So if you’re a New Jersey resident, or you just happen to pay attention to Kevin Smith then you know that he’s at least written the title page of what he says will be his magnum opus, Clerks 3.
The first film was something of a revelation to its target audience, a movie that celebrates mockery of the most difficult part of being in the service industry: the customers. Like Falling Down if Michael Douglas hadn’t gone on a rampage and just complained to his friend about everything that annoys him. But the message wasn’t that there’s something seriously wrong with society, it was just saying, “Yeah, you’re right. You’re better than most people.” There was no social commentary beyond what two people might just converse about concerning society on a daily basis, and that only includes the people they encounter.
Since Clerks, Kevin Smith has made a smattering of different films, but they always seem to come back to that central theme that maybe you’re better than the people you constantly have to endure contact with. It’s just that for each film he does, it’s a different group of people that the main character’s must endure, and the wide range of emotions and principles those people represent. In Dogma it’s those out of touch with their faith, in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back it’s elitism and apathy, and in Red State it’s about rigid fundamentalism. Bear in mind this list in no way is meant to be insulting to the people who might feel the same way as the characters in the films do, but they are only meant as a means to present what happens when you abuse said principles, whether it be to your own ends or out of plain madness.
Of course Mr. Smith’s work as of late has been in steady decline. Cop Out was a mess and Red State was insulting on the senses at best and mind numbingly boring at worst. Zack and Miri Make a Porno was a funny, if forgettable, little film that had a hard time thinking of a really great joke past its rather unique premise. Dogma in my mind will always be his best film. For better or worse, Clerks and its spawn of Jay and Silent Bob films are what Smith does best. He’s at home in movies with light commentary on those who just trying to eke out a life in whatever way they feel is natural. So long as that theme continues on into what will eventually become the screenplay to Clerks 3, I have a feeling it will be alright. But hey, anything’s better than Red State.