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Chasing Amy (Blu-ray Review)

9 Nov, 2009 By: John Latchem

chasing amy

Street 11/17/09
$39.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for strong graphic sex-related dialogue, language, sexuality and drug content.
Stars Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Lee, Dwight Ewell, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith.

While Clerks isn’t the type of movie to take advantage of the Blu-ray format, Chasing Amy, on the other hand, looks pretty damn good in HD.

Though Clerks was an indie darling, Kevin Smith’s 1996 big-studio follow-up, Mallrats, was a critical and box office failure, putting the young director’s career at a crossroads. After Chasing Amy, he would become a pop culture icon. (Of course, from Chasing Amy onward, Smith's career could be seen as one giant inside joke).

Smith’s third film, a 1997 romantic-comedy about a comic book artist (Ben Affleck in his last year before selling out to Hollywood) who falls in love with a lesbian (Joey Lauren Adams), is considered by many to be his best and most personal film, despite a static, almost theatrical, directorial style.

The flaws are not lost on Smith, who discusses them at length in a new commentary with his longtime producer Scott Mosier. In fact, Smith jokes about remaking the film as a sequel with the same cast as the same characters, but applying all the knowledge he’s learned as a director since then.

This Blu-ray edition is a welcome upgrade from the 2000 Criterion DVD (which itself was a retooling of the 1997 laserdisc version). The lone holdover is a collection of deleted scenes and outtakes. The original commentary track is not included.

New additions include retrospectives about the making of the movie, as well as a 10th anniversary Q&A recorded a few years ago. A common thread that emerges from these discussions is the idea that Smith was making “bromance” movies long before the likes of Judd Apatow made it fashionable.

Surprisingly, the film was conceived of as a high-school comedy, back when Smith was still connected to the studio system. At one point, we are told, studio bosses suggested casting Drew Barrymore, David Schwimmer and Jon Stewart as the leads. Smith having to return to his indie roots to make the film was obviously to its great benefit.

Note: Clerks and Chasing Amy are also available with Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back as part of The Kevin Smith Collection on Blu-ray Disc for $89.99.

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