September 10, 2004
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Is It an "outle" or an "Innie?"
KEVIN SMITH'S DEBUT
STANDS THE TEST OF TIME
Ladies of 'Guy Game'
good for one night stand
"I'm not supposed to be here today!"
By Adam Rottenberg
Daily Arts Editor
Why would Miramax release a three-disc spe-
cial edition for a $25,000 black and white comedy?
Well, when the film is "Clerks," with its legion of
devoted fans, then the decision makes more sense.
Kevin Smith's debut not only rocked Sundance, but
also became an indie sensation for a generation.
Sure, he's sullied his own name with commercial
garbage like "Jersey Girl," but
"Clerks" remains a seminal
film of the '90s. Clerks X
Shot on a shoestring budget Miramax
with a cast of no-names, the film
relies heavily upon dialogue to
propel an otherwise mundane story and mediocre
filmmaking. Dante (Brian O'Halloran) works as a
clerk at a convenience store called the Quick Stop, a
job he maligns for its banality, but lacks the motiva-
tion to leave behind. He is called in on his day off,
which becomes a comedy of absurdities in his pro-
fessional and romantic lives. His best friend Randal
(Jeff Anderson) works as a clerk in the video store
next door, yet he would rather dispense surly insults
and ignore his customers than do his job. Dante's girl-
friend reveals a disturbing secret to him ("37!?!") and
an ex-girlfriend re-enters his life. And he wasn't even
supposed to come in that day.
Even though the action remains relatively static,
Smith's skill for writing hilarious dialogue breathes
life into the film. From diatribes about the culpabil-
ity of workers on the Death Star in "Return of the
Jedi" to insubordinate retorts and obnoxious custom-
ers, Dante and Randal become slacker role models
through Smith's words. The dialogue seems real and
resonates with the audience because of its inclusion
of pop culture references.
Moreover, it's through the foul-mouthed rantings
and ravings of stoner Jay (Jason Mewes) - side-by-
side with his hefty pal Silent Bob (Smith) - that give
"Clerks" its unique spirit. Jay and Silent Bob have
since taken off and become the signature of the View
Askew universe, but it's their roles in "Clerks," which
are far more effective than any of the films that fol-
low, that made them stoner icons.
This isn't "Clerks' " first foray onto DVD, but this
special edition is one of the best to ever hit the mar-
ket. In addition to the theatrical release of the film,
found on the first disc, there is also the original cut.
Unfortunately, the quality of the picture on the orig-
inal cut looks like it's ripped straight off a beat-up
VHS tape, yet the original cynical ending provides
enough of a reason to sit through it. If that weren't
enough, the cast and crew recorded an all-new audio
and video commentary to accompany it. While the
original cut and commentary track (both on disc one)
are superior, having a version where they look back
on the work 10 years after the fact enables viewers to
see how everyone has grown.
The best of the extras is the missing scene, finally
inserted into the film - albeit in animated form (fol-
lowing the style of the short-lived cartoon series).
Originally too expensive to shoot, it features what
actually occurs when Dante and Randal attend their
friend's funeral and accidentally knock over the cas-
ket. Other highlights among the countless extras are
"Jay and Silent Bob" shorts from MTV and a short
film, shot by Smith for "The Tonight Show," that fea-
tures Dante and Randal having one of their ridiculous
debates, this time about how far Dante would go for
a flying car.
Whereas the first two discs focus on the movie and
the characters in its supplements, disc three is devot-
ed to the production. A feature-length documentary
about Smith and "Clerks" entitled "The Snowball
Effect" (a not so thinly veiled reference to one of
the most memorable moments of the film) shows
the cinephile within Smith that drove him to create
this classic. The rest of the disc is simply filled with
extras about the filming process; nothing too out of
The most disappointing aspect of this DVD set is
the picture and sound quality. While it's noticeable
that the images have been cleared up significantly,
the picture is still incredibly grainy and dark. There
isn't much that could have been done to restore the
sound or picture on this indie, but it still seems like
Miramax could have done more considering the fea-
turettes devoted to the restoration process.
"Clerks" is a cult classic for disaffected youth
- those still unable or unmotivated to improve their
lot in life - but, most importantly, it's immensely
funny and features a voice unlike anything before it.
Now, here's hoping Smith doesn't tarnish its legacy
with the sequel.
By Jared Newman
Daily Arts Writer
"The Guy Game" has closed the
ever-narrowing gap between Trivial
Pursuit and softcore porn.
Its arrival should come as no sur-
prise to anyone who noticed the trend
of risque videogames. Part strip show,
part game show and part party game,
"The Guy Game" uses sexy stripping
co-eds as a selling point. Admittedly,
it's innovative, but that doesn't stop it
from being the most shameless con-
sole game ever made.
It's the first videogame designed
to be a drinking
ing rankings like
on score. The
key decisions like
what minigame to
play, and can also
choose from a list of extraneous rules
like: "Each time a girl flashes, a pen-
alty is given (take a drink)." During
trivia rounds, players answer a num-
ber of questions - too many of which
involve playing cards and "Star Trek."
A girl is then introduced in a taped
"Girls Gone Wild" spring break envi-
ronment where she is asked the same
question and forced to flash the audi-
ence if she guesses incorrectly.
Most post-adolescent guys will have
a hard time playing this game alone;
having a group of buddies on hand for
the experience is the only way to avoid
that sort of self-deprecation. So with
two or more players and a roomful
of beer-toting onlookers, "The Guy
Game" can actually achieve a few
moments of entertainment.
But like any "Girls Gone Wild"
video, the novelty of cheap nudity
quickly fades. What's left is a medio-
cre trivia competition combined with
a few run-of-the-mill "Mario Party"-
style minigames that don't really fit
well together. Watching Ken Jennings
on "Jeoparody" is more rewarding,
and less predictable.
There are also inherent problems
with the nature of "The Guy Game."
There are only so many video sequenc-
es, which means that the three girls in
each of the 20 scenarios ire asked the
same questions even when gaimers are
using auxiliary trivia. Since the level
of censorship on the nudity is depen-
dent on whether players can guess
how the girls will answer, achieving
the highest reward is a matter of either
luck or memorization. Either way, the
formula quickly becomes stale.
The biggest problem with "The
Guy Game" is that it costs $40 at most
retailers. Given that it's just barely
worth a $5 rental, maybe mature gain-
ers should rent a porno, buy Trivial
Pursuit and save the pocket change for
the next "Grand Theft Auto."
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