Mallrats [retro review]

“You know what? There is no Easter Bunny! Over there, that’s just a guy in a cheap suit!”

The Scoop: 1995 R, directed by Kevin Smith and starring Jason Lee, Jeremy London, Ben Affleck and Shannon Doherty

Tagline: They’re not there to shop.  They’re not there to work.  They’re just there.

Summary Capsule: Two Jersey dudes get dumped by their women, hang out in a mall, and destroy many lives.

Justin’s Rating: I’m in a dark room squinting at a computer monitor through blurry contacts during my work hours… I guess I like it well enough to review it.

Justin’s Review: Mallrats is the second part of the famed “Jersey Trilogy” (now totalling at five films) by Kevin Smith. For those not well versed in the view-askewniverse, it is preceded by Clerks (the black & white indie smash about two convenience store clerks and a day in their wacked-out lives) and followed by Chasing Amy (that classic love story of a man and his lesbian girlfriend).

If you’ve heard the story, Mallrats was supposed to be Kevin Smith’s first Big Studio picture, but was critically slammed and a box office bomb. Everyone needs one of those to keep humble, I suppose. The Big Studio bucks managed to only rope in Shannen Doherty (90210) as a semi-lead character, but unbeknownst to the Big Studio (but now knownst to us) Mallrats was the launching ground for two actors who have since gone on to rather impressive status. Ben “Just call me BenLo, baby” Affleck was the goateed manjerk who not only starred in the BEST PICTURE OF ALL TIME (that’s Pearl Harbor, of course) but also became Kevin Smith’s new bosom buddy for the next few View Askew flicks (he played an angel in Dogma and himself in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back). A smaller, yet more dynamic acting force known as Jason “No relation to Stan” Lee absolutely steals the show here as the antagonistic clueless hero Brodie.

Back in the day, everyone hated Mallrats… I don’t exactly know why… if I did, I’d be on the psychic network hotline. But now that over a half dozen years have passed and the backlash abated down into mild finger cramps, Mallrats has snuggled itself up into the national consciousness as an essential cult flick. It’s a crappy day in the life of T.S. (Jeremy “Who?” London) and Brodie, two losers scorned by their women and off to hang in a mall all day. The plot doesn’t necessarily fly at you so much as say, “Hey. I’ll be there in a minute.” But stuff keeps on happening, and it’s all good.

As in any Smith film, the dialogue is king, and Mallrats discusses the essential New Jersey topics of sex, comic books, Star Wars, and uniquely gifted fortune tellers. It has the flavor of a National Lampoon movie, particularly the ending, but it still has some very unique characters (including Joey Lauren Adams as the sexy Gwen, and OF COURSE my buds Jay and Silent Bob being absolute crazies here) and weirdly original situations (including a Death Star-attack on a stage and something you probably never wish you knew about chocolate pretzels). It’s a must-see for any Vulgarian (fans of Smith’s movies), and probably should be required viewing for all the mallrats around America.


PoolMan’s Rating: Better than the back of a Volkswagen… WAY better!

PoolMan’s Review: After much unspoken wheedling from my fellow Mutants (get out of my BRAIN, Justin!), I decided to spend a Friday evening watching this movie… I also spent Sunday evening watching it again, because it was that good. I haven’t seen this kind of humour in a long while, and it was just freakin’ great! I think the characters, and their apparent lack of normal-type (some would say Canadian) morals is what makes this flick so cool. Honestly, I think enough’s been said in the Justin’s review, I just wanted to cast my vote in definite favour of Mallrats. ‘Nuff said…

More fun than a stinkpump on a hot summer day!

toni’s Rating: I prefer ritual suicide. No! Really, it’s good…

toni’s Review: I hate magic eye pictures!! I hate them I hate them I hate them! See, I have a vision problem that has disabled my ability to see 3-D so I can’t see those pictures at all. I once concentrated so hard on making my eyes unfocused that I had a headache for three days. I want to take one of those pictures out into a secluded field and go Office Space on it’s evil ass. Grrrr.

