Let’s be straight: I could type out the entire script of this movie by memory. That’s how important this movie was to a 23-year-old me. I even worked in an ad agency inside a mall and often felt like the characters in this, walking the shops and stores of Station Square with no shopping agenda. Even now, 28 years later, I can quote from this movie at any time and so much of it is part of my vocabulary.
I was probably one of the few people back then who loved it, because it bombed and writer and director Kevin Smith apologized for the movie at the Independent Spirit Awards.
Today, as Smith says on the intro to the Arrow blu ray, this movie has aged into being seen as a success.
This movie is all about the adventures of T.S. Quint (Jeremy London) and Brodie Bruce (Jason Lee) as they navigate the Eden Prairie Center Mall — actually in Minnesota*, but supposedly New Jersey — and attempt to get over the loss of their respective girlfriends, Brandi Svenning (Claire Forlani) and Rene Mosier (Shannen Doherty). Along the way, they interact with Jay and Silent Bob, meet Stan Lee and even go to the dirt mall.
That’s an oversimplification of a movie that once — and yes, still — meant so much to me. What comic book geek doesn’t see themselves as Brodie, a man who can somehow win over Doherty despite only caring about Superman being able to shoot semen like a shotgun and playing as Hartford on his Genesis? Even all these years later, I see him as one of the coolest characters in the movies of my youth and have followed Jason Lee through so many characters as a result.
From Michael Rooker trying to hunt down Brodie — and having to eat a curious pretzel — to the gameshow Truth or Date being made at “their mall” and Priscilla Barnes as a multi-nipple having fortune teller, there are so many moments in this movie that I remember and instantly laugh about. It also sets up Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back back as Suzanne the orangutan makes her first appearance.
While Jay and Silent Bob Reboot felt like a massive misfire, I’m happy to see that this movie has lost none of its fun and good feelings. Sometimes, as Smith says, things just age well.
Sadly, the malls we once haunted are all gone. Even the one I worked at is now all office spaces and tourist restaurants. We go there every once in a while for fondue. But all I can see is when it was once filled with people like me, those with no set shopping agenda.
*Fargo was being filmed in the same town at the same time.
The Arrow re-release of this movie comes with so much, starting with a 4K restoration by Arrow Films of both the Theatrical and Extended cuts of the film, approved by director Kevin Smith and cinematographer David Klein. There’s also audio commentary with Smith, producer Scott Mosier, archivist Vincent Pereira and actors Jason Lee, Ben Affleck and Jason Mewes.
Plus, you get an introduction to the film by Smith, an interview with the director, a tribute to producer Him jacks, interviews with Mewes and cinematographer David Klein, an animated making-of documentary featuring Minnesota crew members who worked on the film, deleted scenes, outtakes, behind-the-scenes footage, interviews on set, an archival making of featurette, a Q&A with Smith, the music video for “Build Me Up Buttercup,” a still gallery, dailies, a theatrical trailer, Easter eggs and a press kit for the soundtrack.
It all comes in an amazing package that has an illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Philip Kemp, a fold-out poster featuring replica blueprints for Operation Drive-by and Operation Dark Knight, and a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Robert Sammelin.