Monday, September 22, 2008

#70: Clerks II


Clerks II
Directed by Kevin Smith
Written by Kevin Smith
Released July 21, 2006

L. Ron Hubbard, douchebag creator of Scientology, once said, "I'd like to start a religion. That's where the money is." He did, and eventually it crept its way into Hollywood and led to awful films like Battlefield Earth.

Kevin Smith is like the L. Ron Hubbard of nerds. His cult is the cult of himself and his little crew of buddies, who have been making virtually the same movie for about a decade and a half and raking in a small pile of money from the reliable geeks who keep eating this shit up. Think I'm being cynical? Even the credits of Clerks II features a call out for shut-ins to visit their website and "buy my shit."

And if you think I'm exaggerating about his fanboy mafia, go check out all of the 9 and 10 star reviews over at Ten fucking stars for this movie? Really? You think that dialogue amounted to a perfect movie? The embarrassingly cheesy musical montages? The use of cameos with no value beyond getting the audience to whisper, "Hey, that's Ben Affleck"?

The guy found a niche, and you have to respect him for knowing how to milk it for all he can get. And god forbid if he step outside of his universe, because the viewing public gets crapped on by epic fail turds like Jersey Girl.

I'm not saying Clerks II is awful. I'm just saying that 20 minutes into the movie, I started thinking, "I really should get my homework done." I wish I were being anecdotal. I really did have homework.

Honestly, I can't say I was too surprised in my disappointment. Smith's movies have followed a downward trajectory since the beginning. Without Jason Lee, Mallrats and Chasing Amy would be virtually unwatchable. Dogma was so hamfisted and poorly acted it felt like Smith was forgetting more than he was learning. Pretty much the only sign of growth as a filmmaker Smith had shown by that point was the intelligence to know his movies looked like shit so he should hire a Director of Photography.

Okay, fuck it, I'm saying it: Clerks II is awful.

Part of the immense charm of the original movie was that it showed so much potential for Smith, especially as a writer. If this guy could make a filthy, chatty and laugh-out-loud funny movie for $25,000, imagine what else he might be capable of, right?

Turns out it wasn't the budget that was limiting Smith, but rather his own skillset. Clerks II (and I'm sure this is not lost on the writer/director) is the story of Smith himself: a bunch of guys stuck doing the same shit, having the same conversations and pretending to have their eyes and minds on something bigger when we all really know they... he... we... are going nowhere.

For more on Clerks II:
- Movie information at IMDB and Wikipedia.
- Buy the DVD.

The trailer:

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