Saw a Takashi Miike picture called The Great Yokai War. "Yokai" is a Japanese term for monsters from folklore, as opposed to the more familiar kaiju. It's a kids' picture, about a young boy from Tokyo sent out to live in the countryside with his older sister and his intermittently senile grandfather. When a vengeful spirit appears, the boy gets caught up in a war between warring groups of yokai and must find his courage to become the "Kirin Rider", the hero who will set everything to rights. It's not a bad picture - nothing deep, but an amusing story. Some of the yokai are really trippy, Japanese folklore can get pretty "out there", apparently.

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Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde, a bizarre, but better-than-it-should-be Hammer horror from 1971. The doctor turns into an evil female whom he passes off as his widowed sister. It takes place in a contemporary pop-culture version of the late Victorian Era, so the prostitutes are beautiful, Whitechapel looks like an Oliver! version of Dickensian, and the plot, of course, brings in the Jack the Ripper murders (because that was the only things that apparently happened in London at the time) and, bizarrely, Burke and Hare, whose crimes took place in Scotland in the late 1820s. The setting is to Victorian era London what the typical movie version of Ye Olde Middle Ages is to the actual medieval era.

Still, the central performances, while stylized and occasionally scenery-masticating in the Hammer tradition, are solid, and the Jekyll and Hyde actor/actresses look eerily like each other.

I saw Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde a couple of months ago. As you said, it’s “better than it should be.” Back in the 70s, I think I only saw one Hammer film. I’ve watched a fair number recently. They are always entertaining, but everything is just a little too clean and shiny.

Did you ever see a movie or TV show from any production company with prostitutes who weren’t beautiful? Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman was a thousand-dollar escort pretending to be a streetwalker. They made it look like a viable career choice.

I’m sure there were other murders around the same time, just not as savage, imaginative and serial.

Your comment about Ye Olde Middle Ages reminded me of something I’ve observed. Whenever someone remembers past lives, they never seem to have shoveled out stables.

CLERKS: The first time I saw this movie I didn't really care for it. But I went through a little "phase" in the '90s and it grew on me. At this point, I hadn't seen it for 20 years until today. It really is quite witty, but back then I had a hard time getting past the bad (nearly non-existent) acting.

CLERKS: The first time I saw this movie I didn't really care for it. But I went through a little "phase" in the '90s and it grew on me. At this point, I hadn't seen it for 20 years until today. It really is quite witty, but back then I had a hard time getting past the bad (nearly non-existent) acting.

I actually remember when this movie was released, and I think it was in the the theaters for like 2 weeks. I didn't watch it then. When it came out on video, a friend of mine rented it. He watched it, told me he thought it was really good. I went to his apartment, and he left. I watched, and then r-wound the movie and immediately watched it again. A lot of this really stuck home as I was working retail at the time.

MALLRATS: This is the lowest of Smith's lowbrow movies. Most of his movies are a mix of lowbrow and art, with at least one scene bordering on the philosophical. Mallrats doesn't really have such a scene. It's got Stan Lee, though, so there's that. 

I remember when this came out in the theaters as well, and it was pretty well panned by the critics, so I didn't watch there. But once it came out on video, I watched it, and I thought it was pretty damn funny. I think it is pretty underrated. Plus, it has Claire Forlani

MALLRATS: This is the lowest of Smith's lowbrow movies. Most of his movies are a mix of lowbrow and art, with at least one scene bordering on the philosophical. Mallrats doesn't really have such a scene. It's got Stan Lee, though, so there's that. It also has an American Graffiti-style ending which foreshadows Suzanne, an orangutan, who won't be introduced (on film) until Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back

Awesome, I quoted Jeff before he posted...

I came back to add that line about Suzanne and had to repost because the edit widow had closed. We must have crossed.

I remember hearing that KS filmed an alternate ending to Clerks in which Dante was shot and killed at the end, but I've never seen it. (It's probably on the DVD version but I'm watching on VHS.) 

