The Clerks / Clerks 2 Convenience Store clerks Randall (Jeff Anderson) and Dante (Brian O’Halloran) have, unexpectedly, gotten old. Sure, now they are owners of the Quick Stop, but more has stayed the same in their lives than has changed. They are both still single (tho Dante is now a widower, with Becky (Rosario Dawson) having died between films). They are still obsessed with movies, sports, and pop culture. And they are still surrounded by New Jersey wackos (trust me, these characters have nothing on the real central NJ weirdos) including Jay (Jay Mewes), Silent Bob (Kevin Smith), Elias (Trevor Fehrman) and more. Jay and Silent Bob have graduated from selling street drugs to go legit, owning a dispensary next door. Fate intervenes in the banality of Randall’s life by hitting him with a ‘widow maker’ heart attack, giving him new perspective and a desire to make movies instead of just watching them. With Dante producing, and Silent Bob (!) directing, they begin production of “Inconvenience”, paralleling the original Clerks and recreating many of the scenes shot for shot. As production continues tho their friendship begins to falter, with Randall’s obsession and ego spiraling out of control.
The Production: 4.5/5
Tom Wolfe famously said “You can’t go home again” but if there is any artist who makes a lie of that it is Kevin Smith. Leveraging his own life experiences including a heart attack, marriage and growing up, Smith imagines his alter egos following some of his own trails. Much has been made of Clerk 3’s “fan service”, and yes there are more call backs, remakes, revisions and echos here than any other film I can think of (Thanks for revisiting Posten’s funeral home in Atlantic Highlands Kevin! My family no longer owns it but we are still very proud of it and seeing it in your films brings a smile). I wasn’t bothered by these repeats at all, they felt more like an encore than a rip-off.
And Jersey does weird. We always have. 30 years later and weird characters are even weirder than they were the first time around. And the weird starts to seep into other pockets too, witness Elias’ transformations throughout Clerks 3 and the introduction of new weirdness like Blockchain Coltrane (Austin Zajur) and the embracing of 2020s weird like NFTs and legal drugs. Nobody can highlight Jersey’s weirdness like Smith and still do it with love, not mocking.
But it’s the heart (no pun) within the characters that elevates Clerks 3 above the irreverent banter and pop culture references. Randall and Dante have been through a ton in their lives and are lucky enough to have each other as best friends. It might take a few trips to the hospital to get them to recognize how special they are to each other, but it’s always been there.
3D Rating: NA
Per DP Learan Kahanov “Our main camera body was the Red Ranger (with Monstro chip), and our B cam was the Red Weapon (DSCM2).”
DP Chat: Learan Kahanov on Shooting Kevin Smith’s Clerks III
Based on the upgrades to video capture and coloring, Clerks 3 is the sharpest and most colorful of the series by far. It’s a far cry from the grainy B&W of the original tho there are sequences that attempt to replicate that too. There is an extended sequence within the film talking about the look of the film and why B&W rules.
Overall for a lower budget national release Clerks 3 looks great without being on the cutting edge.
Dialogue heavy with a few pushes of stereo music into the sides and rears makes Atmos a bit of overkill here, but it’s still appreciated. Dialogue is crisp, clean and fun, and the song choices are always on point. Miss Sally Walk and Just Breathe really hit gut punches.
Special Features: 5/5
If you are a View Askew / Kevin Smith fam… THIS is the disk you have been waiting for. You’ll spend hours digging through it all. And every character gets their shot in the spotlight.
- Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Kevin Smith, Actors Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Trevor Fehrman and Austin Zajur
- The Clerks III Documentary
- We’re Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today: 3 Decades of Clerks Documentary
- Deleted and Alternate Scenes
At times hilarious, nostalgic, loving, and tragic Clerks 3 is more than just a collection of Smith’s greatest hits, it’s the culmination and perhaps capstone of the Quick Stop epoch. And we haven’t even mentioned the parts played by Jay and Silent Bob, Dante’s mourning of Becky, or new perspectives on old arguments like the building services Storm Troopers are expected to provide. Personally I found a lot to love here and it hit me in the feels way deeper than I expected from a Clerks film. The truth is Smith has matured as an artist, plus the tools he has to work with are more mainstream and his cadre of cast and crew have grown too. There’s not much more to say than that is entirely satisfying and gratifying to see, both as someone from the area and who has been cheering for his success from the start.
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