Clerks III

Clerks III

Dante, Elias, and Jay and Silent Bob are enlisted by Randal after a heart attack to make a movie about the convenience store that started it all.

The directionless convenience store workers decide to make a movie about their lives in . Dante Hicks (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal Graves () are still working in the Quick Stop Convenience Store as they approach their 50s. However, Randal is forced to reflect on his life when he has a near-fatal heart attack. To finally make something of himself, Randal decides to direct a movie about his life working in the Quick Stop, with Dante as producer and additional help from their Christian-turned-Satanist employee Ellias Grover () and now-legal cannabis dealers Jay () and Silent Bob ().

Clerks III is the third and final film in Kevin Smith's trilogy, arriving 16 years after 2006's Clerks II. Dante and Randal still find themselves in the same dead-end position they have had all their adult lives, though Dante has become a broken man, still dealing with the car accident death of his wife Becky (), who he still sees in visions. When Randal himself has a brush with death, he suddenly decides to make a movie about his life in the Quick Stop. However, resisting some painful memories of the past might end up too much for Dante.

It has been nearly three decades since Kevin Smith's 1994 debut film Clerks became an indie hit and lumped Smith in the same up-and-coming category as Quentin Tarantino and Richard Linklater. Some of the more cynical cinephiles would argue that Clerks was Kevin Smith's peak, though it can't be denied that he has since enjoyed a long career as a cult personality who is now popular outside the world of the movies. While Kevin Smith's central outlet these days is his network of podcasts, many of which he tours live, he still occasionally returns behind the camera, and Clerks III arrives after more than a decade in development.

Clerks III is arguably Kevin Smith's most meta film, as not only does the film's inciting incident mirror Smith's near-fatal heart attack from 2018, but the overall narrative is essentially about the in-world creation of the original Clerks film. Admittedly I found Clerks III to be less laugh-out-loud funny than the previous entries in the series, but that's primarily because Kevin Smith opts to go in a very dramatic direction at times, whether it be Randall's heart attack or Dante's constant sorrow about his lost happy ending.

That's not to say that Clerks III is an entirely humourless film, and there is still plenty in the movie to laugh at, whether it be the antics of Keven Smith's signature characters, Jay and Silent Bob or the many cameos that pop up throughout the film, particularly during an audition montage.

At this point in his career, the films that Kevin Smith makes are only for the hardcore fans who followed him for his entire career. That said, Clerks III is a very emotional finale of a trilogy that began nearly three decades ago.

Trailer for Clerks III

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.