Clerks

Scream Video Store

There are many reasons to mourn the end of the video store era. Our world of curated shops with mainstream and independent cinema is being replaced with narrow, short-term selections dictated by studio agreements with streaming services. We’re losing the system that allowed for interaction and exploration before the solitary trek to pop a tape in the VCR. We’re losing the world that allowed future creatives to meet, interact, and explore together – most famously, at Video Archives, where Quentin Tarantino clerked and shared his geekery with locals like actor/writer Danny Strong. But video stores also served many different functions in the medium. In movies, the video store is the place where geeks immerse themselves in their passion, where clerks gets creative or just condescending, where employees try to make romantic connections, and of course, the playground where characters could banter about anything and everything cinema. At least it lives on in films like the 9 below.

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Clerks_1

This Friday at Midnight, Kevin Smith‘s Clerks will return to Park City for a commemorative screening. The film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival 20 years ago, showing for the first time at the Holiday Village Cinema on January 22, 1994, at 10pm. Two more screenings were held the following week in the same theater, with a fourth and final appearance at the Egyptian. The festival guide entry, written by Bob Hawk (who would go on to be a producer on Chasing Amy), called it “the film equivalent of a garage band” and “an essentially serious work that refuses to take itself seriously.” According to John Pierson’s book Spike, Mike, Slackers and Dykes, the film was already in play ahead of the premiere, with an advance screening set up for Miramax in December. Although they would end up distributing Clerks, apparently Harvey Weinstein walked out after 15 minutes, allegedly because of the anti-smoking sequence. He later gave it another shot at the Egyptian following a build up of strong word of mouth and some very positive reviews, and was heard laughing this time. A deal was made quickly, and by the end of the fest Clerks also received the Filmmakers Trophy for the dramatic competition, sharing the award with Fresh. Smith’s career was born, and the rest is history. That history has had its ups and downs, of course, but whatever you think of the filmmaker and any of his works from the two decades since (especially this film’s terrible […]

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silent running drones

If you’re going to see Despicable Me 2 this weekend, there’s a good chance it’s because either you or your children mostly want to see the Minions. Who cares about Gru and the human children let alone whatever the plot is this time around when those little yellow blobs are running around causing trouble? This is just a hurdle until the spin-off movie that’s centered just on the Minions comes out next year. Why do we love them so much? Movies.com writer Perri Nemiroff gave a few likeminded reasons earlier this week, comparing them to pets and plush toys come to life. She also notes that their gibberish is always “immensely more entertaining than any line of human dialogue.” The lack of intelligible dialogue is the reason I believe they’re so popular, combined with their slapstick antics. They’re Keystone henchmen, basically, characters that continue the tradition of silent comedy well into the era of sound cinema. In fact, they are cinema, almost purely visual treats (without their gibberish and occasional English word they would still be as funny). They’re reportedly modeled after the Jawas from Star Wars and the Oompa Loompas from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, while Steve Carrell (the voice of Gru) believes the Minions “are as close to a modern day version of the Marx Brothers as I’ve seen.” One of the Marx Brothers in particular, for me. Harpo was one of the earliest figures in film to maintain the tradition of the dumbshow pantomime once […]

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CLERKS 2

Now that we’re past the point of established Hollywood talents going to fans for funding projects, is it only a matter of time before Kevin Smith reaches out to his cult following via Kickstarter? Not quite yet, and maybe he never will. Talking to Kim Masters on the KRCW radio program The Business, Smith admitted, “I love the idea and I want to do it so desperately, but I think I’ve missed the window based on the fact that I do have access to materials, I do have access to money.” Let’s not forget that Smith was almost a pioneer of feature film crowdfunding three years ago when he looked into the idea of fan-based financing for Red State, a creative departure for the director and one that even his friends at The Weinstein Co. weren’t interested in. Of course, the idea of him crowdfunding was blown out of proportion and the possibility was met with great disapproval on the web, not unlike what occurred more recently with Zach Braff’s campaign. One website in particular called Smith a “beggar,” which hit the filmmaker deep. He commented on that to Masters: The moment I saw that I froze. That high school part of me, the last vestiges of high school that said, “Oh, I care what other people think about me,” seized me… And, I can’t even remember the name of the website or the person that wrote it, but I do remember that it was the last moment of my life […]

