Kevin Smith has come full circle with his third installment of the film that made him a household name with Clerks III. The maestro of the View Askew Universe has lived the impressive dream that every movie buff and film school student strives for by making the movies he wants to make with a lot of his friends. This has allowed Smith to jump into his favored superhero realm and even score himself into the Star Wars franchise - pop culture elements he introduced to mass audiences in his films long before they came popular. In Clerks III, everything becomes more grounded and emotional as it takes on Smith's own personal life of growing older in a very sweet way, complete with those iconicly funny jokes Kevin is known for. Highly Recommended!
With Clerks II and the Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, no matter what anyone thinks of story or character in cinema, it's truly fun to see a director return to their roots and have fun with their toys in their unique sandbox once again. And that's a big aspect of Kevin and in his films that connects his fans together with something they've grown up with since the '90s. Clerks III takes its cues from Kevin's own brush with death when he suffered a major heart attack back in 2018 that led him down the light side of the Jedi into getting healthy with his mind and body. Happily today, Kevin is the healthiest he has ever been and still makes everyone laugh, cry, and highly entertained.
With a script that navigates middle-aged people coming to terms with their lot in life, making sure their loved ones are indeed loved, and living a life that's not full of regret, Dante and Randall (Brian O'Halloran and Jeff Anderson) are keeping up their very own Quick Stop. They're still having those amazing conversations that only seem to be important to them, but it's the glue that holds them together as one of the best duos in the film as they discuss the many theories on Star Wars, current events, and comic book movies - the stuff that really matters. While Randall is sounding off and poking fun at his religious protege Elias (Trevor Fehrman), he suffers a heart attack which puts things in serious perspective for everyone at the shop. The result is Randall finally feels the need to do something with his life inspiring him to make a movie about his life with his best friend working at the Quick Stop. This brings Kevin Smith's life full circle as the film shows the ins and outs of what it was like for Kevin to make this memorable movie.
It's been said before that Smith has grown up as a filmmaker, but believe it or not, the guy in the trench coat who doesn't speak has always been ahead of the curve since the original Clerks, passing bits of wisdom along to his audience much like how Yoda did with Luke. Sure, there are enough silly jokes in each movie to the last dozen of films, but in between the comedy are some poignant and important messages about love, women's rights, religion, and numerous other social issues. Kevin was already grown up in the '90s and he continues to school everyone on what the secret to life really is, and, of course, smoking weed with the cult icons Jay and Silent Bob.
O'Halloran and Anderson are simply phenomenal as Dante and Randall - two best friends who have lived together through thick and thin. Their chemistry is natural and it still looks like they're having a ton of fun on screen. Fehrman returns as Elias switches gears in a great way, revealing that there is a duality in everyone to be good no matter what music they listen to or how they dress. And Jason Mewes brightens up the screen every time he's in front of the camera. With cameos galore and a heartfelt script, Smith makes it emotional and takes that step forward with his main characters that are fitting and goes back on a very early piece of cinema folklore that never came to be in the original Clerks.
Clerks III is a surprisingly sad, yet extremely funny film that tackles the behind-the-scenes of the movie that put Smith on Co. on the cinematic map, but it also shows the trail of how to make others feel loved and come together to do something great. In the words of a great character - "This is the way." Highly Recommended!