Title: Clerks II
Posted: August 03, 2009 (09:18 AM)
Apparently I'm writing this under the impression that this was actually a movie that a lot of people have seen. I'm going to assume it's not, but I'm going to rant about it anyway. DISCLAIMER: This post will contain spoilers.
So the other night, I saw Clerks II on Comedy Central. I was happy because after seeing the sheer brilliance that is the cartoon, I thought the movies would be just as good.
I was wrong.
What followed was a series of degenerate, never ending sex jokes with references to the most disgusting things people can do to one another. And animals. While things like that can be funny in moderation, it's really not good if the whole film seems to revolve around it. That any one character can barely speak more than one sentence without saying some variation of "Fuck" or "shit" doesn't help, either.
Well, this isn't entirely true. The whole plot revolved around co-protagonist Dante Hicks leaving New Jersey to start a new life with his too-sexy-for-him blonde fiancÚ. Of course, it wouldn't be Clerks if the rest of the film didn't involve Randall and others effectively ruining that goal. Which is where the comedy comes in. The film does have its moments, most of which don't involve utterly disgusting behavior or innuendo. And it's these that are appreciated. The nerd obsessed with LotR and all the jabs that come as a result is almost priceless, for example.
That said, due to the nature and execution of the movie, it completely lacks the utter wittiness and genius that created the cartoon, even though both were probably created by many of the same people, and both certainly featured the same actors. I suppose I chalk this up to the film industry's notion of comedy which for whatever reason assumes that everyone thinks masturbation jokes, exotic sexual acts, toilet humor, and gutter mouths make for great laughs. Well, they don't. At least not when beaten to the point where even the flies won't touch it. I suppose this kind kind of comedy used in excess appeals to some people - I'm thinking stoners and morons, mainly - but to me, it's just... meh.
I'm quite glad I saw this on TV, because whether they say "uncut and uncensored" or not, they still cut and sensor things. And according to my brother, who saw the real thing, I'm not really missing much.
That said, this experience won't make me think less of the cartoon. I still find that to be one of the most brilliant animated series ever created, and it's a shame it tanked the way it did. And I'd still probably see the first Clerks film, in the hopes that it has a bit more substance than this one. And by substance, I mean better comedic value because "substance" by its usual definitiion doesn't really apply to comedy.
Title: Clerks I >> Clerks II
Posted: August 03, 2009 (09:34 AM)
Clerks is just funny. It's got a lot of good jokes, and while Randall is completely annoying, he makes good points about not whining too much about your lot in life, and it's hard not to laugh at how mean he is, especially when someone gives the "I'll report you to your manager" routine--but you still want to strangle him. The sex scene is funnier, too, because it's discussed off-camera.
Clerks II--well, let's just say that I am glad I got bored a bit and read the summary at work. I skipped the bit cut from TV. It just went over the top with the swearing, etc. Joel Siegel walked out during the big tasteless scene.
I watched both of them in a row and C2's ending felt in place once I saw C1. (Yes, it was a slow Friday afternoon at work. Yes, I stayed late anyway.)
Don't know how they relate to the cartoons, but yes, check out Clerks the movie if you haven't. Apparently the other View Askewniverse movies are good too. Though maybe they're what pulled you to Clerks in the first place.
Posted: August 03, 2009 (10:46 AM)
Yeah, Clerks is great. But to get the most out of the humour you probably need to have worked a menial low-paid job serving whiny ungrateful customers in a dead-end town.
Posted: August 03, 2009 (11:43 AM)
What they said. Clerks II was just vulgarity for its own sake, but the original is actually quite clever. Still VERY vulgar (it was almost the first movie to earn an NC-17 rating for language alone) but there's actual wit behind it. As opposed to, say, a guy sucking off a donkey.
Posted: August 03, 2009 (12:02 PM)
I concur. The first Clerks film is a classic, because underneath all the grime there's actually a message on life. Still the best Kevin Smith film BY FAR.