EDIT: Oh, nevermind. Here it is on YouTube.

From the Clerks III prequel, Randall becomes Kevin Smith in that he makes an independent film about his life as a clerk and films the scene of Dante getting shot (1:33).

CHASING AMY: This is Kevin Smith's "arty" film. It introduces Holden McNeil and Banky Edwards, the creators of the "fictional" Bluntman & Chronic comic book which is based on the "real life" Jay & Silent Bob. The conflict arises when Holden falls in love with Alyssa, a lesbian. Their relationship threatens his and Banky's partnership. The whole movie builds to this one scene (3.15). Yesterday I mentioned that most of Smith's movies have one key scene which encapsulates the theme; this is the one for Chasing Amy. What I like about Kevin smith's movies, as crass and raunchy as they can be in places, is that the characters in them do grow. For example, here's what Holden has learned by Jay & Silent Bob: Reboot (1.07).

Reading your summaries of all those Kevin Smith movies made me think about them as a body of work ... and it's a heap of mediocre. I've completely forgotten Mallrats (except the Stan Lee scene), to the point that I don't even remember what it was about. The best of them, Chasing Amy, had a number of scenes and concepts that left a bad taste in my mouth. (All a lesbian needs is Ben Affleck to straighten them out? Please.)

On another topic:

I don't think I mentioned that we watched Jurassic Park: Dominion a few weeks back.The dinosaurs were nice.

This one combined the major characters from the first Jurassic Park trilogy (Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum) with the major characters from the second one (Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard). And they did some Easter eggs at the end that hearkened back to the first movie (a shaving-cream can, for example). So it should have been awesome.

But I guess I've been spoiled by Peak TV because I found the story shallow and eye-rolling. I love all the actors mentioned above, but they just seemed to going through the motions, repeating lines from previous movies and doing exactly what you'd expect them to do. The moments where you're supposed to cheer were so telegraphed that I was never tempted.

But, as I said, the dinosaurs were nice.

"Reading your summaries of all those Kevin Smith movies made me think about them as a body of work ... and it's a heap of mediocre."

That is a perfectly cromulent assessment, and I agree that Smith's films should be viewed as a body of work. For me, it is as fun to imagine that these films all take place within the same fictional reality as it is difficult to conceive. 

CLERKS: Independent

MALLRATS: Lowbrow

CHASING AMY: Arty

DOGMA: Religious fantasy

The common element in all of Smith's films is the presence of Jay & Silent Bob, who move seemingly effortlessly from one genre to another. Watching them back-to-back like this, certain aspects of small-town life become more readily apparent. For example, Heather Jones (from Clerks), Tricia Jones (from Mallrats) and Alyssa Jones (from Chasing Amy are all sisters... and they've all had sex with Rick Derris. Another aspect that tickles my fancy is that many of the actors play multiple roles... often in the same film. I'm not trying to convince you of anything; I just want you to know what I see in them. 

"(All a lesbian needs is Ben Affleck to straighten them out? Please.)"

I will disagree with you there. Their relationship couldn't work out, and if fact, didn't work out. But as I said yesterday, the characters do grow, and Jay & Silent Bob: Reboot revisits their relationship (from both sides) 22 years later on. Smith's movies can be appreciated on different levels is what I'm saying.

I liked "Chasing Amy"  but have always thought it was overrated. Then again I thought "Mallrats" was underrated, so do with what that what you will. I think this was the movie that really catapulted Kevin Smith into the "big time"

Thanks, Jeff! As I've said before, I love hearing what others see in things I don't enjoy, on the chance that I might see and enjoy those things too, It's probably some form of FOMO as it is open-mindedness, but I am keen to see through the eyes of others when I don't like the things they do.

While I can't say I'm moved to re-visit movies I found only mildly diverting decades ago, I will say you have taught me some new things, and provided some neat analysis, So again, thanks!

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