Book: Clerks and Chasing Amy – Two Screenplays

Kevin Smith has been one of my favorite directors ever since I first saw Clerks, way back in the day.  My friends and I would quote the movie constantly; my roommate in college even wrote Silent Bob's single line on a note-card and stuck it on the back of the door to our dormroom.  We called it a conversation piece.

Time moved on and we continued to watch Kevin Smith movies – Mallrats and then Chasing Amy.  Then we graduated.

Fast forward a decade and I have been becoming reacquainted with Smith's catalogue; after having watched Jersey Girl and Clerks II, I went back to the beginning and watched Clerks and Mallrats again.  Clerks was much better than I had remembered and Mallrats was much worse.  The benefit of being ten years older, I suppose.

Anyway, while on Amazon, I came across this book, "Clerks and Chasing Amy:  Two Screenplays" and decided I would give it a look.  The book is just what it says, the scripts for the two films, plus the Bluntman and Chronic comic book and a short introductory essay by Smith himself.  It was an entertaining, if quick, read and I enjoyed being able to finally read all the thank you credits at the end without having to stare at my t.v. screen from a distance of only three inches.

What was most enjoyable for me, however, was that these scripts are un-edited.  In other words, they contain all the cut scenes and original dialogue.  (If you are unaware of the original ending of Clerks, I really recommend checking for it on YouTube or somewhere – it's…different.)

It was also fascinating to see how much of the dialogue was unchanged from the screenplay to the film, something that I imagine would not be true for, for example, a Robert Altman directed movie.

I was, however, a little disappointed in the lack of content.  After all, the internet is full of screenplay and script repositories, so I feel a little cheated at having paid for them.  I would have preferred more commentary from Smith, in the form of footnotes, or something, to justify the cost of buying the dead tree editions of the scripts.  (It has been pointed out the the copyright / publishing date on this is 1997, when there was not so much on the internet.)

In short, the book is a quick, fun read for fans of Smith or for those who are interested in the process of filmmaking, but there is not much content that cannot be found online for those who look hard enough.

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