View Askew

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The similarities between Douglas Adams and Kevin Smith are uncanny. Douglas Adams is capable of writing silly situations that produce poignant insights and is best known for his five-part Hitchiker Trilogy. Kevin Smith writes films about people who talk about comic books and Star Wars but usually are very deep. He is known for his New Jersey Trilogy, part five of which will be released soon. His films are made under the name of View Askew Productions. They all contain numerous refferences to his favorite film Jaws, his favorite series, Star Wars, and his other films. What follows is a simple rundown of Smith's films.

CLERKS: His first movie was shot in Leonardo, New Jersey at the Quick Stop convenience mart and RST Videos. Kevin Smith was at the time working as a clerk in the mart and was only allowed to film after the store was closed. So, he had to write into his script an explanation for the steel shutters always being closed. The movie is shot simply in black and white and has no budget of any kind and was in fact mostly funded by credit cards and money borrowed from friends and family. Brian O'Halloran stars as Dante Hicks, working at the Quick Stop and possibly mirroring Smith's own Clerkin' experiences. His friend and associate from RST is Randall Graves who comes in late, closes whenever he likes, and spends most of his time reading the Quick Stop's porno mags. "Hey, I firmly believe in the idea of a ruling class. especially since I rule." Played by Jeff Anderson who had never acted prior to this and only acted again in the Clerks Animated Series and Dogma, about which more later. Also in the movie are the drug dealers Jay and Silent Bob played by Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith. In the picture, Dante is forced to come to work on his day off to watch the store. He is dating a girl named Veronica who wants him to go back to college but he can't stop thinking about Caitlin Brie, a girl he dated in high school who slept with other guys more than with him. Among these men is Rick Derris who comes into the store and tells Dante to his face that he used to f**k her. He is in the company of a girl called Heather Jones which may not seem particularly important, but it is, rest assured. A gum salesman starts the action off by rallying about a dozen smokers together to attack Dante by throwing cigarettes at him (the salesman also puts gum in the locks to the steel shutters, so Dante had to make a shoe-polish sign reading, "I Assure you WE;re opne!") He closes the store to play hockey on the roof and again to go to the funeral of a girl called Julie Dwyer, who died in a YMCA swimming pool. In between all this and various cries of, "I'm not even supoosed to be here today," Dante suffers more than one might reasonably expect. In the original but cut ending, in fact, Dante is shot and killed by a robber. He also finds that Caitlin Bree is getting married and that his girlfriend who only had sex with three people including him has given blowjobs to 36 other guys.

DANTE: Hey, my girlfriend sucked thirty-seven d**ks!
CUSTOMER: In a row?

Caitlin comes to see him to go out with him but not before going crazy as a result of accidentaly having sex with a dead guy in the Quick Stop bathroom. DOn't let the sex refferences and the naughty language fool you, this is a fabulous movie, no question. and far more successful than makes any reasonable sense. on the other end of the spectrum is...

MALLRATS: Clerks was a huge success, Mallrats was not. It was shot in a mall in Minnesota, set in Jersey and was hated by critics. It starred Almost Famous's Jason Lee as comic book-Sega-lover Brodie Bruce (cousin of RST Video's Randal). His girlfriend Rene, played by Shannon Doherty, dumps him on the very sensible ground of him being a loser. Meanwhile, his best friend T.S. Quinten (Jeremy London) had plans to take his girlfriend Brandi Svenning, (Claire Forlani) to Florida and propose to her on the Universal Studios tour.

T. S. : When Jaws jumps out of the water.
BRODIE: That't the most romantic thing I've ever heard.

unfortunately she can't go because she has to help her father by being a contestant on the new game show he's producing. The original contestant died while swimming at the YMCA. After T.s. told her that the camera adds ten pounds, Julie Dwyer (same girl as in Clerks) went nuts and tried to swim too many laps. They break up too. To console themselves, Brodie and TS got to a mall...

BRODIE: Hey, THE mall. Show some respect.

Very well, THE mall where, it turns out, the game show is being filmed. Brodie hatches a plan to hire two mischeif-makers to ruin the show. The fellows in question are none other than Jay and Silent Bob ,returning as they do in all the View Askew pictures. While they're busy doing that Brodie discovers that his ex is already with the owner of the store Fashionable Male, Shannon Hamilton, played by Ben Affleck. Both men embark on seperate missions to win back the loves of their lives but it's not until a topless psychic, Spiderman creator Stan Lee, and the combination of their forces, (not to mention help from Jay and Silent Bob) that they succeed. Also of invaluabe assistance is Tricia Jones. She's Heather's little sister and only fifteen years old, but a senior. She's writing a book about the male sex drive and used Shannon as research, which literally bites him in the ass at the end. Also appearing is Joey Lauren Adams (Smith's old girl friend) as Gwen Turner, a refference to Guenivere turner, Smih's friend. They mention a time when Gwen and rick Derris had sex on a pool table. At the game show, T.S. and Brodie get Jay to drug two out of three contestants so that they can take their places. the remaining contestant is named Gil Hicks (related to Dante) and is played by Brian O'Halloran. A cute film.

CHASING AMY: This was the big one. His most acclaimed movie yet. A mature comedy about sex and comic books. Ben Affleck and Jason Lee play Holden McNeil and Banky Edwards(who is not a tracer) respectively, the artists of a comic book called Bluntman and Chronic (based on Jay and Silent Bob) who meet the creator of a chick-book named Alyssa "Fingercuffs" Jones (sister of Heather and Tricia) played by Joey Lauren Adams, and whose best friend, Caitlin Bree, had sex with a dead guy in the back of the Quick Stop. Holden instantly falls in love with her and is therefore quite naturally freaked upon learning that she is a lesbian. banky is of no help whatsoever, more interested in learning first hand about lesbian sex than in talking to his friend about it. Naturally, he thinks Holden is nuts.

