Being a huge Kevin Smith fan, I don’t know how many times I’ve seen the

various films of the View Askewniverse ((Save Gigli and Jersey Girls, but

they’re only ancillary to the ‘verse)). Needless to say, I’m a fan, and that

includes the poorly received film that is Mallrats. Seriously, critics hated

it. Here you had Kevin Smith who just made his gigantic mark on the world with

$27,000 and some friends, and along comes a studio handing him buckets of cash

to put out something mediocre at best.

While watching Mallrats tonight, I think I finally found the answer to the

problem. Some blame the heavy role Jay and Silent Bob play in the film. Some

blame the fact that it’s set in Jersey but filmed in Minnesota ((Eden Prairie

to be exact – I’ve been there)). Some blame the overuse of overly verbose

verbiage spewed disproportionately to the perceived status of the characters

((See what I did there?)). Others just think Smith sold out and that alone

ruins it. But me, I’ve found the answer. And it’s one quote.

“It’s not a mall. It’s _the _mall.”

Yup. That. It hit me like lightning. That one line was the entire plot of

Clerks, despite it never being uttered. To Randall and Dante, Quick Stop was

the world. Not just a minimart – the minimart. Clerks 2 beat this message

over our heads with the dramatic Randall speech and montage to end the film,

but it was there all along. The unwavering love they had for this place was

tangible, despite the fact that Dante wasn’t even supposed to be there that

day.

All of these genuine, endearing qualities were missing from Mallrats. Even

when Brodie outright says phrases like “the mall” and “my mall,” it served as

nothing more than a venue. These people existed at the mall, but it could have

just as easily been set at a theme park or Mooby’s ((Here’s looking at you,

Clerks 2)) and it wouldn’t have been the least bit different.

So what, you say. Plenty. Clerks played off our empathy for shitty jobs. We’ve

all worked places we didn’t like on our day off. We had friends with shitty

jobs and we’d go visit them. Yeah, we’ve all shopped at a mall, but that’s

just a roof over stores we visit. Who cares? Take Mall of America – there are

multiple instances of any given store in one building. You can visit half of

the mall on one day, then do the exact same shopping trip the next day in the

other half. This is how we feel, and this is how Brodie, TS and the rest of

them treat their mall. Hell, they even visit another mall mid-movie. You would

never dream of seeing Dante stroll through a CVS or Walgreen’s in the middle

of Clerks.

Despite it all, I love Mallrats. It’s not my favorite in the ‘verse, but not

my least either. I love quoting it with my friends. I can’t eat a chocolate

covered pretzel without wanting to vomit a little. I have finished countless

tales with “true story.” And should I ever own a sialboat, I’m naming it

schooner. Dumbass.