21st Aug2019

Opinionated: Which is the Best Kevin Smith Film?

by Chris Cummings


Kevin Smith spoke to me in my late-teens, making films that echoed my sentiments while also delivering characters and plots that were relatable, hanging out with slackers, losers, down-and-outs, degenerates or nerds in places that ranged from convenience stores to video stores to shopping malls to comic book shops. My memories of his films are deep, but I’ve always had a tough time deciding which one I’d choose as my favourite.

Now, I’m not going to discuss Cop Out, Red State, Tusk, Yoga Hosers, Jersey Girls or even (and I like this one) Zack and Miri Make a Porno here. I’m gonna stick to his View Askew titles that began in 1994 with Clerks and ended (until the Jay and Silent Bob Reboot lands later this year) with Clerks 2 in 2006. 12 years of movies that had the same tone, the same dialogue, some of the same characters and many of the same jokes, yet they grasped onto an entire generation of fans who found something they connected with in Smith’s universe.

Now, Clerks wasn’t the first Kevin Smith movie I ever saw. The first time I watched a Smith joint was in 1999 with Dogma. I was just finishing high-school, heading to college, and the humour just hit me between the eyes. I was immediately a fan of the film, and eventually, through discovering Chasing Amy, Clerks and Mallrats, I became enamoured by Smith’s films. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back followed in 2001 and Clerks 2 in 2006, and I liked those too. Now, these are what people associate with Kevin Smith. He’s done other films, some good, and some not films containing the Jay and Silent Bob characters.

I always counted Dogma as my favourite of his films when I was in my early-20s, but the more I watched his other films over the years, things have changed. I love Clerks. I love the dialogue and the guerrilla style of shooting. The super-low-budget and highly influential indie film remains a classic and holds up to this day. It isn’t my favourite though. The sequel, which came twelve years later, made me laugh my ass off in the cinema when I saw it, and I still really enjoy it. Moving away from the Quick Stop into Mooby’s, a McDonald’s style fast-food place, it added a couple of new characters but still felt like an updated version of the first film. Hilarious, quotable and ridiculous. Jay and Silent Bob is my least favourite of this list, as much as I dig it. The brings us to Dogma, Mallrats and Chasing Amy. Now, these are my ultimate three Smith flicks. Religion, youth, consumerism, comic books, LGBTQ, love, relationships, friendships and chocolate covered pretzels.

If I have to whittle it down to one single favourite, then I’d probably go with Chasing Amy. It’s a close call, with all three of these films offering something unique yet similar enough to keep them involved and knit together. I feel like Chasing Amy, in terms of story, dialogue, characters, emotion and heart, is Smith’s best film, the pinnacle of his career to date. Now, this is just my opinion, and I know many folks who differ. That’s the beauty of Kevin Smiths movies. Some people will immediately yell “CLERKS” when you ask them for this answer. Some will scream “MALLRATS”. I’ve heard plenty of people count “DOGMA” as their ultimate favourite. I can’t disagree with any of these.

The brilliance of Smiths ’94 – ’06 output (excluding Jersey Girl) really makes me excited to see what he does with his upcoming Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. There were rumours of Mallrats 2 for a while, and rumours of Clerks 3, but it seems this will be the one we get, perhaps the only one we get from this universe. I hope it lives up to the films that preceded it. We’ll see. Until then, I’m gonna throw on Clerks and go through his movies again, because all these years later I still don’t get bored of them.


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