Friday, May 12, 2023

Clerks III (2022)

Streaming Service: STARZ
Movie Name/Year: Clerks III (2022)
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Length:  1h 55min
Rating: R
Production/Distribution: View Askew Productions, BondIt Media Capital, Destro Films, SModcast Pictures, Eagle Pictures, Fathom Events, Lionsgate UK, Lionsgate, Metropolitan Filmexport, STARZ
Director: Kevin Smith
Writers: Kevin Smith
Actors: Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Rosario Dawson, Amy Sedaris, Austin Zajur, Bryan Johnson, Ben Affleck, Danny Trejo, Ernest O'Donnell, Ethan Suplee, Fred Armisen, Harley Quinn Smith, Jennifer Schwalbach Smith, Justin Long, Lisa Hampton, Marilyn Ghigliotti, Michael Belicose, Michelle Buteau,  Mike Zapcic, Ming Chen, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Scott Schiaffo, Trevor Fehrman, Walter Flanagan
IMDb Blurb: Dante, Elias, and Jay and Silent Bob are enlisted by Randal after a heart attack to make a movie about the convenience store that started it all.

Selina’s Point of View:
Kevin Smith is my favorite writer/director. As much as he’s known for his fart and dick humor, there’s more to it for me.  
My cousin gave me the VHS of Clerks (1994) one year for Channukah. I don’t remember what year, but I know I was entirely too young for it. I remember saying a polite ‘thank you,’ and then making a face when he wasn’t looking because I couldn’t understand why he’d given me some lame black-and-white movie.
The first time I watched it wasn’t even off of that VHS tape. It was sitting in the basement of a friend’s house with a Colt 45. A beer I was, also, way too young to be drinking. As bad as that sounds to an adult ear, we weren’t doing anything worse than that. We sat down there watching movies, spitting quotes at each other, and just kind of existing together.
At a time when I felt very much alone, bonding with those people over Clerks is one of the best memories of my teen years – and I don’t have a lot of those.
It’s not easy to discuss, but I’m pretty sure without Kevin Smith – and those people from the basement – I wouldn’t have made it to now.
I told Kevin Smith about it once, and he gave me a letter in response. I’d rather keep the contents of that letter to myself, but I’ve never lost track of it. I’ve moved across the state since then. Lost more things than I can count, but I know exactly where that piece of paper is.
Clerks was a life-changer for me. Clerks II didn’t have the same intense effect on my life, but I still enjoyed it. I’ve watched it a few times over the years, but I file it with most of Smith’s other works. Right alongside Mallrats (1995) and Dogma (1999).
I expected Clerks III to be a bit of a different beast. The trailer showed exactly how meta it was going to be – pulling from Smith’s heart attack and his experience making the original Clerks. I was super excited for it and ready to see it in theaters.
My daughter started pre-school though, and my entire family has had some form of the plague since. Most of the time we haven’t been fit for public consumption. So, I missed it’s run and then had to wait for streaming.

I could not have prepared myself for what I just watched.
Not only was it on the same level as the first Clerks, but it benefited from everything Kevin Smith has learned since he started his career. Randall’s heart attack was harrowing, and I haven’t ugly cried at a movie as much as I did at the end in a long time. I do think my personal history with the series was part of what caused that, but it was just as much the movie itself.
Clerks III was the perfect way to end the Clerks story. It paid homage to the original while still evolving into its own thing. I’m sad that I missed it in theaters, but maybe it was for the best – the ugly crying was truly a sight.
I do think that the people who would get the most out of Clerks III are fans of the original. It’s not the kind of sequel you can just jump into without watching what came first. You need that established relationship with the characters of the story.
If you do choose to watch Clerks III, you should watch the other two first. You can find Clerks on Paramount+ and Hoopla. Clerks II can be found on PlutoTV. Of course, all of them are available on Amazon for a fee.

Cat’s Point of View:
My family and I have long been big fans of Kevin Smith’s work We’ve seen every “Jay and Silent Bob” related movie and show - and some of those multiple times. I could babble on for quite a while but I will spare you most of my geek-out. (I’m practicing for when the Core-4 of the Clerks (1994) trilogy comes together with a few others from the Askewniverse family at Geek’d Con this summer. I will be working at the convention and doing my best to be a literal professional fangirl.) I digress…

I remember the first time I watched the original Clerks, it took me a minute to adjust to the black-and-white. I was worried my TV was busted or that I’d accidentally used the wrong setting or something like that. Was I even watching the right movie? My now-husband, who was sharing one of his favorite VHS tapes with me at the time (circa 1998), assured me that it was quite on purpose and urged me to hold on because it was going to get good in a minute. Shortly after that, I - much like when I watched an actual black-and-white TV when I was little - forgot that it wasn’t in color and I just enjoyed the story. 

Watching all the movies that have come after has been one of our “things” throughout the years. As soon as our daughter was old enough for the content, we shared our love for these movies with her as well. It was no wonder that I listed this as my #1 pick for September 2022’s Top 20.

I expected Clerks III to bring this trilogy full circle, as well as the legion of cameos involved. What I didn’t anticipate was the massive rollercoaster of feels that this story would take me on. I didn’t expect the tears. So many tears. I was ugly crying, there at the end. I felt like someone needed to shout CLEAR before the punch to the heart. 

This was a beautiful, hilarious, and poignant bookend to this saga. 

Clerks III took a deep dive into our own expectations for our life as we get older and assess what we’ve accomplished - and haven’t. We take a step back and see how some things have changed and also some remain the same. It questions what possibilities could lie ahead, as well as keeping its core focus of ride-or-die friendship, while also exploring the navigation of existential crisis and loss. Yeah. All of that in a Clerks movie while at the same time being damn funny.

It’s clear how Kevin Smith’s own life experiences colored this deeply personal story arc that tied together the first and last movies and even wove in the middle (as well as some of the other side-quests). He’s been very vocal about how his own heart attack changed his outlook on life and even has recently been speaking openly on the topic of mental health. (We need to normalize this, folks, and strip away the stigma. You can watch his YouTube video posted on People’s channel here.)

For anyone that hasn’t watched any of the Clerks movies yet, you’ll want to at the very least get the first 2 under your proverbial belt before taking on the final movie of this trilogy. For the completionists out there who want to be able to pick up every Easter Egg and reference to the View Askewniverse movies featuring Jay and Silent Bob, Screenrant published an article with a good chronological list. 
Of course these movies - and particularly this trilogy are about so much more than just Jay and Bob. Brian O'Halloran's Dante, Jeff Anderson's Randall, Rosario Dawson's Becky, and so many more new and old friends come together in this glorious finale, and I loved every minute of it.

Anyone who is already a fan will definitely want to watch Clerks III ASAP, if they haven’t already. This was my 2nd viewing - and I still cried just as hard - and it might not be my last. I feel like I owe a massive thank you to Kevin Smith for this crazy ride, and while this saga is seemingly ending - I can’t wait to see the stories he wants to tell next.
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 62%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score –93%
Metascore – 50%
Metacritic User Score – 4.7/10
IMDB Score – 6.3/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating – 5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 5/5
P.S. - There isn’t a mid or post-credits scene, however, there is a roughly 3 minute audio segment from Kevin Smith voiced over the end of the credits. In this segment, he offers an alternate ending and an epilogue to the story.  
Movie Trailer:

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