[Opinion] Clerks 3 Might Happen, Or How I Need To Learn To Stop Hating The Internet

Courtesy of ViewAskew.
I am a fan of Kevin Smith. Like any writer or director, some of his stuff is good, some of it isn't. And whether it is or not is very much the subject of personal taste. But I've always looked forward to his films. But more then that, I liked the man. Maybe my opinions of the films are coloured slightly because of my opinions of the man. When he first appeared nearly twenty years ago, he was a filmmaker I could relate to, someone I saw something of myself in, and was drawn to that. He seemed affable, kind of an everyman, at least in the early days.

When he announced his retirement, I was disappointed (especially after I eventually saw Red State), but not broken up. He wasn't alone. Quentin Tarentino has said he'll probably be stopping at ten films. Steven Soderbergh has announced a semi-retirement after the release of his next two. There was a time last year where it seemed everyone was announcing their retirement. And while I don't believe that anyone can announce the time they'll cease being (or feeling) creative, if they want to retire, they are free to do so. And Smith promised one final film, Hit Somebody, based on the Warren Zevon song and cowritten with Mitch Albom, which would explore the career of a hockey player. Actors signed on to the film, the script was written, then rewritten. Then nothing. Then the announcement that it would become two films. Script rewritten. Then it would be one film again. It appeared development hell had set in. What had began as a film that was meant to challenge Goon at the box office turned out to be yet another film that might never actually happen. I can't imagine too many of those (largely Red State) actors are still attached. And we'd been here before with Smith (and many, many other directors), promising films that never materialised.

Red State is a remarkable film, such a departure from his usual style and so very watchable, but I think it was during that release that I broke out of what I suppose you could call my "fandom" of the man. I take movies seriously, and I understood and respected all the points Smith was making about the failures and corruptions of the film industry, even if some of them did have the twang of bitterness and reindeer games. But because of the method of release, it meant I couldn't see a film on initial release that I very much wanted to, and had been anticipating for some time. This, coupled with my extreme disinterest in internet social media (and Smith's web presence is persistent) caused the association I felt with Smith to dissolve. He became just another director, a person somewhere else doing things I didn't feel as much for.

Hit the jump to continue reading something that started out as a simple "they're making Clerks 3" post and snowballed into why I don't really like the internet all that much.

Then came the announcement earlier this week that Hit Somebody would now be a TV mini-series to accommodate its size. And the final film of Smith's career would be Clerks 3, a movie he freely admitted in 2006 he would probably make in ten years time, to bring a conclusion to the lives of Dante and Randal. The Clerks films, Smith has said, reflected his life at the time they were made. I suspect that means Clerks 3 will deal with Smith's thoughts on parent and spousehood, through the character of Dante. Smith, on his twitter, has stated he has a 70 page treatment ready to go, which won't take much to beef up to a full script, and that he is "only waiting on Jeff Anderson to sign on." It doesn't matter if he has a script or not - Hit Somebody has had multiple scripts - that is no guarantee it'll get made soon, or at all. I suspect it'll be closer to the end of the decade before we see it, if it happens.

And I'm fine with that. Clerks 2 is one of Smith's better films, and if he's going to actually stop, it seems like the right place to do so. But my feeling is, this is one of the many problems with the internet, and with things like twitter, which I use infrequently, and only facetiously. People say too much (pause for irony of someone who writes mindless blather everyday condemning the inanity of the internet), or too much detail is revealed. Being able to give updates at a moment's notice, which leads to this constant string of the unverified or the unstable. The same problems plagues cable news, which report things instantly, without making certain that they 1) are actually happening, or 2) are worth reporting on. Nothing is official anymore, it's all unsubstantiated. So filmmakers like Smith can go on the net (the web? the tubes? what do the kids call this thing nowadays?) and say "I'm making this film" and that becomes the news. Despite not having a script, or a star, or anything actually resembling a film ready to be made. He has announced an intention, not a film. Why not wait until things are more firm, and then say, "I've got a script, I've got actors, we're starting production in X number of days." Sure, it still might not happen, but the chances are slimmer then right now. Because at least then, there is something physical at play. Right now, it's all just words.