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commentary-clerks

When given the chance, most sane people flee the colder areas of the country in favor of tropical locations in January. However, movie fans turn away from the dreadful selection of films in the marketplace and focus their attention to Park City, Utah, for the Sundance Film Festival. While our elite writers are checking out the many films at Sundance, it’s time for another commentary on a film’s commentary. The choice this week is Kevin Smith’s breakthrough picture Clerks. Clerks wasn’t discovered at Sundance, but it was a breakout hit at the festival in 1994. This week, let’s forget about the Red State auction shenanigans, feuds with Southwest Air, and various Twitter explosions. We can turn back the clock to 1995 when Smith sat down with his cohorts to record the commentary to what is possibly his best-known film. For fans of the film, and Smith’s career, much of the information might be repetitious. However, even if you’ve listened to the Clerks commentary before, there’s a few gems you might have forgotten or not noticed until now. And on to the commentary…

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Since we all have a million dollars, our minds are almost always tuned to the day dream of what kind of movie we’d make with all that loose cash just lying around (since banks do nothing but lose things). Would it be a romantic horror film? Would it be a silent action film? Would we blow of all of it on lighting and forget the other elements of production design? Probably. Fortunately, we’ve all had a few filmmakers tread before us in using their million bucks with efficiency and artistry. In a world where Michael Bay needs 200 suitcases full of $1m, these directors made it happen with only one of those suitcases (or no suitcases at all), and they created a lasting legacy despite their lack of foldin’ money. If they can do it, why not us? Here are 8 great films made for under a million dollars that we can all learn from. (And if you enter our contest sponsored by Doritos, you might actually win that $1m you need for all those lights.)

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, champion foosball player Kevin Smith joins us for the most sobering, introspective interview the man has given all week. Jokes aside, no topic is out of bounds, so we ask the tough questions about Sundance theatrics, taking Red State out on his own, his animosity toward critics, and retiring from filmmaking (but not from storytelling). If you’re a Smith fan, you’re probably already clicking Play. If you’re one of the people that lost some respect for the man during the past year, his appearance here will do a lot to earn it back. No, we don’t find time to review Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, but we do dig in for 105 minutes on the state of distribution, the future of his own films, and how it ties in to his past. Listen Here: Download This Episode

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Kevin Smith

We reported earlier in the day that Miramax was partnering with The Weinstein Company to create a slew of sequels from the movies that it already owns. It beats original ideas, that’s for sure. Now, director Kevin Smith has commented on the development with a level head: “If someone was going to exploit the library for sequels, remakes, TV, I’d rather it be the devil I know. Nice to know there’s a home for Clerks III if I ever wanted to make it, but hope it doesn’t become a home for a Clerks-anything if I’m not involved. Either way, I doubt my shit is even something they wanna re-do/remake. [Miramax owns] Clerks, Chasing Amy, Jersey Girl and Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back. But then it’s further complicated by the Jay & Silent Bob of it all. They don’t own Jay & Silent Bob; I do. They own Strike Back, but they can’t make any flick that’d include Jay & Silent Bob (even a Strike Back sequel) without my permission/license.” He then went on to give the best possible synopsis for a Jersey Girl sequel that could ever exist:

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It was sort of heartbreaking earlier in the year when The Weinstein Company failed to purchase Miramax back. It would have been a homecoming of sorts for both companies, and it promised a return to form for Miramax after struggling through the latter part of the 2000s with fewer titles (and far less edge). The two companies have announced the next best thing – a long-term partnership. Unfortunately, that partnership is built upon producing and releasing a blight on the cinematic community. The two companies plan on releasing sequels to long-forgotten titles. Unnecessary sequels are planned for Bad Santa, Rounders, and Shakespeare in Love. There’s something harmless about seeing Billy Bob Thornton back in the Santa suit, but do they expect to nab Matt Damon and Ed Norton back? Do they plan on getting Gwyneth Paltrow back into drag? Those aren’t necessary components, but without those main actor ties, the sequels – coming a decade late – would be In Name Only sequels. The worst case scenario is Miramax becoming the National Lampoon of indie companies.

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bluray-header

Aside from taking Dr. Cole Abaius’ advice to change the name of this column to ‘This Fortnight in Blu-ray,’ I can’t say that I’ve done much in the way of the HD format lately. So this week we’re back on the bus…

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KevinSmith

On the 16th anniversary of the first public screening of Clerks, we get personal with the man, the myth, the lunchbox as he rips his heart off his sleeve and slams it down on the table.

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Seth Rogen

Actor/Screenwriter Seth Rogen may have found his calling in the world of porn — and who can blame him.

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Zack and Miri Make a Porno

Kevin Smith has never been one to make a discreet film. Even a romantic comedy like Chasing Amy had Jason Lee introducing a child to bestiality magazines.

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ksmith

An article has recently been published in the Pennsylvania’s “Woodland Progress” indicating some newly found details about Kevin Smith’s newest film, Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Luckily, News Askew was there to debunk and confirm several rumors.

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Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith’s Wikipedia entry reveals a lot about who his friends really are…

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published: 10.30.2014
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published: 10.29.2014
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published: 10.27.2014
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published: 10.24.2014
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