The 1994 film Clerks was a critical and financial success. It only cost twenty-six thousand dollars to make, maxing out the writer/director Kevin Smith’s credit cards. With Clerks, Kevin Smith kicked off a new generation of independent filmmakers making movies with their friends. It also captured a zeitgeist that hadn’t let up involving this director or his films. It became a huge hit with fans as the years passed, spawning not one but two sequels. The less I talk about the second film, the better. The third film is much more on par with the original, which by default, is better than the sequel.
Dante and Randall (Brian O’Halloran and Jeff Anderson) have aged a little, but their witty repartee will never get old. They continue discussing Star Wars and bicker like husband and wife. The only difference is that the video store is closed, and Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith) have opened a smoke shop next door. They still hang out outside the Quick Stop, and if you catch them on the right day, Jay might say, “Smoochy brooches bitches,” his catchphrase. Things haven’t changed that much in 28 years.
A Clerks movie wouldn’t be a Clerks movie if Kevin Smith, also the director (as if you didn’t know that by now), didn’t bring back a bunch of his old buddies that he had worked with before and were in the original film. The way he chose to do that was to audition actors for a movie Randall was making about his life. So the habitual lineup of actors on a stage came through one after the other. The ladies, Veronica (Marilyn Ghigliotti) and Becky Scott (Rosario Dawson), that appeared in the other films, were also back. Smith pulled out all the stops for cameos and surprise guest appearances in this film.
The through line in the film is about growing older and wiser, and with that also comes being more mature and acting like an adult. These guys have been able to do what they want and act and say what they want for almost thirty years. The time has come for them to grow up and stop acting like children. When Silent Bob has to speak up about this, you know you have a problem. That’s a theme I think many people can adopt these days, especially involving social media.
It’s so good to see Smith and company handling mature topics in this film while keeping it funny and lighthearted. The humor we know from the previous installments is here in full force. The mix of dramatic, more serious moments balances those out. These topics were an inevitable conclusion to what is an indie darling that needed some closer in the best kind of way. Everybody was all in on the story, and it was good to see this film be what we, the fans and critics, would want to see. We didn’t know what we would get, but it ended up being what we didn’t know we needed.
Clerks III was a delightful conclusion to a trilogy that no one knew they would get. The actors all came to play with their A-Game, and the mature topics Smith and company brought to this film worked in spades. The balance of humor and drama worked very well while keeping the original film’s true nature. I was thoroughly and pleasantly surprised by how much I gravitated toward this story and the adult themes it discusses. We all get old, and we need to accept that gracefully, and Smith dealt with that perfectly in the third and final installment of this trilogy.
Dan Skip Allen
Sean Boelman Founder/EIC disappointment media