Saturday, May 8, 2010

Clerks 2: Disc 1

by Chris McGinty

As some of you may know, I have a guard job. I do this job well, unlike the way I’m portrayed in Season Two. I do my proper patrols, and I stay awake. I also have a laptop that I make good use of, and this is with the blessing of my employer probably mostly officially. The fact is we have a list of things that we’re not to do on our posts, and even crossword puzzles are on that list, but I think they realize that strictly enforcing that is a good way to get people falling asleep.

I’ve decided to catch up on some movie watching recently, and my six hour a night/six day a week post is a great place to do just that. Especially since Nathan and I have a ten-weeks goal to open and sort three cases each of our Cyberpunk 2020 card game investment. Nathan should totally write a blog about this investment so I can throw up a link. Sorting these cards is a great passive exercise when you’re watching TV or movies, and probably vice-versa.

As a quick side note, I might be doing a fourth case. I’m not sure. I got it in my head to take all of the cards that I’d ever opened or sorted and merge them all together while I was doing the three cases. As I’ve been doing this I realized recently that I couldn’t remember if I was on case two or case three. So just in (umm) case, I brought a full one with me tonight. I will still complete the merging of all the cards by May 16, 2010.

I recently borrowed my roommate’s copy of the Clerks 2: 2-Disc Set. It’s rare that I watch movies again, but this was one I did intend to see again. So I watched it, and enjoyed it just as much as the first time. I realized that I would probably enjoy the commentaries and other special features. I realized that out here at my post with so many cards to sort was the perfect opportunity to go through each of the discs and bleed the content dry.

The first disc contains the movie (with optional intro featuring Kevin Smith and Scott Mossier), a scene selection menu (that I wouldn’t even bring up but for the fact that each scene is named after a piece of classic literature: Dante’s Inferno, Emma,…), deleted scenes (with optional intro featuring Kevin Smith and Scott Mossier), a mini-documentary about the donkey scene, and three commentary tracks.

The commentary tracks included a discussion of technical aspects of the film. This was somewhat rough for me because it was a lot of talk about lighting and what film they were using and things that I know little about.

There were also two tracks that featured cast members. These were a little more insightful to me. I’ve always said that Miguel and I could have been what Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes are. I should probably edit that statement as Kevin Smith and Scott Mossier. It just always seems like Mewes probably had a lot more to do with production, but I think he’s primarily an actor. Either way at some point I guess I also have to edit the statement as Nathan and I.

Regardless, I listened to these tracks with an ear for what’s different on their set as opposed to our set. The obvious stuff being actors to play parts, crew to handle behind the scenes, and a budget that exceeds Chris’s tip money (when he used to deliver pizza) and Nathan’s Blackjack winnings (which is sort of just an urban myth.)

What really caught my attention though were rehearsals. Apparently, when you shoot a movie with more than two actors and a budget that could buy houses rather than just dinner from Taco Bell, you do this thing called rehearsal.

Now before Nathan gets all excited thinking that I’m going to finally start looking over the script before I come over on Thursdays, and practice my emoting in the mirror, I’m not suggesting that we start rehearsing. I’m merely commenting on their use.

What’s interesting to me is the amount of change that the Clerks 2 script went through from the rough draft to the final edit. Not less than ten times, and possibly a lot more, Kevin Smith discussed how a little change here, and a little change there probably took the script from being pretty funny, to becoming a great movie.

Apparently, after he wrote the rough draft he got together with Mossier and some others and they discussed what was right and what wasn’t right, and then onto the rewrite. The creepy scene with the “pussy troll” was a happy accident of lighting troubles. Becky’s disbelieving reaction to Dante’s fear of dancing at his wedding was because Jeff Anderson couldn’t stop laughing at one of the lines during rehearsal. It was also his suggestion that Randall be the one to suggest they buy the Quik Stop when it was originally Silent Bob’s suggestion (not to mention the line “I got nothing” came from taking the lines from that character and giving them to Randall.)

I guess what I found interesting in all of this was the fact that there was no talk of Kevin Smith’s vision, not in the way that you might hear about Lucas or Spielberg, but rather it was discussion about how a collaborative effort with almost everyone involved took the script from good to great. I know that Lucas talked a lot about contributions on this other trilogy thing he did, but that’s not really what I’m saying.

I just found it interesting the production differences, and the changes the script went through. We have our own stories I’m sure, but I’m sure they don’t sound quite as professional. And yes, some of the changes in Clerks 2 came from the fact that they did numerous full rehearsals before shooting, but you know what… they never once had a great story about the game of Net Runner they played prior to shooting a scene, so who’s having more fun I ask ya?

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