home at Miramax, the big-breasted mama bear of indie films in the 90’s, also bringing us such classics as Pulp Fiction, Swingers, The Crying Game, and Good Will Hunting. Clerks practically reinvented comedy, paving the way for a new generation of funny movies that focus on shlubby guys who talk a lot. Kiss the ring, Judd Apatow.
Smith’s next feature, Mallrats, was an underperformer. In dollars acquired, that is. As for the film itself, I personally consider it one of the funniest films to ever turn me off to a chocolate-covered treat. The Clerks follow-up stuck to the winning formula, focusing on two average guys who are dumped by their girlfriends and find solace at their local mall, discussing everything from Superman’s libido to three-nippled fortune tellers. You read right. What Smith lacked in box office was made up for triplefold with bunny-bashing, irreverent conversations about putting gerbils into anuses, and the magic that is Jason Lee.
This film introduced us to Lee, who would become an Askew regular with the ranks of Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Ethan Suplee, and George Carlin. Lee’s character Brodie steals the film with monologues that only a mind like Smith could think up, painting pictures of an airplane full of citizens masturbating during turbulence, and teasing us with the ferocity he would bring to Smith’s next feature. I proudly refer to this as Smith’s most underrated flick, with sophomoric humor that sounds like it was written by a senior and a great cast of characters that make you wish your life was a little more like a movie. Oh, and don’t forget: the cookie stand isn’t part of the food court.
Here it is. Smith’s personal middle finger to the critics who bashed Mallrats. After the trip to the mall, Smith went back to the indie drawing board he originally came from and painted on it a picture so vivid, romantic, and intense, that it not only won multiple Independent Spirit Awards, but garnered lead actress Joey Lauren Adams a Golden Globe nomination. Chasing Amy, one of my Top 5 of all time, follows comic book artist Holden, played by a goateed Ben Affleck, who falls for Alyssa, played with intensity by Adams, a lesbian woman, and attempts to suppress his feelings in hopes of not losing her.
Their rocky relationship, sexual and not, is plagued by Alyssa’s experienced past, Holden’s own insecurities, and Banky, Holden’s homophobic best friend and inker (not tracer!), played by Lee in the role that inspired me to buy a Dickies jacket. The movie is a beautiful, modern portrayal of love and the hardships of making it work. Add in just enough Star Wars references, a few stories about oral sex gone wrong, and a bittersweet ending that still cuts deep and you’ve got yourself not only one of Smith’s best works, but one of the best love stories of our time. Quentin Tarantino loved it. You will, too.
…And return they did! Easily the most controversial entry on the list, this epic of biblical proportions follows Bethany (Linda Fiorentino), an abortion clinic worker who learns she is the only one capable of stopping two fallen angels (Ben Affleck and Matt Damon) from re-entering Heaven, thus proving God wrong and negating the universe as we know it. Backed by an all-star cast including Chris Rock, George Carlin, Jason Lee, Alan Rickman, and Salma Hayek, not to mention Jay and Silent Bob as the prophets who help Bethany on her way, the film garnered religious protest and stirred up controversy from announcement through release, but it proved to be one of Smith’s most thought-provoking pieces. And who knew Matt Damon could be funny? Kevin Smith, apparently.
Finally, after years of cameoing in the many entries of this series, the pot-smoking Rosenthal and Guildenstern get their own film. When Jay and Silent Bob find out a big-budget Hollywood film is being based off their personas, they set off on a road trip to shut down production and protect their names. Along the way, they give oral to a nun played by Carrie Fisher, hitchhike with the Mystery, Inc. gang, fall in love, are mistaken for international terrorists, steal a chimp, ruin the filming of Good Will Hunting 2: Hunting Season, engage in a lightsaber-bong fight, and deliver one of the best closing dance numbers with Morris Day and the muthafuckin’ Time. It’s nuts.
It was critically panned, but it ultimately wasn’t a film for the critics. It was a film for the fans who loved to see the characters in action, and for them, it was more than enough. You don’t have to think, you can just laugh. With absolutely too many cameos to name, the film is a hilarious good time with your favorite stoner duo. If you can’t appreciate it for what it is, you are the one who is the ball-licker.
The only official sequel in the series, Clerks II is the most recent addition to the universe. To be honest, I was hesitant to watch this film. How do you craft a worthy sequel to the pitch-perfect hump-and-dump racket that is Clerks? I thought it couldn’t be done. Too many films have been squandered by unnecessary sequels that feel far off-base from the original. But, if anyone could do it, it was Kevin Smith. The movie is a riot. And more than that, it is just a really good movie. All jokes and horse-fucking aside, it is a really good film with tender moments that make you forget you’re watching a comedy from the guy in the hockey jersey.
The secret to Smith’s success was his renovation. Rather than clinging to the past and attempting to simply copy the film he made over ten years prior, Smith breathes a new life into his work and revitalizes Dante and Randal, who are now working in a burger joint after a fire engulfs their precious convenience store. They are older, but not wiser, with a new set of conflicts and themes, matching the tone of where Smith was in his career. It’s a marvelous film that’s left open-ended for the third sequel that Smith has planned for years, and may be bringing to us soon.
Smith may be well past his original Askewniverse days, but his films continue to surprise and please, including 2014’s Tusk, which was a walrus of a good time and proved Smith to have found a new chapter in his life, apparently one that includes turning Justin Long into a walrus. But, hey, I’m not complaining. Smith’s voice can first be heard again through this year’s Yoga Hosers, starring Harley Quinn Smith and Lily-Rose Depp. He will next be returning to the Askewniverse with MallBrats, his grand sequel to Mallrats, and Clerks III will be coming to screens sometime after. And trust me, I am excited. Thank God he was there that day.