In the grand tradition of Clerks, our story revolves around these two guys. In this case, the guys get dumped, go to the mall, and do some other stuff, being rather witty the whole time. Now I know I’m not a guy, but if I was a guy I don’t think losing Shannen Doherty to the ‘uncomfortable place’ man would ruin my day. I think I’d throw a party or something. Beyond that and the whole magic eye thing, there was some great stuff in this one. Lots of Star Wars bits with Jedi Bob, weird sex, sex studies and third nipple stuff, nifty dialog, -nasty- handshakes, and Stan Lee.

Good stuff. So Mallrats was funny. How could it not be? You know it’s funny, I know it’s funny, amazon women in the avocado jungle know it’s funny. But it wasn’t as good as Clerks because Clerks was Funny! I don’t know what it was that was lacking, but I just had a tofu-like flavour in the back of my mouth through the whole thing. My guess is that ‘trying too hard to look all mainstream’ tastes like tofu to me. And I’ve never tried tofu. Odd. Oh! I know what it is! I know! I reviewed the two movies too close together and I’ve become infected with the same ‘compare’ virus that messed up Austin Powers 2. So you can safely ignore me.

You liked Jersey Girl... you liiiiiked Jersey Girl...

Intermission!

  • Stan Lee can be seen looking to his left or right repeatedly while talking with Brodie. This is so he can see his cue cards – not being a trained actor, memorizing lines was very difficult.
  • Jeremy London forgot his lines repeatedly.  According to Kevin Smith, he was stoned for most of the film.
  • The book Bob is reading in the bookstore is simply a mockup, as is the display stand – the real book had not come out yet.
  • While shopping, Rene Mosier (Doherty, Shannon Doherty) is seen wearing at least three different outfits. Doherty had a clause in her contract that she could keep everything her character wore and came up with the plan that her character should wear everything she bought on her shopping trip.
  • Two main characters named Brodie Bruce and T.S. Quint are a reference to Jaws where there were characters called Brody and Quint.
  • “La Fours”, the mall security guard, is a reference to “La Force” the bounty hunter after Robert Redford and Paul Newman in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Both characters are noted for their straw hats and being the toughest lawmen around.
  • Brodie’s shirt is the merged faces of three actors that tried out for the part of Brodie and didn’t get it.
  • When Rene runs to tell Jay and Silent Bob that Brodie and T.S. are being arrested, Ethan Suplee ad-libs, “Brenda?” – a joke reference to Doherty’s character on Beverly Hills, 90210.
  • The background music when T.S. and Hamilton are waiting for the elevator is the same as in the elevator in The Blues Brothers.
  • Brodie’s comic book collection seen in the movie was actually director Kevin Smith’s collection of time(which has grown considerably since). The collection is what Smith was able to purchase back after selling his original collection to finance production of Clerks.
  • The MagicEye “sailboat” picture is actually a 4 x 3 matrix of geometric shapes consisting of a cross, a circle, a diamond, a star, 4 segmented circles and 4 cones.
  • After failing to see the sailboat image, Ethan Suplee’s character wanders over to the stage, and gives a frustrated wail while holding on to a frame. This is a parody of a scene in The Empire Strikes Back, in which Chewbacca omits the same cry while holding on to a support strut.
  • The person laughing during the Gramercy title sequence is a cellist in Ira Newborn’s orchestra.
  • Silent Bob hanging upside down to put the video tape in the player is a reference to the Ice monster scene in The Empire Strikes Back.
  • When Brodie, TS and Rowdy Roddy are talking just after TS comes out of the bathroom, Jason Mewes (sitting in a chair laughing), and other crew members are reflected in the glass door just behind Brodie.
  • The script book for Mallrats has extracts from Trisha’s book ‘Boregasm’, revealing that Silent Bob (who never shut up) and Randal (who moans ‘Dante’ at certain critical moments) were two of her other research subjects. [thanks Vanessa!]
  • During the end credits, Kevin Smith includes a few funny notes, including thanking his parents for having sex.
  • The studio almost replaced Jason Mewes with Seth Green to play Jay. Kevin Smith insisted that Jason Mewes should play Jay, but the studio made Smith take auditions for the role. Breckin Meyer also auditioned for the role of Jay. In the end, all parties agreed that Jason Mewes was right for the part. Seth Green was on call, ready at any moment to fly to Michigan so he could replace Jason Mewes as Jay.\
  • Although Rene’s surname is never mentioned on screen, the cast list gives it as Mosier, a reference to producer Scott Mosier.
  • The original beginning of the movie tested poorly and was replaced by one that was filmed in L.A. The original beginning contained an incident at the Governor’s Ball (the one mentioned by the TV execs).
  • There are numerous references to Clerks. Catch any mention of the number “37”, the swimming pool girl, Jay and Silent Bob, Gil Hicks (played by the same actor who did Dante Hicks), and many of the smaller Clerks actors coming back in cameos. Also, note that Jay and Silent Bob have been “reassigned” from their duties as drug pushers… the movie execs thought that drug pushers weren’t good role models. Go figure. Theoretically, this film takes place BEFORE the events of Clerks. [Justin]
  • Speaking of references to Clerks, I noticed when they visited the “dirt mall” to see Ivannah the Topless Fortune Teller, TS tries on a hat briefly at the comic store. He puts it on, seems to like the fit, so he looks at the front of it… and it says “Clerks”! He looks disgusted and throws it back on the table… a great tossaway joke to the creators of Clerks, who also did this movie. [PoolMan]

