Saturday, January 14, 2006

TRAILERS: ORIGINAL INDEPENDENTS CHECK BACK IN



Some of you were done with Kevin Smith after Mallrats. For others, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was the final nail. And I know one or two Smith fans who saw Jersey Girl as a limp concession to the mainstream. (Smith has original "indie" cred, sure, but has he ever really been anything other than mainstream? And by the way, I find that short-cut word "indie" really annoying...)

Personally, I found Mallrats much more interesting the second time around-- it may be the only movie in existence to have actually been almost completely redeemed by a DVD, specifically a DVD commentary track. I know that at times Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back is almost unbearably broad and self-referential, and in those moments of desperation the movie makes you feel that Smith has perhaps gone back to the trough one too many times with these characters. But the movie is head-spinningly silly, disarmingly nasty and, yes, frequently hilarious as well, attributes which, for a filmmaker like Smith, can paper over a lot of cracks and bumps. And as for Jersey Girl, I know the View Askew acolytes probably didn't know what to do with Smith in sincere (PG-13) mode. But I also know new fathers (like me), as well as folks without children, who appreciated the movie's relatively sentimental (but still sometimes barbed) trajectory, and who found that the movie worked far better than some of the cliched situations (like Ben Affleck racing to make it in time for his daughter's school performance, for instance, and fighting off all conceivable manner of roadway obstacles) would seem to allow.

But now Smith fans, as we did in 2001 when Jay and Silent Bob struck back, must again face the question: is it possible that Kevin Smith may have run out of things to say? And if the movie is funny, will it even matter? These questions, and a few others, may tumble around in your head as you take a look at the new teaser for Smith's upcoming sequel Clerks 2. Hard to tell from the trailer itself whether the original, much funnier title-- seen above-- has been abandoned. And whether or not there are any jabs at Mel Gibson, religious mania, or religious movies within Smith's sequel is (at least by me) unknown. However, the new movie looks to be candy-bright, just like Jay and Silent Bob, apparently jam-packed with familiar faces in (presumably) cameo appearances, and it features new (and always lovely) cast member Rosario Dawson, almost never a bad thing (not even in Men in Black II.) It is strange to see Randall and Dante, a little older, a little wider (that's not a typo), still hanging around Jersey, but now in living color. And who knows-- the movie may be the final nail for a few more Smith fans, maybe even me. But then again, it might just be funny as hell, and that, even as we look back at the peaks of Chasing Amy and Dogma, might still be enough. (Thanks, Sal, for the link!)

And while we're talking about trailers, this one almost drove my wife insane with glee when she stumbled upon it this evening. I'm not sure how Steven Soderbergh's Bubble (to be released simultaneously January 27 in theaters, on DVD, and on-line) could possibly live up to the zany cubist cornucopia of the trailer, which depicts the various stages in the construction of a child's doll (a whole lot of them) scored to a hysterical, contrapuntal classical track that layers in a veneer of sinister purpose to the inexplicably funny imagery. But then again, I've not yet seen Schizopolis...

7 comments:

aaron w graham said...

I'm strangely looking forward to 'Clerks 2', even though i'm not an admirer of Smith or even the original 'Clerks' [my favorite being -- what else -- 'Chasing Amy']. I'd rather him settle complacently into making these little Jay and Silent Bob comedies all his life, which are almost always hysterical, than spreading himself so thin with works like 'Jersey Girl'. I'm hoping he'll tackle 'Fletch' and rejuvenate that treasure trove of material. Surely Jason Lee is a big enough star to appease the movie studios now that he's in an Emmy Award winning television series.

blaaagh said...

I'm with you, machinegunmccain: I didn't go crazy for "Clerks," after all the buildup--I just saw it at last about a year ago--but I did love "Chasing Amy" and I liked "Dogma" quite a lot. Still, I, too, am for some reason looking forward to "Clerks 2." However, I did think "Jersey Girl" was a pretty good romantic comedy, far more enjoyable than most, and once again Kevin Smith performed his strange magic trick which transforms Ben Affleck into a decent actor, but only in Smith movies. I can't get the "Bubble" trailer to play...yet.

Thom McGregor said...

I wasn't interested in "Jersey Girl" so I didn't see it, but I'm a huge "Clerks" fan, from when it first came out and I captioned it with my friend Andy at work. I don't know if going back to that will work for Kevin Smith, but I always like him. Oh, my brain is not working tonight. Writing like infant. Bad.

Thom McGregor said...

Oh, and anyone who feels in the need for a quick absurd laugh, PLEASE watch that "Bubble" trailer! Angie, you especially, if you're reading.

Dave Robidenza said...

Clerks is still my favorite Smith film (I have all but Jersey Girl on DVD) and while I've got some hope that Clerks 2 (for which he really needs to restore the subtitle "Hardly Clerkin'") might be enjoyable, I'm not betting the farm on it. Smith's like another director whose breakthrough film launched him into unimaginable success yet left him out of touch with what made his early film work so well (*cough*Luca$$*cough*). That said, I'm a fan of the Clerks cartoon series, so maybe making Dante and Randall the center of the View Askewniverse again, he'll bring back some of that black-and-white magic.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Dave: I hope so. I think I'd buy what Machine Gun said above-- at this point, I don't think I'd be bothered one bit if Smith settled in and made a string of movies with these guys that could be his generation's equivalent of the Abbott and Costello series, or a nice run of Hope and Crosby "Road" movies. It's a lot easier to enjoy Smith when you're not worrying about whether he's gonna expand from the independent movement like his colleague, Steven Soderbergh, did, or crash and burn like the relentlessly mediocre Edward Burns, another Sundance darling, whose prize-winning "The Brothers McMullen" clearly signaled what he had to offer as a writer-director... which is why it's been a good, long while since anyone has even bothered to ask, "Whatever happened to Edward Burns?"

p.saga said...

Ugh, not another Kevin Smith movie, and a sequel no less! The CLERKS 2 trailer just makes me cringe. I belong to the Checked-out-after-JAY-AND-SILENT-BOB club.

I refer you to my Jay vs. Jason answer on the Christmas quiz for more background. Call it karmic, but shortly after submitting that answer, I showed up at a barbecue where the boys had promised to serve up a classic western on DVD (and grilled onions and potatoes to offset all the icky steak). Before I got to sink my teeth into THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, however, I gagged my way through CLERKS one last time. It must have been a vicarious appreciation I once had (and, alas, have no more) for that cutesy indie flick.

I think I still like DOGMA though. That is, until God shows up toward the end, at which point I seethe with... with... Ugh! God is so annoying!

And I remember genuinely enjoying AN EVENING WITH KEVIN SMITH. Very funny guy when he's not directing or acting Silent Bob. What happens in translation?

Not trying to burst y'all's bubble.

BUBBLE. Now we're talking, with THAT trailer! Count me in! Suddenly I want to curl up with sex, lies, videotape and SCHIZOPOLIS...