Continuing with this weeks theme of “gateways,” I’m going to talk about one of the biggest ones for me.
And no, that wasn’t a joke about Kevin Smith’s weight.
But let’s talk about Kevin Smith, the View Askewniverse, and the glory of Jay and Silent Bob.
I first came upon this Universe the way a lot people do. I saw Mallrats on TBS some rainy Saturday. I was maybe 11. I thought it was the funniest movie I had ever seen. A few years later, I found Dogma, and oh my God, did I love that movie. There are a lot of things about that movie that really speak to a fifteen year old liberal Catholic who still really, really loves the Church. It encourages questioning, but doesn’t dismiss faith and belief (or ideas as Smith would prefer you refer to them) as stupid.
Also, it had my all time top of the line Celebrity Crush Matt Damon in it as a sarcastic exiled angel of death who deconstructs the Walrus and The Carpenter as an indictment of organized religion.
Which is just objectively amazing on any and all levels.
When my dumb teenage brain finally put together that, “Hey, those Jay and Silent Bob guys are in both those movies,” and Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back, came out, well, that changed everything. Also, I watched a Clerks: The Animated Series marathon on Comedy Central one weekend. I eventually, like many artsy teenagers went through a phase where I thought that Chasing Amy was the deepest and most sensitive movie of all time. I tried to watch it again recently, and oof, it’s tough to get through. Although Jason Lee is pretty dope and the “Chasing Amy” speech that Silent Bob gives might be Smith’s best non joke based monologue. Clerks remains one of my favorite movies ever, because there’s just something really, really magical about it, and if you’ve ever worked retail, I just, it’s just amazing.
Clerks II doesn’t really hold up. I mean, I own the DVD. I’ve watched it more than once, but it’s just a tough watch, despite Jeff Anderson being completely wonderful.
Over time I’ve kind of outgrown Smith’s work. It just doesn’t really fit into my life and point of view anymore. I still haven’t seen Red State, and I probably won’t see Tusk. (Though I might carve out space for Yoga Hosers…) But it holds a special place for me, especially because Kevin’s personal story showed me that this was something that someone like me, who thought like me and had a background like mine could really do this. There’s a place in the world for characters to sit in a room and talk about pop culture in crazy minute detail.
That’s been an incredible gift to me.
Also, I’ve been spending the past ten years trying to curb the potty mouth I gained by watching all of Kevin’s movies as many times as I did in high school. Seriously. So much cursing.
Note: After I finished writing this post yesterday, Kevin announced that he has the funding together for Clerks 3, and it’s hard to not be a little bit underwhelmed by this. I don’t know if it’s a sign of maturity or what, but there was a time that this news would have sent me reeling for weeks on end. As it is, I’m kind of interested in seeing what Dante and Randal are up to, but mostly just, kind of over it. But still I mean, The View Askiewnaverse was a really big part of my life for a while, so I’ll definitely be checking out the movie.