Pin It
Favorite

Take Two 

by Luke Baumgarten & r & & r & Clerks II & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & n the same week, during like seventh grade or something, I heard both Roger Ebert and my friend's older brother -- at different times, obviously -- talking about a phenomenon called "snowballing." I had no idea what context the older brother was using it in, but Roger Ebert was using it to illustrate the perverse, conversational genius of this guy named Kevin Smith and how his film Clerks -- which was filmed in black and white, produced for like $37,000 -- would change the way movies are made. This term seemed, by the hushed tones used by both men, scandalously sexual, and I wanted in. So I rented Clerks, by and by, some months later, and watched it in the relative safety of my grandmother's Nintendo room (best ... grandma ... ever). I was a changed kid.


Even then I knew it wasn't a good film, per se, but it made me laugh uncontrollably. And there's no doubt it was educational, deflowering my little mind like so many early blooming camp counselors. I became a consumer of Kevin Smith, watching his films evolve, from sick-out relationship muse-fests to earnest discussions of things like faith. Films with actual plots. Then, perhaps inevitably, I watched them devolve again.


Clerks II is the tail end of a hyperbolic arc of sorts, where Kevin Smith has dabbled in all these things (having plots and junk) and eventually returned to just this: alternately talking about sex with irreverence and life with the utmost sincerity. What makes this iteration interesting, as far as it goes, is that the two main characters, Dante (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal (Jeff Anderson) have spent the 12 years since the first film doing the same stuff. Now, though, the weight of their respective ages is starting to hang on them, making it tougher to coast for years (decades) like they once did. That doesn't mean, of course, that they're going to stop coasting. Well, Dante kinda wants to, having shacked up with a girl who makes decisions for him and who has lined up a sweet management position for him at one of her father's car washes in Florida. So there's pre-mid-life-crisis friction, but it's a thin patina, a slightly cocked lens through which to re-evaluate Smith's vulgarity/sentimentality.


The second time I saw Clerks, years later, I was bored out of my mind, watching waves of overwritten dialogue smash against rocks of piss-poor acting. I'm not sure how Clerks II would make out on a second viewing, but probably about the same. O'Halloran and Anderson aren't better actors. In caricaturing their previous performance, to some extent, they're actually worse. Jason Mewes, though, is getting better, and this is perhaps the first time I've really enjoyed, rather than just laughed at, the Jay character. Smith has added absurdist elements and some effective slapstick, which makes the film surprising in parts. Elias (Trevor Fehrman), a gullible youth group kid, is the film's high point.


So, lukewarm praise, I suppose -- although Good Morning America's pun-packing critic, Joel Siegel, hated it enough to make it the first film he's ever walked out on. He walked out loudly, like the professional he is. So that's enough reason for me to endorse it. Further kudos, I guess, to Smith for still being able to offend people. And for still managing to teach me a thing or two about the unhygienic things New Jerseyites do between the sheets. (Take notes and hit up Wikipedia afterward. You'll be glad you did.)

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • OK, Hold Your Nose
  • OK, Hold Your Nose

    Everything you need to know before Election Day
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Base of Support
  • Base of Support

    Polling local leaders and opinion-makers about presidential politics
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • The Messenger
  • The Messenger

    Local leaders weigh in on how Donald Trump's campaign has impacted racism in America
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
Spokane Artist Trading Card Swap

Spokane Artist Trading Card Swap @ Boots Bakery & Lounge

Last Wednesday of every month

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Murrow's Nightmare

    Debate moderators need to be much more than an onstage prop to make our democracy work
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

election 2016


trail mix


Briefs


green zone


marijuana


Readers also liked…

  • Grading the Session
  • Grading the Session

    The Idaho Legislature made some wise decisions in Boise, but they still get a "C" for "crazy"
    • Apr 22, 2015
  • Hopeless for Heroin
  • Hopeless for Heroin

    As heroin deaths continue to rise in Washington state, what can a parent do to save a child from the depths of addiction?
    • Jul 29, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation