Laugh Date: Tuesday, May 23, 2017

What's Inside

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.

Clerks (1994)

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.

Mallrats (1995)

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 and Alyssa.

Dogma (1999)

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 seeing.

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".

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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:

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Random Nonsense:
As long as I can remember, I've had amnesia.
 

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Copyright © 1992-2015 Dave Bealer, All Rights Reserved.