Film - Clerks III

Containing huge [but necessary - Ed] plot spoilers, Steve Taylor-Bryant gets emotional watching Clerks III, out now on Digital and coming to DVD/Blu-ray on December 26th, thanks to Lionsgate UK ...

Additional Caution: There will be spoilers for Clerks III AND love for Yoga Hosers in this review [Sorry! - Ed] ...

“I’m not even supposed to be here today”

I am a fan of Kevin Smith. I can find enjoyment in even the stuff that people don’t appreciate. Red State is a fantastic and tense thriller, and I still quote Yoga Hosers to my work colleagues now, even though Human Resources have told me to stop, but it's the films involving Jay and Silent Bob that I return to most. Clerks was like lightning in a bottle, a tiny black and white film that I just got. It was every frustrating day at work I had ever had, I recognised that boredom and anguish, I work in retail, so I recognised the characters that dipped in and out of the store. Mallrats was hilarious, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back was a fun look at pop culture and the machinery that makes the sausage, and Dogma is up there with Death to Smoochy as one of my all time favourite comedies. Yes, it had a shit monster, but it also had a brave and fresh take on organised religion and Alan Rickman at his most Rickmany so what’s not to love. Clerks II had no right to work, and could very well have tarnished the legacy of that wonderful little movie, but was familiar enough and yet completely different. Add in a weird Walrus movie, again I am a big fan, and the post-heart attack bit of fun which was Reboot and, to be fair, Smith has had a great run. However there are only so many times you can go back to the well and so when Clerks III was announced I will admit a few nerves. Whilst Reboot was fun, I felt for the first time that Smith had made something where everything was on the surface. The guy had just nearly died and is allowed to just have fun but there didn’t seem to be any depth there for the first time in a long time so, for me, revisiting Clerks after Reboot was a risky proposition.

I had no reason to be nervous. Clerks III is fantastic and such an emotional roller coaster to ride. Whilst I’ve always been a Kevin Smith fan, I have never cried during any of his films but there were four or five moments of raw emotion in Clerks III that just broke me. That’s because Kevin has put his real life trauma into the story, and no amount of joke telling removes that real sense of mortality that we all face or have been touched by at some point in our lives. Giving Randal (Jeff Anderson) a heart attack, the same Widowmaker heart attack Kevin had, launched into a quirky meta story in which Randal decides to make a film. This is essentially the first Clerks movie, with Randal using his real life moments at the QuickStop to build a script, and looking back and revisiting some of the characters and actors from the past incarnation of Clerks was a real blast as a viewer. However, Smith wasn’t done with the heavy emotional traps, as later on we see a sad and depressed Dante communicating with deceased love Becky (Rosario Dawson) and, at the end of the movie, Dante gets the Widowmaker but doesn’t survive which shocked me to my very core and left me blubbering for a good while.

Clerks III is most definitely Smith’s most personal film. Whilst you get real moments of humour, a cameo count that is highly impressive, and Jay and Silent Bob being rivalled by Elias (Trevor Fehrman) and Blockchain (Austin Zajur) for scene stealing, it also has a lot of heart, and a real look at what could happen to your friends and family when something tragic and traumatic happens. It is the Kevin Smith film that has had the longest emotional effect on me after watching and one that, as I sit here trying to spew my thoughts out for your perusal, I can't quite grasp for a funny quote or a quip that I enjoyed because every thought is about how Clerks III made me feel. In time, I am sure, I’ll come to appreciate the humour of this film as much as I do all his others but, for now, I can say only that Kevin Smith took me on a journey with Clerks III and for that I can only thank him. 

Luckily for me, though, I was watching an advance copy of the Blu-Ray so I could now dive into the extras and, if you think that a Kevin Smith film may not be worth the price of the disc, I can assure you that there are two documentaries that last about three days each [Actually around 3-4 hours combined, but impressive nonetheless -Ed] that are well worth watching. The behind the scenes of Clerks III gives you great and funny stories, and cameos explained as you would expect, but also shows the rigours of filmmaking in the new Covid world and the strains that puts on budget and safety which is interesting to see. But the 3 Decades Of Clerks documentary is worth the disc price in itself, with a rich history of the little film that started it all and the journey that everyone went on over nearly three decades to get to where we are today. Within this documentary, the subject of expectations is brought up, and also before the disc menu even appears there is a plea from Smith about the importance of physical media. Both these elements are important and here’s why… I can still watch Dogma because I have the DVD, you cant get it on streaming and due to the despicable Weinstein’s of the world and a rights issue you’ll not get it for a long time yet, and also Smith’s new partner in crime, Lionsgate, pretty much only distribute his films if its proved that there is a market for them. Clerks III got a "bums on seats" theatrical release but it was a tiny window and the journey for Smith will only continue if Clerks III performs well in the home disc market. I for one want more Smith, there is even talk of revisiting Mallrats to persuade you, but most importantly some of us still want Moose Jaws. So buy Clerks III on disc, and if you are planning to shoplift, please let us know ...

DVD Special Features:
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Kevin Smith, Actors Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Trevor Fehrman and Austin Zajur
• Deleted and Alternate Scenes
• Theatrical Trailer

BD Special Features:
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Kevin Smith, Actors Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Trevor Fehrman and Austin Zajur
• The Clerks III Documentary (BD Exclusive)
• We're Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today: 3 Decades Of Clerks (BD Exclusive)
• Deleted and Alternate Scenes
• Theatrical Trailer

Clerks III is on digital 14 November and Blu-ray and DVD 26 December 2022 thanks to Lionsgate UK

Follow Steve on Twitter @STBwrites

Images - Lionsgate

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