I’m going to take a leap of faith before doing anything else. I’m going lay down my stick and take a blind step off the roof, hoping a few of you are there to catch.
I assume if you are reading this, you know who Kevin Smith is. You know, the guy who made Clerks 20 years ago and won’t shut up about it?
Yes. That Kevin Smith.
Well, it seems like Kev and crew are at it again, breathing new life into the fan-favorite characters Jay and Silent Bob. But this time, something’s a little different.
Jay and Silent Bob have returned to select big screens around the country for Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie, aptly titled because it stars Jay and Silent Bob, is an animated feature, and is (according to this nerd’s opinion) super groovy indeed. Writer Kevin Smith and Producer Jason Mewes (Silent Bob and Jay, respectively) have taken this Steve Stark-directed feature on the road. They scheduled a couple dozen dates (which can be found here) and hit the road with the low-budget (hilariously enough, the budget was $69,000) filth-fest.
I can just feel you asking your gadget screen how a movie like this came to be as you read this, right? Good. A few years ago, Stark took bits of audio from Smodcast, a weekly podcast recorded by Kevin Smith and producer friend Scott Mosier, and made funny little bits of animation to go along with the raucous audio. Kevin and company took notice, and Stark created and directed several episodes of what came to be known as Smodimations. Stark’s animation style was classic yet grotesque, a perfect match for the source audio. The shorts gained a fair amount of notoriety and eventually became the SmodCo Cartoon Show. When the idea for an animated film popped up, Stark was happy to get on board.
And yes, that’s the last of what you may dub the “boring backstory.”
Smith whipped up a script (extremely loosely) based on his previously-released graphic novel, Bluntman and Chronic, which features Jay as Chronic and Silent Bob as Bluntman in a ridiculous and vulgar stoner send-up of superheroes (mainly Batman and Robin).
As you can imagine, the script isn’t the hardest thing to follow. Jay and Silent Bob are posed with MULTIPLE chances to become superheroes (a Green Lantern-like character plummets to the Earth and offers them his ring with his dying breaths, they kill a radioactive spider seconds before it bites them, dodge barrels of nuclear waste, become involved in a secret “Super Soldier” government program but turn down the needle of serum), and end up inadvertently screwing up every single one of them. Using his “free $5” from the super soldier program, Silent Bob buys a few scratch-off lotto tickets and wins $10 million, affording the duo to live out their biggest dream…
They craft the Bluntcave under RST Video and don the costumes of Bluntman and Chronic, Red Bank’s newest (and only) superheroes.
From there, they inadvertently create a bunch of supervillains who band together as the League of Shitters in an attempt to kill Bluntman and Chronic and rule the city. There are little twists and turns here and there, but overall, the plot isn’t the most important thing in this movie. It’s actually almost a throw-away plot that serves the purpose of ripping on superhero movies and providing a framework for the expectedly juvenile jokes that we have come to expect from Jay and Silent Bob.
I could get into how parts of the script actually wrap into a somewhat scathing satire of the ridiculous leaps of faith we as the audience must take to buy into a superhero movie, or dense philosophies surrounding heroes, superpowers, and the argument of whether or not heroes beget villains, but like the movie, I’d rather just keep this post light.
If I had to put the movie into two words, they would be “fun” and “stuff.”
FUN: The movie was an insane amount of fun. The jokes were gross, but always brought a good laugh. From time to time, an animated Kevin Smith would pop up on the screen and present a small aside, whether it was to convince the audience that his characters’ points of view on hot button issues were not necessarily reflective of his own, or to blast Michael Bay and his ideas for the impending TMNT reboot that refuses to die. There are dick and fart jokes out the ass (yes, that was absolutely necessary), tons of sex and smoking, cursing left and right, and amazing cameos that are just too amazing to spoil. The only one that I can let myself talk about is writer Neil Gaiman, who voices Bluntman and Chronic’s manservant Albert.
STUFF: There’s almost no better way to explain it. There’s just so much… stuff in this movie. There are in-jokes and cameos galore, little jokes in the background or funny things in the animation. Walt Flanagan’s dog is referenced. Steve-Dave makes an appearance. Part of me wishes I had kept a running count of all the nerd and pop-culture references throughout the whole thing. It is truly a piece of Kevin Smith on the screen. I know I said it in the Clerks: The Animated Series post, but Smith loves to include references of all sorts to things that he loved from his childhood, and being on the same nerd page pays off tremendously throughout the film.
MORE STUFF: That’s right, kids. There’s a little extra on this tour. When the credits roll… you don’t go home! In fact, the night is barely half over! Smith and Mewes take the stage after every showing for a Q&A. Of course, it’s recorded to be repackaged as a podcast down the road. Apparently, the showing I attended at the Boston House of Blues will be presented as Jay and Silent Bob Get Old #110.
I highly recommend catching the movie on tour if you can. It’s definitely more expensive than a traditional movie ticket, but the fun afterwards and the overall good time I had through the whole event was worth it. It just felt like a group of 400 friends hanging on at someone’s house, having a good time and a couple of drinks, and watching a silly movie. Show me a person who doesn’t enjoy an evening of that and I’ll show you a person who isn’t invited to my next “hang out, have a few drinks, and watch a movie” party.
Now, I know Kevin Smith’s material isn’t necessarily every nerd’s cup of tea, but there is a large cross-section in the two fandoms. Either way, I’m sure if you’ve stuck with me this long, then this trailer is exactly what you want to see. Keep in mind, this is a Kev Smith joint, so this trailer is rather NSFW (audio and images).
So, if you’re a big Kevin Smith fan, this one isn’t to be missed. Go check it out if you can find a date near you.
And, if you aren’t a Kevin Smith fan, but you are still reading this, you should thank the guy either way. We at LUN HQ haven’t made it a big secret that Smodcast and Smith himself were inspiration for the blog and podcast. He embodies a “can do” spirit that helped get this thing off the ground. Just for that, I was happy to pay to see Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie. And clearly, I had a damn good time watching it.