We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
I don't have any idea what went on during the preparation of "Mallrats," Kevin Smith's new film, but that won't stop me from speculating. Smith is the young filmmaker who made "Clerks," the story of a long, strange day in a convenience store, for $25,000.
Now, with a budget at least 100 times as large, he has moved upscale from a shopping strip to a real mall for a glossier examination of some of the same material.
He stays with roughly the same demographic group - the young, the goofs and the randy - and the same time scheme, one long day. And he paints a world in which teenagers have no real concerns apart from hanging out, talking, scheming, fighting boredom and dealing with the demands of girlfriends. It's the kind of world where conversations stray from the subject: "I was going to propose to her." "Where?" "The Universal tour." "You're kidding! What part?" One of the charms of "Clerks" was that it captured the aimlessness and ennui of its world with deadpan humor. There wasn't a plot, just slowly developing themes, such as the return of old girlfriends and the problems of weird customers. We sensed that this was close to life (Smith, like Quentin Tarantino, once clerked in a video store), and it was funny the way the character seized on every small development as a break in the wall of inactivity.
Now comes "Mallrats," which is essentially the same world and the same characters, plus plot and more conventional relationships. It's as if Smith was advised to add more structure.