Clerks was Kevin Smith's first real movie, and the one that launched him and his friends into their own indie, obscure stardom. This grainy black and white film (Smith admits himself that this is the least likely of his movie's to be migrated to the new media in one of the special features) features Brian O'Halloran as Dante, a clerk for a local corner store. This movie is a day in his life where he is called in on his day off and is forced to contend with a constant stream of annoying customers, a slacker co-worker, a funeral of a former lover and the reappearance of an ex-girlfriend about to be married.
Dante finds himself constantly examined and evaluated by his co-worker, Randal (Jeff Anderson) who works for the connected video rental store, and most of the movie consists of the (very Kevin Smithy) dialogue between the two on subjects ranging from customers to relationships to pornography to Star Wars (particularly, the innocence of the contractors working on the Second Death Star when it was destroyed). This film also introduces Jason Mews as Jay and Smith himself as Silent Bob, the drug dealing characters that are the linchpin connecting all of the other Kevin Smith movies. Clerks also sets up a ton of events (either by actually showing them, or mentioning them) that are referenced in Mallrats, Chasing Amy and his other films to help pull the "View Askewniverse" together.
This particular release of Clerks is the "15th Anniversary Edition" which means it has everything contained on the 10th year anniversary edition, Clerks X, plus an introduction by Kevin Smith talking about why this black and white cheap movie is in high definition and an hour and a half long featurette about the making of Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back (which is nice since the actual Jay & Silent Bob Blu-ray only features a commentary track).
The special features from the Clerks X release includes both the theatrical and "First Cut" versions of the film, a short Smith made with O'Halloran and Anderson about what Dante would do to give the world its first flying car, short featurettes about the remastering of the movie, the MTV spots featuring Jay and Silent Bob and even, probably my favorite special feature, the "lost scene" from the film showing just what happened when Dante and Randal went to the funeral. What's great about this is that it is done by the company that created "Clerks: The Animated Series."
The second movie in this boxed set, Chasing Amy is not only the role that proved Smith wasn't just a one-shot wonder (after his box-office defeat with Mallrats), but it also helped launch the career of actors like Ben Affleck, Jason Lee and Joey Lauren Adams (even though they all appeared in Mallrats).
Chasing Amy is an odd romantic comedy about a guy who falls in love with a lesbian and all of the sexual and emotional insecurities that come along with that relationship (especially when more of her sordid past comes to light).
Holden McNeil (Affleck) and Banky Edwards (Lee) are the creators of the Bluntman and Chronic, a superhero duo based on Jay and Silent Bob. At one of the many conventions the pair attend, Holden meets the sexy Alyssa Jones (Adams), who writes a lesbian love comic book that isn't nearly as popular as Holden and Banky's doped-up superheroes. Holden immediately falls for Alyssa, unfortunately for him, he isn't her type; in fact, no guy is. Chasing Amy is a great movie that doesn't pull any punches when it comes to sexuality and relationships, and chief among those relationships is not only the one between Holden and Alyssa, but the one between Holden and Banky as their friendship sees some major stresses, not to mention their business.
The Blu-ray release of Chasing Amy looks pretty good. While there aren't any spectacular visuals that really pop after the transfer, everything simply feels clean and crisp. What is great about this release is that it contains a ton of special features over its previous DVD release. The best of the special features includes "Tracing Amy" which clocks in at almost 90 minutes and discusses everything from the relationship between Smith and Adams that inspired the movie to the budgetary issues that lead to the super-fast filming schedule and then the movie's release and critical praise. The other two new features includes a Q&A session with the cast 10 years after the movie's release and a conversation between Smith and Adams, not only about the movie, but also about their relationship at the time.
The last movie, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back starts off with the pair learning that a movie based on Holden and Banky's comic series is being made into a feature film, and apparently everyone on the Internet is bad-mouthing it. So what do our dynamically high duo do? They travel across the country (by whatever means they can) in order to get onto the Miramax lot and stop the film once and for all. This adventure features tons of past cast member cameos including the late George Carlin, Chris Rock, Matt Damon, Affleck (as both Holden and himself), Lee (as both Banky and Brodie from Mallrats) and many more one-line appearances (especially at the end of the film).
During their travels, the duo meets up with a quartet of female jewel thieves consisting of Justice (Shannon Elizabeth), who becomes Jay's love interest, Sissy (Eliza Dushku), Chrissy (Ali Larter) and Missy (Jennifer Schwalback Smith... Kevin Smith's wife). Justice's love for Jay and her conflicted feelings about leaving the pair as their patsys becomes a major side plot since Jay and Silent Bob are pursued by Will Smith as Federal Wildlife Marshall Willenholley after the pair steal a monkey as a diversion for the diamond heist happening across the street. Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back ends up becoming a movie for the View Askew fans out there. While it is a fun and crudely funny movie anyway, if you've seen the previous Smith films, it is downright hilarious. Plus it has Mark Hamill in a lightsaber fight (sort of) and Carrie Fisher dressed as a nun... how could it be bad?
As I said before, the only bad part about this particular Blu-ray release is the fact that the only extra is an audio commentary track. At least the hour and a half new special feature found on the Clerks disc, "Oh, What a Lovely Tea Party" does a lot to make up for this, but only big time Smith fans will want to sit through this behind-the-scenes documentary all the way through.
In the end, any Kevin Smith fan would be happy with this particular collection (provided you don't already have J&SB SB on Blu-ray. If that's the case, then you will definitely want to look for the other two movies separately since their added extra features are more than worth it. I only wish they would have chosen a more feature-rich third movie like Dogma or Clerks II for this collection. The only reason I can see Jay & Silent Bob was included was because it sort of carries on the story from Chasing Amy concerning the Bluntman and Chronic comic series.