Editor’s note: This is our first article from contributor Travis Weiss.
If there’s any modern day filmmaker who really does not need an introduction, it’s Kevin Smith, the filmmaker who is known for his amazing characters, fantastic dialog, and hilarious comedies.
Now, Smith has a large fan base who are really excited since Clerks III was recently announced. If you don’t get what the big deal is, allow me to explain. Clerks is Smith’s most beloved movie, and its sequel is also heavily loved. So Smith’s fans are reasonably excited for Clerks III, considering the high quality of previous entries.
However, Clerks III can be a potential disappointment…
Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie Was Awful
Jay and Silent Bob, in case you already don’t know, are Smith’s most iconic creations: a duo of stoner drug dealers. It can easily be assumed that Jay and Silent Bob will appear in Clerks III, as they are the most popular characters in the View Askew universe. What’s the View Askew universe? Well, it’s essentially a film universe that many of Smith’s films take place, including the Clerks movies. The latest View Askew movie is a film is Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie.
In short, that film is horrendous for it’s sheer stupidity. Now, Kevin Smith has written plenty of low-brow gags in his films, but it’s different in Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie. The movie’s “gags” are just moronic situations without any real punchline. One example is that Kevin Smith would occasionally pop in as himself to “clarify” bits of the movie (like one to say how the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are from Earth to diss Michael Bay’s version of the movie). There’s a reason most writers don’t annoyingly insert themselves into their work. Or, better yet, one of the villains is always masturbating for no real reason. He just sits there. And masturbates. Totally hilarious.
This movie can easily make one nervous, because does Kevin Smith (who, keep in mind, did only write the Super Groovy Cartoon Movie, and he usually writes and directs his movies) think that stupid low-brow gags are the appeal of his movies? Because if that’s the case, Clerks III may be filled with more stupid pointless gags.
But, if that’s how he really views his View Askew movies, people should not be as excited because…
Kevin Smith Is Already Calling It His Best Movie
Some people may be excited for the movie in part due to Kevin Smith saying that he thinks that Clerks “CLERKS III will be the best film I’ll ever make”.
This is just pure cockiness considering how the film is not even close to coming out. I know this refers to the script, but even then it means nothing. All it means is that the script is good. It doesn’t necessarily guarantee the movie to be good.
Plus, if Kevin Smith finds Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie to be a good representation of his View Askew universe, what could that mean for Clerks III? Could it just be a series of unfunny jokes?
But there’s another quirk about Clerks III….
It Shouldn’t Exist
The original Clerks definitely did not need a sequel, but at least had room for one. That’s where Clerks II comes in. Clerks II works as a sequel. it continues 10 years after the original, and checks into characters who seem to act the same, just now work at a fast food joint. Simple enough. But, in the end, they buy the convenience store that they used to work at. That is the clear logical ending (assuming Kevin Smith was going to end the Clerks series on a light note).
Throughout both movies, the main two characters are both working for someone else, as most people are. They are naturally relatable in that regard because in the movies, they are not special. They are just two people who work in low-class jobs, and that’s it. But at the end of Clerks II, they rise above simple being two losers working low-class jobs. The main characters, Dante and Randal, buy the convenience store they had fond memories of and work for themselves.
What makes Clerks II’s ending really cathartic and satisfactory is that Dante and Randal are doing what everyone wants to see. They take responsibility, stick it to the man, simultaneously go back to better times, and yet are not be stuck in the past. Dante finds love and leads a better life.
However, Smith also said that Clerks III will be the Empire Strikes Back of the Clerks trilogy. What does that mean? Well, in the original Clerks, Dante said how he liked The Empire Strikes Back for having a bummer ending as life is “one bummer after another”. Could it be possible that Kevin Smith really intends to end the Clerks trilogy on a down note? Potentially, and if so, that sounds interesting, especially how the last entry ended so cheerily, yet, at the same time, it ruins the ending of Clerks II.
But Clerks III also has a technical quality that will certainly turn some people off…
The Black & White
Kevin Smith said the first 10 minutes of Clerks III will be in black and white. And want to know what I’m going to say? Great! I like black and white as a style, like in Eraserhead, Dead Man, Ed Wood, and even the original Clerks. So, why’s this a negative? Well, this may disappoint certain people who aren’t fans of the classy black and white look, but are fans of Kevin Smith. So, what does that mean? Well, Clerks III already has something that will alienate parts of its audience, and that’s good.
Every good film has something to alienate people, because art is not meant to appeal to everyone. For example, I love the movie Paris, Texas. It is not the most action-packed movie, and can occasionally be slow at times. In spite of that, I still find it to be a heart-warming redemption story, and it never harms a movie to have a protagonist named Travis. I could understanding that does not sound exciting, and fair enough if you don’t like it. But what alienates movies like these for some are another audience’s strength.
My point is, this movie may disappoint certain audiences on the grounds it just doesn’t appeal to them, and as I said, it’s too early to figure out how the film will be.
But, there’s one last reason Clerks III can fail….
Kevin Smith Is Still Human
Plenty of Kevin Smith fans, even myself, hold this man in a high regard, but he is still human. People mess up from time to time. Many (most) of Smith’s non-View Askew movies have been critically panned, though all of his movies connected to Clerks have had some form of critical acclaim.
No matter how great the movies Kevin Smith makes are, he can still always miss. I mean, look at the Jay and Silent Bob Super Groovy Cartoon Movie. The movie is just not good. But that’s okay when you have movies like Clerks, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and Clerks II in your resume.
So, what do you think dear reader, will Clerks III bomb, or will it go down as Kevin Smith’s magnum opus?
Editor’s note: Jay and Silent Bob promptly booked a flight to Travis’s hometown and beat him up after reading this editorial.