Groovy Quotes

Jay: Where do you get these wonderful toys?

Silent Bob: Excitement, adventure… A Jedi craves not these things.

Jay: Silent Bob stole the schematics from some foolish carpenter and found a weakness just like the Death Star. You knock this crossbeam out and, bicky bam, the whole stage comes crashing down.
Brodie: Well we were thinking of something simple, but hey, if you want to destroy the stage, we’re all for that.

Kid: Hey neat, a schooner!
Willam: Ha ha ha… you dumb bastard. It’s a sailboat.
Kid: A schooner IS a sailboat, you stupidhead.
William: You know what? There is no Easter Bunny! Over there, that’s just a guy in a cheap suit!

Brody: I’m playing the role of the sensitive guy here…

Brodie: Listen, not a year goes by, not a year, that I don’t hear about some escalator accident involving some bastard kid which could have easily been avoided had some parent–I don’t care which one–but some parent conditioned him to fear and respect that escalator!

Brodie: Cookie stand’s not part of the food court.
T.S. Quint: Sure it is.
Brodie: The food court is downstairs the cookie stand is upstairs it’s not like we’re talking quantum physics here!
T.S. Quint: The cookie stand is an eatery, an eatery is part of the food court.
Brodie: Eateries that operate within the designated square downstairs qualify as food court, anything operating outside the said designated square is considered an autonomous unit for mid-mall snacking.

Brodie: Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned for Sega.

Brodie: My Grandmother always used to say “why buy the cow, when you can get the sex for free”.

Hamilton: You wanna say something?
Brodie: Yeah! About a million things, but I can’t express myself monosyllabically enough for you to understand it all.

Brodie: I love the smell of commerce in the morning!

Jay: Come to me, son of Jor-El! Kneel before Zod!! Snootchie-bootchies!

Brodie: You two are retarded for each other!

Stan Lee: I think you need to get your friend some help. He seems to be obsessed with super hero sex organs.

If You Liked This Movie, Try These:

Advertisements

3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Clerks [retro review] « Mutant Reviewers From Hell

  2. Pingback: Judge Dredd « Mutant Reviewers From Hell

  3. Pingback: Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed « Mutant Reviewers From Hell

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s