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Dial a Clerks.

9.9.2006

A few weeks ago, the husband and I watched Clerks II in the theater, and Dial M for Murder on DVD later in the weekend. Both movies had some curious similarities, but Clerks didn't quite deliver on the same level as Dial M for Murder.

Dial M was originally a stage play, and then Alfred Hitchcock put his spin on the film version. As a play, virtually every scene takes place inside the apartment. But as a viewer, you never feel trapped in the apartment, because so much excitement happens right inside the apartment. The movie is also filled largely with talking heads - a super dialog-o-rama. And, as usual, the cinematography was quite fine, every shot of added to the visual and emotional telling of the story.

Clerks II is the sequel to the popular profanity and vulgarity filled indie film Clerks. Clerks II really was much of the same, but entertaining nonetheless. It was, of course, filled with Kevin Smith's prototypical heady dialouge. It seemed that Clerks II the movie was a vehilce to present the dialog, as opposed to being a primary driver of exposition or plot. Also, Smith (or his cinematographer) strained to make the many talking head shots visually interesting, and the change from the major location was pretty forced.

I think that Clerks II might be the right story, but in the wrong venue. With that much dialogue, it really should have been a play. This has happened to other artists in the past. Neal Stephenson was originally writing Snow Crash as a graphic novel, but discovered it had just too many works, and had to be a novel. When Mel Brooks first wrote the script for The Producers, it was a play. He was informed that it had too many locations, and that what he acutally had on his hands was a movie.

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