Blu-ray Review: Mallrats (1995)

October 20, 2020

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Geek’s geek Brodie Bruce (Jason Lee), a comic book loving video game enthusiast, is dumped by his girlfriend Rene (Shannen Doherty) and decides to spend the day at his happy place, the local mall.

Along for the ride are his equally jilted normie pal TS Quint (Jeremy London), who’s girlfriend Brandi (Claire Forlani) has bailed on a planned vacation to appear as a last minute contestant on her father’s (the legendary Michael Rooker) game show which just so happens to be filming at said mall.

Soon our heroes are on a mission to win back their respective ladies’ affection along with the help of high-as-fuck slackers Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (writer/director Kevin Smith), TS ex Gwen (Joey Lauren Adams), and even some sage advice from Stan Lee himself!

As a follow up to the previous year’s Clerks, I always felt Mallrats was a big misstep, and time hasn’t changed my opinion… but there is definitely a lot to love about this film.

For one thing, Jason Lee absolutely owns this film; he’s hilarious and delivers the right amount of lovable goof and smart-assery that makes the film a pleasure to watch, even when certain elements are conspiring against him on screen… but more on that later.

Also fun is the performance of Rooker as the picture’s Lex Luthor surrogate Svenning, a big fish in a small pond that absolutely refuses to accept any interference in the success of his precious game show, and Adams who is a spritely blend of crass sexuality and caring friend.

On the downside, Jeremy London manages to suck a ton of energy out of the proceedings. Quint is so superfluous to the story and vibe, and Brodie so much the star (it should have been him with the issue with Rooker… this didn’t need the buddy aspect cribbed from the aforementioned Clerks), that he literally just stands around for scene after scene… looking lost and unsure why he’s even there. Also Forlani seems more interested in (unsuccessfully) doing an American accent than actually being present.

But enough of that negativity, let’s talk about all of the fantastic bonus content those rascals at Arrow Video and MVD have included with this release. First of all we get a brand new (and honest) appraisal of the film from Smith that serves as an introduction to the feature, followed by an archival audio commentary with director Kevin Smith, producer Scott Mosier, archivist Vincent Pereira, and actors Jason Lee, Ben Affleck, and Jason Mewes in a lively, and often hilarious, conversation that details the film’s production.

Next comes new interviews with Smith (as well as an appreciation of the film’s producer, Jim Jacks), Mewes, and director of photography David Klein, an animated “making of” piece featuring the Minnesota-based crew who worked on the film, a lengthy collection of deleted scenes (with discussion from Smith and Pereira), outtakes and behind the scenes footage, a collection of archival interviews with the cast, an archival “making of” retrospective, an archival Q&A session with Smith, a music video, and the film’s trailer.

Moving on to Disc 2…

The second disc contains two additional cuts of the film (both with intros from Smith); a TV version (featuring hilarious dubbed dialog… the price of this set is worth every penny when you hear Jay’s voice in this version) and an extended cut; plus an archival electronic press kit for the film’s soundtrack, nearly 2 hours of dailies, and a duo of stills galleries (one of behind the scenes shots, the other containing the comic book art utilized in the film’s opening).

As if all of that wasn’t enough, you also get a collector’s booklet featuring new writing by film historian Philip Kemp.

While the film itself isn’t the best offering from Smith, it sure as fuck isn’t the worst… and honestly, the plethora of bonus materials make this worth it just to witness the director’s filmmaking process as he went from the indies to the majors after just one film; very inspiring stuff to any budding filmmaker out there for sure!

 

 

 

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