RAH Humor Review:
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
by Dave Bealer
Copyright © 2004 Dave Bealer, All Rights Reserved.
This is really a review of the five films (so far) in the increasingly
misnamed "Jersey trilogy" of movies by filmmaker Kevin Smith. I was introduced
to Smith's work when Comedy Central used to show the animated version
of Clerks as part of their Sunday night animation block a few
years ago. I saw Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back before any of
the other four and enjoyed it. But it is still recommended you see as
many of the four preceding flicks in the series as possible before Jay and
Silent Bob Strike Back.
This is the best black and white comedy since Young
Frankenstein. (Okay, it is probably the first black and white
comedy since Young Frankenstein, but that's just a
technicality.) This movie details a day in the life of two
underachieving convenience and video store clerks in tiny Leonardo,
NJ. They're not very good at their jobs, but at least they're
unpleasant to the customers.
Clerks is spookily accurate, and
that is speaking as a former employee of the Turkey Hill Minit Market
in Cherryville, PA. (I worked there part time for 6 months while in
college in the early 1980s.) Yes, convenience store customers really are that weird.
The clerks? Yeah, I must confess that they're that weird, too.
The really incredible part of this flick is that Kevin Smith shot it
at night while working at the very same convenience store.
The theme of slackers and underachievers trying to make good
continues in this film which suffers from the sophomore jinx - big
time. Kevin Smith attempts to transplant a Minnesota Mall to New Jersey,
and fails miserably. Actually, the whole movie fails, at least
compared to the other four films. The best bits are the shenanigans
of Jay and Silent Bob and the pep talk comic book legend Stan Lee
(playing himself) gives to Brody (Jason Lee).
Chasing Amy (1997)
This film was Kevin Smith's first attempt at a "serious comedy", and
it mostly works on that level. Ben Affleck turns in his best
performance to date as Holden McNeil, a comic book artist from
small town New Jersey who falls for Alyssa, a New York lesbian comic
book artist portrayed with grace and power by Joey Lauren Adams.
The homosexuality issues raised by this film upset a lot of people
in many different ways. It doesn't attempt to provide any answers,
but it does ask some interesting questions. This flick is much more
a drama than a comedy. Watching the relationship crash and burn can
at times be almost as painful for the audience as it is for Holden
Dogma is another extremely controversial film by Kevin Smith.
This religious comedy film is hilarious, and features the most
original and interesting storyline in any Kevin Smith film to date.
Jersey stoners Jay and Silent Bob find themselves in Chicago, and
are suddenly thrust into the role of prophets. They must help Bethany
(played by the wonderful Linda Fiorentino), the great grand niece of Jesus
Christ, to stop two renegade angels (Matt Damon, Ben Affleck) from
destroying all of creation.
The stakes are high, and the laughs come fast and furious. But a lot
of people were upset by this movie. As Kevin Smith himself says,
you'd think that once they see the rubber poop monster, people would
realize that this is not a serious movie. But some folks just
can't laugh when it comes to religion. If you don't suffer from that
particular form of smallmindedness, Dogma is definitely worth
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)
No, George Lucas didn't sue anybody over this one, but it does feature
a "bong saber" battle: Mark Hamill vs Jay and Silent Bob. Star Wars
is just one of many films that get parodied in this, the funniest
Kevin Smith film to date.
Randal gets a court order keeping our favorite drug dealers from
hanging around in front of the Quick Stop. Then Jay and Silent Bob
find out that Miramax is planning to make a movie based on the "Bluntman
and Chronic" comic book characters, which are in turn based our
heroes. They haven't been paid for this movie. Even worse, they
find out that a bunch of pathetic geeks are saying nasty things about
them on something called the internet. So they set out for Hollywood
to stop the movie from being made.
During the ensuing road trip they encounter George Carlin as a
hitchhiker, Carrie Fisher as a nun, live action cartoon characters,
apes, cops, and the sexiest gang of jewel thieves anyone has ever
seen. Add the usual ration of fart jokes and raw language, and mix
well. The result is one funny movie, and the apparent end of the
Jay and Silent Bob "Askewniverse".
Dave Bealer is a fifty-something mainframe systems programmer who
works with CICS, z/OS and all manner of nasty acronyms at one of the
largest heavy metal shops on the East Coast. He shares a waterfront
townhome in Pasadena, MD. with two cats who annoy him endlessly as he
assiduously avoids writing for and publishing Random Access Humor.
Dave can be reached via e-mail at:
Never question authority. It doesn't know either.