Guest Post: The most underappreciated film of 2006

We have all developed our online rituals. There is that first page we all like to check whenever we fire up our browsers. Some of you go immediately to your MySpace page to see how many people think you’re special and some of you go to that other person’s MySpace page that you are currently stalking.

One of my rituals is going to Yahoo’s page to see what crap they are putting up as content. This morning, they posted up a list of the year’s top 50 films. I’m not going to use up Darleene’s blog to argue if The Departed was the number 1 film of 2006 and I do appreciate the fact that they picked Slither to be number 15. But to say that Superman Returns was the 28th best film of the year is pretty damn off if you ask me. I mean, dude, that movie was Supercrap after the whole airplane scene.

What I am going to recommend to all of you late 20 and early 30 something year olds is a movie that did not make Yahoo’s top 50 of 2006. The movie I speak of is Kevin Smith’s vulgar and poignant masterpiece Clerks 2. It’s no secret I’m a Kevin Smith fan. If you want proof of my bias, go check out disc 3 of the Clerks X, 10th anniversary DVD and look for the Filipino guy wearing a red hockey jersey in the documentary and you’ll see the fucknut that’s writing this piece.

Kevin’s work is not for everyone but I want to give some insight as to why this movie really spoke to me. To do that, I have to do some Clerks history. Kevin Smith got his big break with his black and white indie film Clerks back in 1994. The movie was about two guys, Dante and Randal, that worked at a convenient store and video store respectively. There wasn’t much of a plot but just a lot of dialogue about their musings on life and pop culture. It was a snapshot of two slackers from Red Bank, New Jersey in their 20s that really had no real direction and were just going through the motions of getting by. In 1994, I was about to enter my 20s as a college student and I had no idea where I was going in life but I just knew that I had to go through the motions of being a student.

A little over 10 years later, Kevin revisits the characters of Dante and Randal now in their 30s. They’re older but not that much wiser. The big difference is that they are now faced with issues of being more responsible and they are realizing that they aren’t as young as they used to be. Dante is faced with a conflicted heart and Randal is forced to deal with the fact that his care free attitude just won’t cut it as a 30 year old.

These characters run parallel to my life. I’m now 30 something and have to face responsibilities that I didn’t have in 1994. Questions about living a destiny that is someone else’s versus trying to make my own path are a part of my day-to-day life when thinking of my career. Do I just play it safe and take the road that people have traditionally told me to take? Or do I try to do the things that will be fulfilling for my personal life that will require me to go on the road less travelled? I’m sure that’s something all of you Gen-X’ers have to deal with.

Some will just watch Clerks 2 and see it as a bunch of foul-mouthed folks talking about sex and inter-species erotica. And yes, this movie is full of four letter words, pop-culture references and an interesting dance number that happens out of nowhere. But if you can see beyond all the “ass-to-mouth” dialogue, this movie has a lot of heart. It really is about friendship, love, and self-discovery. It’s about facing the future and being true to one’s self. It is about us, the generation-x kids growing up and dealing with our new lives.

Clerks 2 doesn’t have a magical boy flying on a broom nor does it have a bunch of A-list actors trying to make an Oscar contending film. It may not be on the majority of people’s top 50 of 2006 lists but for this movie fan, Clerks 2 was the one film that really stood out this past year.

2006 is said and done with. Here’s hoping for a great 2007.

– Moonie L.