Ranking & Retrospective on Kevin Smith

In anticipation of Clerks III: A Retrospective on Kevin Smith’s View Askewniverse Films

In this ranking and retrospective, we’ll take a trip down memory lane to explore the live action films of Kevin Smith’s View Askewniverse. Before the Marvel Cinematic Universe came into the picture, Smith dared to create a series of films that revolved around regular people and their lives, offering a unique and sometimes wacky perspective. The View Askewniverse started with Clerks in 1994 and has since expanded to include seven live action films, one animated film, television shows, comic books, and video games. As we eagerly await the release of Clerks III in September 2022, let’s explore this universe, discuss its impact, and rank the live action entries.

1. Clerks (1994)

The original Clerks stands at the top of our list, as it perfectly captures the essence of what it means to be a clerk. Set in a convenience store, the film revolves around the lives of Dante Hicks and Randal Graves, two slackers in their 20s. Brian O’Halloran and Jeff Anderson deliver fantastic performances, portraying their characters with such authenticity that it feels like we’re observing real people. The humor is on point, and the memorable lines and moments keep us entertained throughout. Clerks is a relatable and timeless masterpiece that showcases Smith’s talent for telling personal stories.

2. Chasing Amy (1997)

Chasing Amy takes second place for its exploration of relationships, friendships, and sexuality. The story follows comic book artist Holden McNeil, who falls in love with fellow artist Alyssa Jones, only to discover that she is a lesbian. The script is brutally honest, sometimes to its own detriment, but it remains an authentic portrayal of complex human emotions. The performances, particularly Joey Lauren Adams as Alyssa, bring this tale to life. Chasing Amy is an important film that helped break new ground in its portrayal of sexual fluidity and continues to resonate with audiences.

3. Clerks II (2006)

Clerks II finds Dante and Randal working at a fast food restaurant after their convenience store burns down. The film addresses themes of growing up, making peace with past choices, and facing the future. While the crude humor occasionally goes overboard, the heart and chemistry between the characters elevate the film. The addition of Rosario Dawson as Becky Scott brings a new dynamic to the story, and Kevin Smith’s witty script keeps us engaged. Despite some shortcomings, Clerks II remains a solid entry in the View Askewniverse.

4. Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (2019)

Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, a sequel to Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, embraces its meta nature and serves as a homage to the previous films. While it may feel like a remake, the film offers a heartfelt narrative centered around Jay’s unexpected fatherhood and his relationship with his daughter, Milly. Harley Quinn Smith delivers a standout performance, showcasing her comedic and dramatic talent. The meta jokes and references provide plenty of laughs, making this a delightful return to the View Askewniverse.

5. Dogma (1999)

Dogma tackles the sensitive topic of Catholicism and offers a thought-provoking exploration of faith, religion, and morality. The film courted controversy upon its release but deserves recognition for its intelligent discourse. Despite some missteps and potential insensitivity, Dogma manages to balance humor and social commentary. The performances, particularly Alan Rickman as Metatron and Linda Fiorentino as Bethany, add depth to the story. Dogma remains a unique and engaging entry in the View Askewniverse.

6. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back takes a more comedic approach, serving as a love letter to the View Askewniverse and Hollywood in general. The film sees Jay and Silent Bob embarking on a road trip to stop a movie adaptation of Bluntman and Chronic, the comic based on their characters. While it may not have the same depth as other films in the universe, the meta elements and nostalgic cameos make it an enjoyable ride. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back captures the spirit of Smith’s earlier works and provides plenty of laughs with its irreverent humor.

7. Mallrats (1995)

Mallrats, set in the same universe as Clerks, takes place one day before the events of the latter film. The story follows T.S. Quint and Brodie Bruce as they navigate their love lives and deal with their respective breakups. Mallrats captures the nostalgic feel of a time when malls were central to youth culture. While not as refined as later entries in the View Askewniverse, the film still manages to provide comedic moments and a fitting tribute to a bygone era.

In conclusion, the View Askewniverse has left an indelible mark on the world of independent film. Through his personal and comedic storytelling, Kevin Smith has created a unique universe that continues to resonate with audiences. Whether you’re a long-time fan or new to these films, they offer a fresh and relatable perspective on life, relationships, and the human experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will there be more films in the View Askewniverse?

While Clerks III is set to be released in September 2022, it remains to be seen if Kevin Smith will continue expanding the View Askewniverse beyond that. Smith has expressed his desire to conclude the Clerks saga with the third installment, but he has also shown a willingness to revisit his beloved characters in various forms, such as comics and television shows.

2. Are the View Askewniverse films interconnected?

Yes, the View Askewniverse films are interconnected, with recurring characters and references linking them together. Kevin Smith often uses the same actors to portray multiple characters within the universe, adding a layer of familiarity and continuity.

3. Is it necessary to watch the View Askewniverse films in order?

While each film can be enjoyed individually, watching them in order enhances the overall experience. There are references and callbacks to previous films that add depth to the narratives. However, it is still possible to follow and appreciate each film on its own merits.

4. How has the View Askewniverse influenced independent filmmaking?

The View Askewniverse films, particularly Clerks, had a significant impact on independent filmmaking. Kevin Smith’s DIY approach to filmmaking and his ability to create relatable stories with low budgets inspired many aspiring filmmakers. The success of the films helped pave the way for independent cinema and opened doors for other creators to tell their stories.

5. What is the significance of Jay and Silent Bob in the View Askewniverse?

Jay and Silent Bob, played by Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith respectively, have become iconic characters within the View Askewniverse. They serve as the connective thread between the films, making appearances in most of them. Their irreverent humor and unique dynamic have endeared them to fans and solidified their status as beloved cult characters.