And everyone on the internet is guilty of it. People like me who follow this junk, and people who do a far better job of reporting it, and make money off of reporting it, are desperate to fill their home pages, and reel in page views, so we litter the internet with set pics and twitter rumours and "sources close to the filmmaker" and other useless junk. I try never to bury the lead after a jump, using them only to limit the amount of space a post takes up on the main page, because I could care less how many library hobos are checking out the latest Hobbit update, or the newest rumour about who Benedict Cumberbatch is really playing in Star Trek Into Darkness. I'm not making money off of this site, I do this more as a writing exercise, and because I think dream journals are stupid. I write to write, and I write about what I'm interested in, and what I think others might be (or considering how many people read and really did not care for my Revenge of the Jedi treatment, not interested in). But I'm just as guilty of posting pictures of War Machine's new paint job and saying it might be the Iron Patriot, despite having no proof of this (it wasn't, as the official trailer much later confirmed). We never wait for the horse's mouth anymore. It's enough to see something coming over the hill, and think that it might be vaguely horse shaped, and then lose interest, so we're not paying attention when it turns out to be a Volvo.

And I don't think we can change. "Phones" are designed to do everything but make phone calls, so people are constantly twitting on their face slabs and taking instapics and spreading the unreliable and unneeded and everyone feels so entitled because of it. Like if we didn't know what Robocop's new uniform looked like, that was selfish of the filmmakers. While I feel there is a line between what is innocuous and what is actually worth keeping as a surprise (Robocop's costume isn't the latter by the way), the very idea that we wouldn't be told immediately seems to offend some people's sensibilities. Sure, film fans have always clamoured for information about our favourite films, but we never thought we'd get it, and it made waiting to see the film all the better. Now, a constant stream of information about the current state of development of a film makes it so, for whole years (look at the occurrences of the Avengers tag on this very site) you can't go a day without some news "breaking." I have regularly culled news on specific topics and put them in single posts at the end of the week because of the sheer amount of news plops (to coin a phrase, and feel free to use it) that appear throughout the week. Stringing them altogether barely makes them news.

And the studios know this, and run cons on us all the time because of it. Look at the run up to Avengers, when Marvel and Joss Whedon kept the identity of Loki's army secret. There was no real reason, as the Chitari wouldn't mean a lot to most people, but that it wasn't going to be the Skrulls was bigger news to a portion of the potential viewership. So they allowed the internet to fume and theorise and use Lego toys as proof and then still let the secret out before the premier anyway. Why? What was the point? It wasn't Vader's revelation, it wasn't Psycho's killer. It was a minor, largely pointless plot element that got blown out of proportion because the masses "needed to know." They had to know. They had a right to know. If, back in the initial plot summery released by the studio, they had said "Loki plans to invade Earth with Chitari soldiers," everyone would have went "oh, cool," and moved on with their lives. It would be like Marvel keeping the identity of the Dark Elves a secret in the Thor sequel: it isn't important, so don't bother. It doesn't ruin the ending, doesn't give away a major plot point or twist, and doesn't reveal any character's fates. So don't waste time wasting our time with this nonsense.

On the other hand, you have a film like Pacific Rim, which I figured would follow the model set by Cloverfield, where the look of the monsters would be teased endlessly via viral marketing, which is just another way of seeding the audience with an endless string of recycled information, because the target demographics have no focus or retention capabilities, and if they aren't reminded they should be excited about something every day and a half, they won't be, the movie will flop and everyone will be fired terribly (announcement trailers are the latest symptom of this sort of thinking). Happily, with the release of the first trailer, they have shirked this model, and shown the monsters straight away. Does it make me want to see the movie less because I already know what they look like? No. It is a small detail that doesn't have that much sway over my opinions. Only when it is made an issue, and over blown, does it become a distraction.

For my part, in the new year, I'll be trying harder to weed out the shit. I won't always be successful at it, like most other things on this site (spelling, humour, general content) but I will trying. Because it won't go away, it's too big, too much a part of the engine at this point to be removed. But we can make an effort to ignore it (unless it's related to Game of Thrones, in which case you can suck an egg, I'm posting that stuff. It sustains me...). And maybe if we ignore it, it will fade slowly away, and we can be pestered by the next great annoyance.

So (getting back to what I think might have been an original point), when the time comes, I will watch Clerks 3, and afterwards I will determine if I liked it or not. Before that, I will watch the trailer when it is released. Before that, I will read the studio announcements as to casting, and release dates and look at teaser posters and all that good stuff that I love about movies. But beyond that, I don't want to hear it.

Via Den of Geek and /Film.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.

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