I have no idea what's going on

But let's find out

I am in my 40s and recently quit my job of 20 years to take care of my ill son and to pursue my love of writing.  Within this blog, I hope to cover all the ups and downs I will face as I go from unpublished to published writer, while facing the challenges of being a stay at home dad to a teenager battling Crohns and colitis. Along the way I'll spout off on pop culture and revisit the entertainment that made me the person I am today.  My writing primarily falls under horror but I hope to branch out to other genres as I travel down this path. 

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  • ERIC BUTLER

And now you're quarantined...

Are you person of the 90s? Meaning, of course, did you spend any of your teenage years or 20s in 1990-99? If so there's a good chance you are a fan of Kevin Smith.


And if you are a fan of Kevin Smith and the world he created, I have some suggestions for you to pass your quarantined time with. Of course, I could just list the movies based in NJ and say watch these but what's the fun in introducing you to movies you already know and love? If you only know Kevin Smith from what he's doing on the internet or his work with the televised DC universe then you need to expand your horizon and take a step back in time.


Clerks, Mallrats, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Clerks 2 are all apart of his New Jersey universe...Kevin Smith was doing Marvel before Marvel even had a movie worth watching. Throw in some of his bigger budget films and you could add Jersey Girl, Zack and Miri, and Cop Out and he's directed a lot of comedies...some with heart and others mostly fart jokes.


But Smith became disillusioned with how studios made movies and he decided to go back to making movies as he did before, without all the money but with more of the control, and with actors he enjoyed working with - apparently, he's not a fan of Bruce Willis who made Cop Out a nightmare production.



Not only had he decided to go independent, but he also went away from his comic roots. He tried to get Red State made in 2007 right after Zack and Miri but Miramax passed stating it was too dark and unsettling to find an audience. And it is unlike anything Kevin Smith had done up to that point. So here's the problem, you can't see it. It is streaming nowhere and if you want it on DVD or Blu-ray it's gonna cost you. Maybe you can find it at a video rental like Family Video but most likely you will have to wait for it to make it's way back to Prime or Netflix. Once it does. I'll let you know on my Facebook page. So here I can only offer you a sample with the trailer...







The next movie Smith does is a few years later, after filming his podcast with Jason Mewes on location in Ireland and Australia - you can find those streaming if you are interested in hearing stories of previous films, and what they are up to at the time. But Kevin Smith decided to stay in the horror genre for his next movie, Tusk. I struggle with this one because it might be less horror than just a bunch of bizarre events leading to a horrible ending, but that's the great thing about horror...it covers a lot of different topics. So what is Tusk about? Boiled down to its essence...it's about a guy who likes walruses and how he tries to physically and mentally change people into one. In all honesty, I'd say you can pass on it but there are some great performances by Justin Long, Michael Parks, Haley Joel Osment, and Johnny Depp (if you can figure out who he is). You can stream it on Netflix...



So now that you've decided to skip Tusk and can't watch Red State, we can get to the next couple of movies I've gotten on here to share. But first a little back story...


So if you are familiar with the NJ universe, please be patient while I inform the uninformed about the two knuckleheads in every single film, Jay and Silent Bob.

On the left is Jay, played by Jason Mewes, and the right you have Silent Bob, played by Director Kevin Smith. They smoke and deal pot, and hang out in front of the Quicky Mart. Jay is loud, obnoxious, and in your face, while Silent Bob is...well, silent. He is a man of facial expressions and later emojis on his I-Phone. Introduced mainly as comic relief to the main comic storyline, these 2 characters are featured in every movie that falls into the NJ universe and even a few things that don't (both characters have been on Degrassi and the CW's Flash). Not only do they pop up in the movies, but they have also evolved to central figures in Kevin Smith's movie universe.


Now while they are great characters, many think it's because Kevin is doing this to distract his friend Jason, who has a drug addiction problem. Clean and sober now, there was a time when he was heading to jail with no way to bounce back in acting. Lucky for him his buddy is a podcaster and director and kept giving him work to keep him out of trouble. This leads us to the first movie suggestion. If you are a fan and have seen Clerks-Mallrats-Chasing Amy-Dogma-Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back-Clerks 2, then you catch the newest adventure in Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (2019). On its own, the movie is okay with some funny moments but seen as a companion piece to the whole universe, it's an Easter Egg hunt galore. I almost paid for this movie multiple times since its release, but you can see it for free if you have Amazon Prime.



The next movie is a fun what-if comedy of errors with many of the characters playing versions of themselves. Madness in the Method is directed and stars Jason Mewes as he struggles to make his way through Hollywood. Typecast as the stoner guy, Mewes is desperate to prove not only is he a good actor but he is a leading man (side note - Kevin Smith wanted to cast Mewes as Green Arrow in a movie years ago but the studio didn't see it). This movie is pretty fun, and also has a ton of cameos and Easter eggs if you are a fan of his previous work. Unlike Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, you don't have to have a history with the characters to get the joke and enjoy the movie as a whole. Mewes does what his character set out to do in the movie, show he can lead a movie.





Bonus watch if you have hoopla for streaming or want to pay $5.99 on Amazon streaming, then get Clerks animated. A very short run series on ABC, it has voice work by the original cast and is super funny.


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