Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
Rating: R
Release Date: February 26, 2002
Running Time: approximately 104 minutes
Ten-second Rundown: Kevin Smith cites this as The Muppet Movie on acid - but Kermit never swore as much as Jay.
Version: Deluxe Edition
Extras:

  • Commentary by Kevin Smith, Scott Mosier and Jason Mewes

  • Deleted Scenes with intros by Smith and various guests

  • "The Secret Stash" - various outtakes with intros by the above

  • Gag Reel with intros

  • Internet trailers with intro

  • Still galleries

  • TV and theatrical trailers

  • Storyboards

  • Behind the scenes featurette

  • Morris Day and The Time - Learnin' The Moves

  • Music videos

  • Comedy Central's Reel Comedy

  • Cast and crew filmographies

  • Guide to Morris Day and The Time
  • Choice Scene:Jay and Silent Bob get picked up by a psychedelic van featuring some better-cast cartoon characters than in their own upcoming movie.

    Tech Specs: Widescreen, aspect ratio 2.35:1 (enhanced for 16x9 televisions), English 5.1 surround sound, French mono, subtitles in English and Spanish.

    Back in August, we called this movie as one desperately in need of a DVD in order to get everything that's going on in it. The View Askewniverse has always been an insular acquired taste, and on the big screen, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back played a little too inside. After a couple of viewings on DVD, and wading through all the extras, it's still too inside, but by then you won't care because you'll be one of the Askewni.

    Thankfully, this alleged last chapter in Kevin Smith's Jersey trilogy (number five, actually) gets better with repeated viewings. It's a big party, and eventually you have to give in and have as much fun as the cast and crew seem to be having.

    And that party extends to the extras. As one should expect, the extras have an unpretentious and somewhat unpolished feel. You can't have it any other way with Jason Mewes participating. But Smith takes it a step further by bringing in other friends and family, even using his daughter Harley Quinn to introduce a couple of segments (with a lot of coaching from dad - that's how it is with three year olds).

    The effect makes everything feel more personal, and love him or hate him, Smith has always been a very personal filmmaker. In voice-over commentary with Mewes and producer Scott Mosier, Smith reveals himself to be as relaxed as the persona he has created on talkshows. Always self-deprecating (almost too carefully so), he may be as sloppy a filmmaker as some critics charge. But he's also interesting, and lucky in having Mosier around to keep him honest, a dynamic that unfolds neatly throughout the commentary.

    Warring with Mosier, of course, is the devil on Smith's shoulder, Mewes. Only slightly different from his onscreen alter-ego (not even he can swear that much without being scripted to do so), Mewes' contributions to the commentary come off mostly as hazy ramblings. Occasionally, however, his recollections of experiences spark some interesting anecdotes from Smith. (Evidently there was some conflict with Carrie Fisher during the filming of her cameo, with Mewes at the center of it. It still doesn't get explained fully, but only because the film itself moves along too quickly to dwell on something so brief.)

    The commentary has a wistful tone to it, too, as Smith definitely feels that he is closing the book on what, up until now, some would consider his life's work. Is it wise to just do one take on this sort of thing? While it does keep things from getting too pretentious, allowing himself more time for reflection might have forced Smith into some more keen insight on his process as a filmmaker. But then, this isn't exactly his Citizen Kane.

    In the second disc, Smith and company prove that more is more. Usually with deleted scenes, you can understand why they had to be cut. But much of what has been included here (at least fifty minutes' worth) has some material that could easily have remained in, except that it drew too much attention away from Jay and Silent Bob themselves. Subplots involving the diamond thieves (and one scene that says to me that Joe Quesada owes Kevin Smith his undying gratitude - and not for revitalizing Daredevil) and Marshal Willenholly actually lend some depth to the goings-on. Some were cut at the behest of the MPAA (the film initially earned an NC-17), some through test screenings. But most of the deleted scenes are surprisingly watchable.

    Even better are the bits found in "The Secret Stash." Not really deleted scenes, most of this consists of improv riffs, alternate takes, and long bits that ended up getting chopped up to fit other uses in the movie. An extended take between Jon Stewart and Will Ferrell prove both men to be extremely quick. Conversely, Judd Nelson does not come off so clever. Neither do the intros, necessarily, as many go on just a little too long. Seeing them, though, might inspire a pilgrimage to Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash. That looks like one incredibly cool comic book shop.

    The rest of the disc is stuffed to the gills with minutiae, including some fannish pandering to Morris Day and The Time. Two music videos are also included, the somewhat infamous and infectious "Because I Got High" by Afroman and "Kick Some Ass" by Stroke 9. If you like the songs, this is a cool extra.

    Buried in the extras are a couple of interesting side-notes: A lot of movie sites get excited by any reference to Jason Lee starring in a Smith-directed Fletch Won. According to his filmography here, Lee already has it on his resume. And somewhere in the commentary as Smith muses on his daughter's participation in the film (she plays baby Silent Bob), he makes a joke that she will grow up and dimly recall "Uncle Jason," who mysteriously disappeared. Just before this disc was released, Mewes did, in fact, disappear, with a warrant out for his arrest after skipping a probation hearing. According to the Newsaskew website, he has since re-surfaced, but it kind of lends credence to the theory that the whole thing was a publicity stunt.

    And if you're a fan, then you'll just shake your head and say, "that's just Jasonů" It's kind of cool that a filmmaker and his "family" can engender that kind of response. We do feel like we know them, especially after watching this disc. But as even Smith notes in his commentary, before diving into this film you need to see his earlier work.

    Once you've done that, definitely dive in here. We were right in August. Smith was made for DVD.

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