The show is alright. It gets a little silly at times and lacks the message that the first film has except where it can force it in with a shoe horn the size of the Mississippi.
The second film, from all accounts, is vulgar and stupid. I have very little interest in seeing it, especially after having seen other Kevin Smith films like Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and being utterly unimpressed.
Posted: August 03, 2009 (12:21 PM)
I think the reason that the second one sucks is that it's hard to make a movie about working a menial low-paid job serving whiny ungrateful customers in a dead-end town when you're actually a millionaire Hollywood film director.
Posted: August 03, 2009 (01:06 PM)
1) they may've just used up the really good bits in the first show
2) business decisions do affect how a movie gets made, and when people ask for more of the same, sometimes the writer does too good a job of it.
This has probably happened to each one of us where we had a well received review and wrote one we thought followed in its footsteps. That's 2) in the reviewing world and it happens despite best intentions--throw in the business side of Hollywood, and...ouch.
Posted: August 03, 2009 (02:58 PM)
From what I know about Kevin Smith he's a brilliant writer surrounded by terrible editors. So he consistently puts out projects that could've used a heavy editing hand.
Posted: August 03, 2009 (09:20 PM)
Actually, EmP's the one who got me into the series since he introduced me to the cartoon. He even recommended the films, but I never really asked for his opinions on them, so didn't really know what to expect.
Anyway, it's good to know the first film is better because if it was just like this one, I would've been very disappointed. That said, I still need to see the first one. Doubt any time soon, though; I don't really make time for movies. I just watch them when it's convenient, which usually means on TV or when my parents rent something.
Posted: August 04, 2009 (02:38 AM)
who is driving
oh bear is driving how can that be?
and is "At least not when beaten to the point where even the flies won't touch it." supposed to be some kind of masturbation joke?
Posted: August 04, 2009 (09:17 AM)
No; it's supposed to be a dead horse joke.
Posted: August 04, 2009 (10:04 AM)
BIG AMERICAN PARTY!
I think Clerks is one of the cleverest films I've seen; the strength is really in the long streams of dialogue exchanged between Dante and Randell centering around anything from designation of blame to freelance workers on the Deathstar. Though I didn't like it as much, I though the exchanges in the second were also brilliant, and I liked the ending theme of finally having to grow the hell up.
The animated series, though, is excellent. It doesn't even try to really have a theme running through it other than "Randall secretly hates Dante", and I'm fine with that when it's as funny as it is.
Posted: August 05, 2009 (11:19 AM)
I really should see the first, then.
But in regards to this one.... I dunno. To me, any "excellence" there is really buried under a mound of vulgarity and filth. However, I will agree about the ending, which is part of the reason I considered the second half of the film better than the first half. Randall's speech in prison actually felt like one of maybe two sincere events in the movie, as it overpowered all the excessive ridiculousness that had come before.
...I also found the whole racism thing in there to be hilarious, but that's just a minor detail, really.
But yes. THat cartoon is pure genius. I'm still really glad you showed me that.
Posted: August 05, 2009 (07:18 PM)
I recall preferring Clerks 2 to the first. The first had its indie schtick and newness, but I like films to be filmic, not smartass talkfests. And I probably blame Smith for influencing a pile of people to try to make films like Clerks, that were worse.
The second Clerks had a story, where the first was really a series of vignettes. The time that passed between the first and second films gave some resonance to the 2nd film's 'Is this all life has for us?' theme, and that also spoke to the audience who'd grown up by the same amount between the time of the two films.
Smith's a pretty poor director of all elements of film except how the people speak his dialogue, and has told us this himself. (Though I recall he felt he improved after Dogma.) Basically I don't like his films because they're all verbosity-driven, and the quips don't reach far enough into broader reality beyond Kevin Smith.
So actually, Clerks 2 is probably the Kevin Smith film I have liked the most. Which still isn't saying a huge amount. Just don't mention Jersey Girl.
I think Smith's best work was probably his advance review of Revenge of the Sith.