Kevin Smith Let Me Down

by Alan J. Claffie

Not that we're trying to be one of those influential blogs that regularly reviews movies and, a result, gets free movies sent to them every week by the big studios (hint hint), but we saw a movie recently that needs commenting upon.

But first, to revisit some old news - and considering how long it's been since we last contributed here, it's real old news. But after the election, Al Smith lost and now he's leaving town, off to South Carolina. Here's fair warning to those down that way: if he decides to get into politics in his new digs, unplug your phone.

We haven't done anything about trying to convince higher-ups in government that we need to do something about the do-not-call list and, unless we suddenly get a rash of unwanted calls in a short period, we probably won't. Welcome to another exciting episode of Short Attention Span Theater.

This brings us to this week's (?) subject: "Clerks II". We loved the original: it was fresh, different, irreverent, etc etc. Kevin Smith went on to do more movies, most of which now have places of honor on the DVD rack ("Mallrats" is probably the numero uno favorite).

As Smith got better at moviemaking, though, his flicks changed. They got talkey (making "Chasing Amy" all but unwatchable), and they got preachy (ditto for "Dogma"). I can live with that as people have to mature and grow in their chosen field.

But you can't go home again, and Smith proved that by attempting to follow-up "Clerks".

I liked the film, but there were a few things that bugged me about it. For starters, it seemed to spend too much time getting bogged down in Smith's now-trademark long, drawn-out conversations. After a while I got tired of hearing about the Transformers toys.

But what really got me was the fact that the whole script seemed to be the result of a contest to see who could cram the most F-bombs into a hundred-minute timespan. I'm no prude, I don't usually get bugged by bad language, but there were stretches where the dropping that word was so gratuitous, it seemed that the writer must have had a quota to meet.

It didn't help that the cast, Dante's now-ex-fiance in particular, made the word sound so forced for as many times as she said it that it took on a life of its own and the viewer almost felt compelled to try and keep track of how many times she said it in casual conversation where such profanity really wouldn't be necessary in real life.

I know the movie was rated "R", and bad language should be expected, especially from Smith, but it just seemed so forced this time, like Smith figured since he could do it, he might as well get his money's worth.

It's not like the South Park episode where they broke the "S" word into basic cable by basically filling a half an hour with little else. After a while you just get tired of hearing it and wondering if the writer had anything else to say other than the swears.

This wasn't supposed to be a rant against bad language but it seems to have turned out that way. I just wanted to point out that "Clerks II" was much anticipated but didn't live up to the original. Seems Mr. Smith got tired of making grown-up movies and try revisiting a concept he already pulled off quite successfully back when nobody heard of him. Maybe he should stick with making grown-up movies these days.

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