Banky(re-drawing): Alright, now see this? This is a four-way road,
OK? And dead in the center is a crisp, new, hundred dollar bill.
Now, at the end of each of these streets are four people, OK?
Are you following?
Holden: Yeah.
Banky: Good. Over here, we have a male-affectionate, easy to get
along with, non-political agenda lesbian. Down here, we have a
man-hating, angry as f**k, agenda of rage, bitter d*ke. Over
here, we got Santa Claus, and up here the Easter Bunny. Which
one is going to get to the hundred dollar bill first?
Holden: What is this supposed to prove?
Banky: No, I'm serious. This is a serious exercise. It's like an SAT
question. Which one is going to get to the hundred dollar bill
first? The male-friendly lesbian, the man-hating d*ke, Santa
Claus, or the Easter bunny?
Holden: The man-hating d*ke.
Banky: Good. Why?
Holden: I don't know.
Banky: Because the other three are figments of your f**king

It isn't until Alyssa and Holden sleep together that things get a little wierd. She said that since she never saw a good example of a male-female relationship, it never made sense to her to automatically eliminate all women from her list of possible soulmates. So she didn't, but then she fell in love with Holden and feels justifyed that she got here on her own terms. Unfortunately for Holden, she has been numerous other places as well. She had sex with Gwen Turner (from Mallrats, played by Adams as well, remember?) in the back of a limo. She let Shannon Hamilton (Mallrats, Affleck) videotape them having sex. She earned the name finger cuffs by blowing Rick Derris while a Mr. Cohee something f**ked her. She wanted to try everything, and having tried everything decides that all she wants is Holden. Seems reasonable, but Holden can't accept her past. The fact that Banky hates and resents her isn't making it any easier. Smith has said that after Clerks was over-praised and Mallrats was over-abashed that it was easy to make chasing Amy an honest film. At one point in the film Holden says that he'll write something personal when he has something personal to say. Toward the end of the movie, Silent Bob surprises all by delivering a monologue explaining the title Chasing Amy. This allows Smith to break character a minute to explain his real life experience with the film's star Joey Lauren Adams. NOTE: Banky mentions having a sexual relationship with (or at least constantly going down on) Brandi Svenning from Mallrats. Great f**kin' film.

DOGMA: Boy, oh boy. Did Kevin ever get heat for this one. It was originally going to be released right after Clerks, but he felt he wasn't mature enough to do this fantasy justice. He wrote it when he was having some serious questions about his own faith. And though it did not presume to reveal any clear cut answers, writing the movie did help Smtih find some answers of his own. The Catholic Church hated the movie because of the way it depicted them throught the character Cardinal Glick, portrayed by comedian George Carlin. In the movie, Linda Fiorentino plays Bethany Sloan a woman who, since an incident resulting in her inability to have children and her divorce, has all but given up on God. Then one night an angel (Metatron, the voice of God; Alan Rickman) appears in her room and tells her that she is to be charged with a holy crusade. That eons ago two angels names Bartleby and Loki (Ben Affleck and Matt Damon) were banished from heaven.

BETHANY: Were they sent to Hell?
METATRON: Worse. Wisconsin.

And now they may have found a way back in. But, since God is infallible, proving Him wrong would unmake reality. The Catholic church has brought back Plenary indulgence, a process which gives all who enter a speciffic church a morally clean slate. the angels intend to pass through this arch and die. In short, if they go into the church, the universe will end. On her way, Bethany meets Jay and Silent Bob, now supposedly prophets, Chris Rock as Rufus, the 13th Apostle;

BETHANY: You knew Christ?
RUFUS: Knew him? Brother owes me twelve bucks.

A muse named Serenndipity and played by Salma Hayek, and a demon made entirely out of human feces. Through the sojourn, she learns about her faith and in much the same way as Smith did, finds peace with her creator. The film also stars Jason Lee as the demon Azrael and Alanis Morisette as God. Jeff Anderson, (Randal) plays a gun salesman and Brian O'Halloran returns to his Hicks roots as reporter Grant Hicks. Guenivere Turner (who also made a brief appearance in Chasing Amy and provided the namesake of Gwen Turner from Mallrats) appears again and Dwight Ewell, (Hooper from CHasing Amy, who I forgot to mention earlier was the gay black comic book artist who befriends Holden and Banky) makes an appearance as a gang leader. On a train Jay and Silent Bob tell their new friends about the following incident, "So we were in this mall, and we tied tubby [Bob] to the ceiling. and he went flyin.." There is also a passing refference to the quick Stop. His best yet.

CLERKS: THE ANIMATED SERIES: It premiered on ABC early this year and was canceled after two shows. The original cast returned to do the voices (even Silent Bob) and also on hand was Alec Baldwin as some kind of evil overlord. It is possilbe that the show was unsuccessful because the very essence of Clerks was it's black-and-white, cheaply made, dull look. Making it vivid and animated ruined all that. Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK:Next to nothing is known about this movie. All that is known is a few cast members, the fact that Smtih is writing and directing it, and that it is definitely the last New Jersey movie. Ben Affleck will be reprising his role from Chasing Amy (and possibly from Mallrats), Jason Lee will be reprising his roles from Mallrats and Chasing Amy, and Brian O'Halloran and Jeff Anderson are reprising their roles from Clerks. Based on this, it is easy to assume that view Askew 5 is a film that will bring together the first four films. Of course, Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith return for one final stint as Jay and Silent Bob, who now take the helm of the picture in a road trip type scenario.

His next project is the new Fletch movie, which will not be part of the "View Askewniverse" and therefore not include Jay and Silent Bob. I hope I have been informative on all things View Askew and advise you to go to if you are interested in more Kevin Smith.


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