ReView Askew: Dogma (1999)

Kevin Smith’s original trilogy of films, while covering a range of different subject matter, all had a similar scope to them, centering around stories of twenty-somethings and their interpersonal problems, with some dick jokes sprinkled liberally throughout. The stakes were relatively low. That said, it certainly was a departure from the established norm for Smith’s newest film to involve the fate of the entirety of existence, all while directly examining Catholicism and the concept of faith. Originally titled God, Smith actually started writing the initial script for this film soon after Clerks, but knew that to tell a story this grand of scale, he’d need some more movies under his belt to both actually be able to finance such a movie, and have the work experience to pull it off. After resurrecting his career with Chasing Amy, it seemed like then was as good a time as any for Smith to take a shot at his religious opus.

Dogma is easily Smith’s biggest movie in a number of ways: the stacked cast of big celebrities, the ambition of the storytelling, and the sometimes dramatic tone and serious subject matter. It also feels like the most difficult film so far to break down for a review, just because there’s so many different things going on in it. Unlike Mallrats and Amy, I was a pretty big fan of this one when I was younger, coming close to rivaling Clerks as my favorite. I wouldn’t call it the meatiest satire, and there’s some groaner jokes throughout, but it raises a lot of interesting ideas and questions about organized religion and the idea of faith; nothing too complex, but general enough to be a little thought-provoking, especially to my then-teenage self. It never feels like it gets too far up its own ass with its sermonizing… although it does get a little close at times. Continue reading “ReView Askew: Dogma (1999)”

ReView Askew: Chasing Amy (1997)

Things weren’t going so hot for Kevin Smith after Mallrats, considering it made no money and everyone hated it. But there was one silver lining for him from his sophomore film: Joey Lauren Adams. The two met on the Mallrats set, and ended up dating for a while. It was only a few years before they split on amicable terms, but their romantic tryst ended up being the direct inspiration for Smith’s newest film, a more dramatic turn taking a naked and honest look at relationships, specifically on how one’s insecurities can cloud and warp them. Made on an incredibly small budget, Chasing Amy turned out to be Smith’s second wind, with many critics being pleasantly surprised by his headier, more serious film. It showed that there was a little more that Smith had to offer than his usual crude fare, and although that’s typically the pond he waded in for most of his ensuing career, Chasing Amy definitely displayed a new side of him.

As I mentioned before, Mallrats and Chasing Amy are the only two Kevin Smith movies in this series I haven’t watched since high school. And while I felt reasonably confident my thoughts on Mallrats wouldn’t change much from my memories of it (and they didn’t!), I was curious to how I’d react to Chasing Amy. I could certainly see why a slow-moving romantic drama wouldn’t be that appealing to my teenage self, but I’m definitely more susceptible to this sort of film as an adult. I was also curious how much of a potentially cringe-worthy time capsule this would be in regards to its gay subject matter; the premise alone of a lesbian falling for a man makes it seem like it might not hold up super well. So after finally seeing it again, I’m definitely a little conflicted. I wouldn’t consider it a good movie, but there’s definitely quite a bit here that I think works well. It certainly feels like Smith’s voice is back in it after Mallrats, undoubtedly because of how personal the subject matter is to him, but the execution of the film is a bit of a mixed bag. Continue reading “ReView Askew: Chasing Amy (1997)”

732. The King of Nice

Original airdate: October 16, 2022

The premise: Krusty is convinced to host his own daytime talk show, a high-paying gig with minimal effort on his part. While focusing testing the show, executive producer Lindsey Naegle is impressed by Marge’s perfect “nice” segment ideas that she hires her on as a segment producer. Marge is thrilled at first, but quickly finds herself being stressed and worn down by the nightmarish world of daytime TV.

The reaction: I can’t remember the last time I saw one minute of any daytime TV show, so to devote an entire episode on satirizing this genre of television isn’t doing much for me at the jump. All of the targets of satire are pretty easy to discern though, as they’re things that basically anyone with even a cursory knowledge of these types of shows could figure out: a dancing host who caters to easily excitable moms and gay guys, overly cutesy and saccharine heart-string-tugging segments, product giveaways, and an overly phony atmosphere. I know daytime TV overall must still get pretty good ratings, otherwise there wouldn’t be any drive to make new shows, but as a subject of parody, this feels like such a moldy topic. Continue reading “732. The King of Nice”