acted like a jerk, but that could easily have been me in the same situation".
Don't let this review fool you, though. This movie has some great comedic moments as well, and of course, Jay and Silent Bob put in an appearance. I think Jason Lee really shines in this picture, though it's hard to see that given all the outstanding performances. Definitely worth seeing.
42 of 50 found the following review helpful:
something more personalJul 06, 2000
By Booty Brown
The story of this film is a personal one for writer-director Kevin Smith and it's no wonder that it's his best effort to date--a great, warm film about relationships & more obscurely, a reflection on his movie career. A comic book artist named Holden McNeil (Ben Affleck) falls for a Lesbian from his hometown in New Jersey. He's old school in his ways of love & life and happens to mix it up with the more interesting crowd. At the beginning of the picture--a scene that was finally cut--Holden and Banky (Jason Lee), his best friend/roommate, receive a verbal bashing from two comic book store owners who despise their work. Kevin admitted lifting much of that dialogue from a negative review of "Mallrats" (which had studio exec hands all over it and failed I think because it tried to be a comic-book action movie.) "Clerks" (his first movie), "Chasing Amy," & his latest "Dogma" are all down-to-earth, personal movies that are funny, filled with wonderful, inspired dialogue, and unfold more like stage plays than celluloid --he decides on a location to put his characters in and has them talk; it doesn't much matter if they're in a kitchen or at a hockey rink.
There's a scene in "Chasing Amy" when Holden is telling Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams) he'd "like to get back to doing something more personal like [his] first book." This could just as easily be: "I'd like to get back to doing something more personal like our first movie."
"When are you going to do that?" Asks Alyssa.
"When I have something personal to say."
"Chasing Amy" is that movie. Indeed, Kevin Smith put much of himself into this picture and the result is his funniest, smartest, and most dramatic work. As Holden becomes close friends with Alyssa, Banky feels rejected. He wants him to stop fooling around with Alyssa and "sign off on the whole cartoon thing," but mainly he doesn't want to lose Holden. It's also interesting to note that "Clerks" became an animated series for a short time and it's possible much of the subplot came from Smith's own feelings about selling-out his art for the big bucks (which also can be construed as his decision to make "Mallrats" the way he did). I like the subtle gestures between Banky & Holden and admire their friendship. This is Ben Affleck's best role. He doesn't seem as confident & charming in it as he does in some of his more recent roles. He's goateed and appears to be a little more bulky and chubby in the face--even his voice and his manner of speaking make him seem older. His character is average yet poetic, he makes you believe the conclusions that he comes to, as absurd as they may seem to others. They're are quiet, touching moments between characters with & without words. In a scene that'll never see the light of day, Banky holds Holden in his arms after he comes to a crossroads with Alyssa. I would've like to have seen it. It's just as much a movie about male affection (not necessarily gay either) as it is about being completely in love with a person.
Jason Lee shines--he has a natural gift for comedic timing. In a typical romantic comedy, he'd by the poor schmuck sidekick who gets shunned, but his character is just as crucial to Holden's life as the woman he loves. And as Alyssa, Joey Lauren Adams is full of emotion, spontaneity, and charm.
Smith's camera doesn't move often & the critics tend to knock him for it--who cares? He makes his movies fine and I've always said he's a good voice for the subculture of Generation X intellectual slacker-types. Mainly "Chasing Amy" consists of a series of wonderful moments focusing on the growing relationship between Alyssa and Holden & the deteriorating relationship of Banky and Holden. Then several key scenes of emotional fury that are so well written and acted and reveal so much that it elevates beyond a straight comedy and it becomes entirely Kevin Smith's movie--a perfect expression of being crazy & completely wrecked in love, which Holden undoubtedly is.
Hooper is the voice of reason & wisdom--the gay black man, who, to sell his comic book, "White Hating Coon," pretends to be a militant Black Panther-esque speaker when he's anything but. He seems to understand the three-way situation plainly, but he's also on the outside looking in and when you're in love your mind is a complicated mess.
Wanted or not, Holden also gets "advice from the `hood" when Jay & Silent Bob meet him at a local diner (they're the inspiration for his and Banky's popular comic book, "Bluntman & Chronic"). He gives him guidance in the best way a person can--he tells him a story that echoes his own and hopes he catches a clue--He doesn't. And after a serious examination of his individual relationships with Banky & Alyssa, he suggests something both funny, unexpected and sincere.
I always get the impression that when a director tries to make an enjoyable movie that will be well-received, it usually isn't. It's when they put it all on the line and make a picture altogether theirs that people respond to it. I've seen "Chasing Amy" God-knows-how-many-times now & still every time I sit down to watch it I'm touched, I still smile at some point in nearly every scene, I still get weepy-eyed. I wish every time that I could crawl up on that red coach, go to sleep, and wake up in this world.
With "Chasing Amy," Silent Bob becomes less of a comic book super-hero, and more like I'd imagine Kevin Smith to be in real life, and when the big guy finally opens up, he says what he wants to say perfectly.
27 of 31 found the following review helpful:
CAN IT BE? AN *INTELLIGENT* MOVIE! YOU BET!Aug 05, 2000
By Claude Bouchard Jr.
It's no surprise that this movie was never the box officesuccess that it should have been: this film is much too deep and truthful for average audiences. Kevin Smith provides some incredible insights about people and relationships, but most folks don't want to think when they go to the movies and would much prefer to see pulpy schmaltz about characters overcoming their idiotic superficial differences and living happily ever after.
I won't sum up the movie as other reviewers have done a great job of that here. Two things that I wish to comment on, however: 1) The "F" word is used extensively here, some will say overused, as is explicit sexual dialog. If you're watching with children (despite the R rating), you are hereby warned. 2) This film has two of the most touching and emotional moments I've seen in a contemporary movie: Holden's declaration of love to Alyssa in the car (Affleck's delivery is so honest and true and impassioned that you will practically feel his nervous relief when he finally tells her) and Alyssa's tearful speech when she realizes that she must leave him (this portion of the script is brilliant and Alyssa's deep hard-hitting dialog could only have been written by someone who's been there).
On to the technical aspects of the disc -- The audio is absolutely perfect: not too loud, not too soft, the dialog/music/sound effects are all perfectly balanced. This is one of a small handful of DVD's where you can set the volume once and you don't need to constantly adjust it. (DVD producers should take note of this! There's nothing more annoying than having to crank up the volume because the dialog is too soft, only to have the house rattle once the music or sound effects kick in.) The video is a bit grainy at times, something I find very surprising coming from a contemporary Criterion release. This is minor, considering the excellence of the story itself.
The deleted scenes are interesting and funny. The commentary is good, but because it's a group effort, it can get annoying when everyone's trying to speak at once or when they don't stick to the on-screen action. Small doses are recommended for this one. Finally, the outtakes are funny, but too few.
In all, it's rare to see such an intelligent contemporary movie. This is a DVD worth owning.
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