Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Mallrats (1995) Limited Edition Arrow Films Blu Ray Review

 Mallrats (1995) Arrow Films 10/13/2020

Directed By: Kevin Smith

Starring: Jeremy London, Jason Lee, Shannon Doherty, Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Ben Affleck   

   If you were to make a list of polarizing directors Kevin Smith would probably be at the top. Personally I really enjoy Smith's quips and pop-culture fan-boy relish. But, I also understand why not everybody does.  Clerks (1994) played a big part in my film education as it was the first indie film that opened my eyes to how a low/no budget film could push the medium. And, then Mallrats (1995) hit cable and I instantly enjoyed it. As Smith says in his introduction (which is a must watch), the film was panned by critics, yet with the rise of comic book culture and fandom, the cult of Mallrats grew and grew. To celebrate its 25th anniversary Arrow Films has re-released this movie with three different cuts and a ton of features!  

      As I said I loved this movie in my teenage years but I realized that I had not seen Mallrats in a good decade or more.  I was curious how it held up now that I was in my thirties. I'm happy to report not only does the film hold up but it speaks to me more in my thirties than when I first saw it in my mid to late teen-age years. Smith's razor sharp wit and quips (which some are put off by) is on full force and the pop culture references fly fast and furious. The acting is great with Jeremy London and Jason Lee solid in their own right but also playing off each other beautifully. And a fantastic supporting cast including  Shannon Doherty, Ethan Suplee, Kevin Smith, Jason Mewe in their iconic roles. It's also cool to see Ben Affleck in a comic book themed movie, seeing how he donned not one but two comic book characters, Daredevil (2003) and, of course Batman in Batman v Superman (2016), Justice League (2017) and, the upcoming The  Flash set for 2022. Michael Rooker would also go onto join the MCU with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 1 and 2. And of course Stan Lee makes a cameo before that was even a thing. So, yeah...this movie being from the mid-90's it has some cringe-worthy jokes like a weird tiny sub-plot with a character named Trish (Renee Humphrey) who is suppose to be 15 (actually 20yr) sleeping with older men for research on a book. It's not so much funny as creepy these days. Also, the  womanizing on full display is a bit uncomfortable, especially when its played for light-hearted 'boys will be boys'.  The great thing is, how Smith shows how Brodie is at the beginning is  a man-child and it by the end of the film he does grow up...even if its a little bit. 

   1995's Mallrats came at a very weird time, a time before the Star Wars prequel's , a time before comic books we're reaching peak popularity but not yet a multi-billion dollar industry. Nerd fandom was rabid but movie studios and television outlets weren't catering to them like they do now. Kevin Smith mentions in his introduction how the movie came way too early and, despite some maybe cringe-worthy jokes the film not only holds up extremely well it feels way more relevant then perhaps it did back in '95. Mallrats and the story of how it was loathed by critics, tanked at the box-office yet taken back by fans and now a beloved classic is oddly inspiring. If you`ve slept on this film you should check it out as its a enjoyable meditation on being aimless and in your twenties, which is something most of us all go through.  

Disc 1: Theatrical Cut Runtime: 94 minutes w/optional introduction by Kevin Smith (12mins). 


Sound: Mono Track and DTS 5.1 

Extras: Arrow has really rolled out the red carpet for Mallrats and this set is packed to the brim with special features.  The first disc contains: Audio Commentary with Cast and Crew (which I believe was imported over from the previous edition), 

New- Mallrat Memories (29mins 58secs) a great in depth interview which Kevin Smith talks about the history of Mallrats filled with great trivia. Smith is such a lively interview subject and you cannot help but hang on his every single word. 

Mr. Mallrats:  A Tribute to Jim Jacks  (12mins) In a new interview with Kevin Smith, the director pays tribute to Jim Jacks with rare photos and great stories. 

New-Blunt Talk (9mins) Jason Mewes recounts his film time on Mallrats in this great interview. 

New- Hollywood of the North (10min) a fun animated featurette from some of the unsung heroes of Mallrats. 

New-When We Were Punks (6mins) a interview with director of photography David Klein. A great interview with Klein on his history with Smith, filming Clerks and Mallrats. 

Deleted Scenes (61 mins) This vintage feature has Kevin Smith and Vincent Pereira show deleted scenes. This is pretty long but really well worth watching as it showcases some very cool trivia and of course rare scenes. 

Outtakes and Behind the Scenes Footage (8mins) Really fun look at behind the scenes with some funny bloopers. 

Cast Interviews from the original set. (8mins) If you want a real blast from the past, interviews from the cast in between takes. It's cool to see everybody in their costumes talking about the film. It's nice to have some vintage features along with the new stuff. 

Erection of an Epic: The Making of Mallrats (22 mins) A archival featurette on the making of the film. This was for the collectors edition released in 1999. 

Kevin Smith Q&A (9mins) Filmed for the films 10th anniversary  

Build Me Up Buttercup Music Video (3 mins) a fun video featuring Jay and Silent Bob. 


Disc 2:  Extended Version Runtime 121 min  w/with optional introduction by Kevin Smith  (11mins) this is ported over from the 10th ann. of the film. It's nice for completist sake to have the Smith cut of Mallrats, but I actually prefer the original 94min cut. 

TV Cut 95mins New to this edition is a cobbled together TV cut which features hilariously dubbed dialogue and alternate takes re-inserted into the film. The original film elements have been lost so the takes have been inspired using the best possible elements Arrow had available. Again, much like the extended cut, its nice to have this on home video for completest sake. 

Extras: Soundtrack EPK: (4 mins)A soundtrack promo featuring Scott Mosier and Kevin Smith. Another amazing flash back vintage featurette advertising the soundtrack. 

Dallies (119min) Nearly two hours worth of dallies featuring alternate takes 

Still Galleries : Behind the Scenes Stills, Comics

If you add it all up Mallrats features over four hours of features and three versions. Thankfully Smith, Jason Mewes, David Klein and other crew members were involved in this new addition and also ports over features from the previous editions as well.  Arrow has given fans of this movie a home video edition that was well worth the wait. Makes my short list of Best Release of 2020. Pick it up! 

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