'Clerks 3' by Kevin Smith Review: An homage to filmmaking

in Movies & TV Shows2 months ago


Kevin Smith hasn't particularly surprised me in recent years with his reboots of prior creations. Often riddled with pop culture references and just throwing jobs at his daughter so she can make it into Hollywood carrying from his success. I've found it quite strange that Hollywood has even considered throwing money at him for these films given their insane risk to reward agenda that has been increasing quite drastically. Pushing down creative and unlikely to profit films in pursuit of lazy films. Though the Jay & Silent Bob reboot felt precisely like that. Being nothing more than a reboot to pass down to the torch, again to his daughter cast in the film. Offering nothing new and saying nothing of merit over its runtime. When I saw Clerks 3 on Amazon Prime, I assumed the worst immediately. Looking back at that awful reboot sequel film and curious as to how terrible this would also be. Expecting the same structure and lack of soul.

While Clerks 3 did have a bit of Kevin Smith's annoying side, it surprised me and really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Rather than following the annoying reboot and sequel structure of modern films that Hollywood got addicted to throwing out for a few years, this felt a little bit different. Instead being an homage to the first film. More than a passing of the torch or soulless sequel, it did something new while looping back to the original, being a film that seemed really aware of itself, acknowledging the time that has passed, the friendships made back then, and the whole fun of being a filmmaker with a ton of ambition, and energetic youth to guide them all into a world of creativity. This isn't to say the film doesn't have a few weaknesses as well, but that it felt fresh and was a surprise that seemed unlikely in today's climate. A bit matured, with life lessons learned, from the perspective of a man that came close to death.

Clerks 3


Kevin Smith suffered a pretty aggressive heart attack a few years ago as a result of neglect over his body throughout the years. Being a relatively large guy and not having the greatest diet. Smith, however, was incredibly lucky to have survived. And his survival has certainly shaped the way he sees the world and art as the realisation of his age and inevitable death came shortly after. While I disliked the reboot to Jay & Silent Bob, I had seen a few posts on social media from the director as he openly discussed the changes he was making to his lifestyle and how thankful he was to have been given another chance at life. The film handled a few of these ideas, but Clerks 3 feels a lot more personal, more deeply connected to this event that shaped his future. So much so that Smith wrote in this event into Clerks 3 and mentions it throughout. Serving as a call to action for one of our characters. Old, still working the same job, still referencing the same great movies they love, these characters get a wake-up call when one suffers a heart attack, leading to the epiphany that they're growing old and haven't quite lived.

This call to action having survived a heart attack serves as our loop back to the first film. This third film being the making-of of Clerks. The inspiration to Witte, direct, and star in a film about their lives to create something to leave behind. Telling the stories of their own actions and discussions from day-to-day. If you saw Clerks, it was pretty much that. Pop culture influence, the struggles of life and the mundane moments that come from working in a boring job that keeps one idle. Left only to really gossip and talk to those around. Being shot in one location for the most part, and showing how many cast characters and stories come through. Even this is referenced at one point as Silent Bob becomes, well, not-so-silent Bob. Analysing the directing choices of their film. Though beyond the characters is an analysation and homage to their initial creation, as each of these actors and filmmakers reach into their 50's. Now, this does mean the film has many nostalgic undertones to it, but they're done very well, and so personal.

Though the film does take a bit of time to get to this more personal story. The first thirty or so minutes of the film really struggled to pull me in. Starting off which what felt like Kevin Smith trying to be cool and young by essentially shilling his own NFT project. With characters that are referencing blockchain tech, NFTs, and even an insufferable cameo featuring a real YouTube e-celeb in the crypto space. I cannot stand crypto references in media, either coming off desperate and advertising something slimy, or just seeming totally out of touch and cringe inducing. It felt like both. Though fortunately these references and characters quickly fuck off into nothingness and don't seem to be mentioned again. But, really? There was no need for any of it and it didn't have any impact on the film's story. It was just Kevin Smith just showing what he's up to these days.

Fortunately, most of the characters in Clerks 3 are characters we have seen before. And there's very little of anyone new in it. So much so, that the film has dialogue and jokes about how it isn't diverse at all, being a cast of mostly white males. There's no forced diversity in this, no passing down of the torch, and it works in the film's favour a lot. You see characters you saw before and enjoyed, but they genuinely do seem unchanged. Only seeing growth through events in the story, such as our aforementioned call to action. I liked how this was done, rejecting the soulless reboot structure and instead seeming like an actual sequel. Not to forget that it was actually quite funny in parts. The writing was pretty good and seemed within the scope of its prior films. But perhaps this was because Kevin Smith was with the people where it all really began. Where he and his friends got together one last time to remember where it al started, and to enjoy paying homage to it as they connected this story to the first. Trying to be respectful to it, while reminiscing of the past, together.

Some of this is reflected in the directing and cinematography, where the film will often switch from colour digital to what seemed like film stock and black and white. Often for the scenes that were supposedly them making the first Clerks film. The visuals were pretty good here, and there were a few fun filmmaking techniques and perspectives of the whole behind the scenes nature of filmmaking. To which the film also highly celebrates. Somewhat reminding us that if we love film, it isn't just to watch it and talk about it, but to grab a camera ourselves and create. To take inspiration from what we have seen and try to tell our own stories. Even if we don't have the money, it can still work. Which is the true case of the first Clerks film, created on a few thousand dollars and with a ton of passion for filmmaking. And while the film is about Kevin Smith's heart attack and awakening, the film is also about the magic of filmmaking. A reminder to not just sit and reference films you like all your life, but to get outside and make them.

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Wow, this is a really good review, I had no idea that this one wasn't yet another mindless reboot/ cashgrab. I think after South Park brought out their 'member berries' it really put all those reboots on blast, and showed them for what they are.

I've always liked Kevin Smith, I only recently watch Dogma and was delighted to see that it still holds up. I liked the first Clerks film, but the thing I liked more about it was the fact that anyone could do it, so long as what they lack in budget, they make up for with passion and inspiration.

I haven't seen this one, but it does sound good, so I think I'l give it a watch.

Also, funny you should mention the NFT and Crypto references. I find that films are at a disadvantage when trying to be topical, since whatever they reference in a film script is most likely a year or two outdated by time the movie hits the big screen.

I do like that aside from the potentially slimy references, the film has a 'heart' !LOLZ (Sorry Kevin smith) and is telling a real story.


I wish I could clean mirrors for a living.
It's just something I can see myself doing.

Credit: reddit
@namiks, I sent you an $LOLZ on behalf of @killerwot



He definitely went through a bit of a weird phase with the massive rise of Marvel and DC. He's definitely just a huge nerd at heart but I think it sort of swayed him a bit too much. He's a very solid filmmaker and I think he's capable of doing much more, I just sort of which he'd stop pushing his daughter so much. A lot of his recent stuff feels like they only exist to give her a career. That recent pattern definitely had me expecting the worst of Clerks 3.

That heart attack he suffered clearly has influenced him to do more though, so I can't fault him there. Making things with friends, looking back at the old times, and pushing forward with new ideas. Even if some of the films are weak, there's something very human behind why they exist. :)