Movie View- Zak and Miri Make A Porno.

Yesterday Stratt and myself sat down and had a glance at this flick. I have to admit at first I was a little nervous because in my opinion the 2 greatest Kevin Smith films were “Clerks” and “Mallrats”. I am not just saying that to be on some kind of “Suck K. Smith’s dick” band wagon. When I was in high school I worked at a video store and that is pretty much what got me hooked on movies to begin with. One of the first movies that I every really rented as an employee was “Clerks”. The movie had been out for about 2 years at that point and I rented it because according to our files it was the second least rented movie in our store. Based on the tastes of our town I figured that made it good since the most rented movie in our store was a video about hunting. I watched the movie 3 times in a row before calling all of my friends and forcing them to watch it with me.

I loved how simple it was. Straight forward shots of almost nothing but dialogue. I dug Mallrats a lot too because, no matter what anyone says it was really funny. After that his movies started to take a dive for a while. Chasing Amy for example had some really good parts, but overall it was sort of a let down for me and at the time I didn’t understand why. I did find out later and I will explain in a bit.

I liked Dogma a lot, but I believe that if that was the first Kevin Smith movie I had ever seen that I wouldn’t have gotten into him at all. After that was Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Again, funny, but it just felt like more of the same. Kevin wrote a few issues of the comic book “Dare Devil” and to be honest they are probably the only issues of that book I really enjoyed. I am kind of a comic snob and I never really cared for DD but Smith presented him in a really cool way and I loved that too, proving to me again how much I loved him as a writer. Then he hits me with Jersey Girl. I loved this movie. Jay and Silent Bob had grown annoying so I was glad to see him make a movie without having to lean on them. I loved the fact that J. Lo. was killed instantly and the plot was great. I identify with it even more now having to had to give up my entire life and move back to my hometown which I despise and start over again.

Clerks 2 came out and honestly I could go either way on it. It wasn’t a let down, in fact it was a decent movie. It is just that at that point it had been more than a decade since I first saw Clerks and I just couldn’t connect with those characters and relate them to my life as easily. That was when I realized why I hadn’t liked Chasing Amy. When he made Amy, Smith was changing. He was growing up. He was trying to make a movie ABOUT something. That’s why it was different. It wasn’t that I didn’t like it, it was that he was trying to be different without giving it away so he tossed Jay and Bob in there and it was like 2 movies smashed together.

I guess what it all boils down to is that Smith created these characters in the View Askew universe to relate to people in their late teens to mid twenties and did such a good job of it that most of the fan base he appealed to didn’t want anything else from him. I think now he has finally broken free of that and I hope that he keeps moving in that direction. Now on to Zak and Miri.

First I was interested in seeing this movie for 3 main reasons. First, it was filmed about a half hour from where I grew up so I wanted to see how well he portrayed the douche bags around where I lived. Second, I knew it was another movie where he was trying to work completely outside the VA universe. Third it had Elizabeth Banks and she is one of my celeb crushes.

I loved this movie. Overall I think it is probably one of his best movies ever. My only complaint is that it felt like there was a lot of the story cut out. I remember reading that he had to cut a lot of stuff so that he wouldn’t get an NC-17 Rating and I am sure most of that didn’t interfere with the story but it seems like he did cut some stuff that may have been needed because it felt at times like the character development was a little rushed and he didn’t intend to do that.  The best way to explain why I felt that way is that there is a scene that takes place after the porno starts production. They have 3 days of shooting left and the cast and crew comes to Zak and Miri’s apartment for a party. They give them a very touching gift (which I won’t give away) and their explanation for being so generous was because Zak and Miri let them be a part of their movie. I felt like something else must have happened where Zak and Miri did something for all of the cast and crew, touched their lives in some way to make that happen because before that, they were all just co-workers and then they were all the sudden like a family with no real reason. Stuff like that just sticks out in my brain. It really doesn’t take away from the over all movie that much and was really my only complaint.

The concept of this movie KIND of reminded me of a movie called “The Amateurs” because it was about a group of people making a porn but after seeing this one it was definitely an entirely different flick.

The other thing worth mentioning is that he ABSOLUTELY captured most western PA townies. There is a scene where a drunken Steelers fan walks in on the porn shoot and he totally nailed it. Take it from me that he was not exaggerating at all. In fact I think I might even know (or be related to) the person that was based on.

See this movie. 9 out of 10

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