Kevin Smith: “Mallrats 2” represents the rare 90’s movie reunion

The Paley Center for Media Los Angeles 2012 Benefit - Arrivals
As a pretty big fan of filmmaker Kevin Smith, I tend to be inclined to support whatever project he’s interested in making, be it a new movie, a new podcast, or anything in between. Even so, I was initially a bit confused as to why Smith was looking to follow up Clerks III (which I’m hugely looking forward to) and his next two Canadian set genre outings (this year’s Yoga Hosers and the still to be shot Moose Jaws) with a sequel to Mallards. Yes, it’s developed over the years from a box office disappointment to one of his most beloved titles, but was anyone yearning for Mallrats 2? Then, I listened to Smith explain why and now, not just am I on board, I think it has the potential to be the rare 90’s movie reunion that really works.

The reason that Smith decided to make Mallrats 2 was to honor his friend and Mallrats producer Jim Jacks, who passed away about a year ago. As a way of honoring Jacks, a man who had once upon a time championed a potential sequel, Smith recently decided to make it a reality. As much as this could be just another one of those interesting announcements that go nowhere, that hasn’t been the case. Over the past few weeks, Smith has been on social media slowly teasing all of the former cast members who are coming back to the mall, as it were. That’s pretty impressive, regardless of the cast. For those who don’t remember, Mallrats starred Jeremy London, Jason Lee, Shannen Doherty, Claire Forlani, Ethan Suplee, Michael Rooker, Renee Humphrey, Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Mewes, Ben Affleck, as well as Stan Lee in a cameo and of course Smith himself as Silent Bob. Right now, only Adams, Affleck, and Forlani have yet to sign on.

Sequels tend to be inherently unnecessary, but there’s something about this one that feels like it could be a ton of fun, especially when you consider what a lovely place this idea is coming from. Honoring a fallen colleague and pushing his own early whimsy is a winning formula in my book. Smith has already said that he’s got three more cast members to rope back in, so while that could mean Adams, Affleck, and Forlani are up next, there’s probably someone else who’s the final name, with Affleck just an added bonus if he has time for his old friend. Smith has said as much already.

The two things I really like about Mallrats 2 happening have to do with how it will influence future productions. One factor is that we rarely see 90’s reunions, and when we do, they don’t particularly light the world on fire. This announcement has been one of the more well received of Smith’s recent career, indicating that there’s a desire to see this group together again. The other thing is that it continues to show how reinvigorated Smith is as a filmmaker. It was only a few years ago that he was announcing how Red State was going to be his final film. Then, slowly, he opened things up to include his hockey miniseries Hit Somebody and the sequel Clerks III. Then, he came up with potentially the first film based on a podcast in Tusk, which in turn has led to the upcoming Yoga Hosers and Moose Jaws. This new stage in Smith’s career, which will continue on with Mallrats 2, is exciting and unique, bringing him back to his indie roots while also introducing him to a whole new generation of film fans. I for one am all for a director doing that. It’s just a bonus that it happens to be with Smith’s View Askewniverse.

Obviously, we have no idea how Mallrats 2 will turn out, but its unique standing as a sequel coming almost 20 years after the first one gives it a fresh feel, oddly enough. As Smith continues to announce returning cast members, he’ll eventually let us in on new cast members, so there’s plenty still to come in this regard. In the meantime, just look at this as an exciting sign that a singular filmmaker in the industry is up to something very interesting. I’m a huge fan of that, which is only boosted by my love of Smith’s work. I can’t wait…

Stay tuned for more on Smith as he comes up with new and crazier ideas!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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