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At The Movies: I assure you, ‘Clerks III’ is open

“Clerks” has legendary film status.

The 1994 film was written and directed by Kevin Smith in 16mm black and white celluloid on a budget of $27,675.

“Clerks” profiled a group of Generation X buddies who worked in a convenience store and a video store.

The film was chosen in 2019 for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”

A sequel, Clerks II,” was released in 2006.

There have been spin-offs: “Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back” (2001) and “Jay And Silent Bob Reboot” (2019).

And now: “Clerks III.”

This time, it was filmed in color. The original crew, Dante, Randal, Jay and Silent Bob, is back.

They were twentysomethings in the original “Clerks.” They are fifttysomethings in “Clerks III.” Older and not much wiser.

There’s Dante Hicks (Brian O’Halloran), Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson) and Elias Grover (Trevor Fehrman), who has a sidekick, Blockchain (Austin Zajur).

And, of course, there’s Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith).

Kevin Smith based “Clerks” on his experiences working in a convenience store and video store in New Jersey.

RST Video went the way of Blockbuster.

Kevin Smith and his crew went back to the actual Quick Stop Groceries, Leonardo, Middletown Township, Monmouth County, N.J., where they filmed for two weeks for “Clerks III.”

The hockey game on the roof of the store is in full swing.

The “Clerks III” plot revolves around Randal, who has had a heart attack. When he recovers, he decides to make a movie about, what else, the Quick Stop, which he and Dante now own. Jay and Silent Bob have turned the shuttered RST Video into a legal marijuana dispensary.

“Clerks III” brings back Kevin Smith’s troupe of actors from previous “Clerks” films, including Marilyn Ghigliotti (Veronica Loughran), Rosario Dawson (Becky Scott) and Ben Affleck (Boston John).

There are cameos by Amy Sedaris, Fred Armisen, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Justin Long and Danny Trejo.

Look for cameos by Jennifer Schwalbach Smith (Emma Bunting), Kevin Smith’s wife, and Harley Quinn Smith (Milly), their daughter.

“Clerks III” is most interesting in the context of the zany world of Kevin Smith (“Jersey Girl,” 2004; “Dogma,” 1999; “Chasing Amy,” 1997; “Mallrats,” 1995).

The “Clerks III” screenplay is rife with the usual wince-inducing Kevin Smith raunchy humor. Dante, Randal, Jay and Silent Bob are their usual foul-mouthed but somehow lovable selves.

Kevin Smith, born Aug. 2, 1970, in Red Bank, N.J., grew up in Highlands, Monmouth County, N.J, He has made quite a name for himself in popular culture.

Welcome to the “View Askewniverse,” named for Kevin Smith’s production company, View Askew Productions.

It might not be the MCU, as in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or the DC Extended Universe, but between Kevin Smith’s published comic books; his store, Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash comic book store; TV shows, podcasts, webcasts, websites, web series,YouTube broadcasts and films, the “View Askewniverse” is formdable.

For Kevin Smith, “Clerks III” is a film of, ahem, convenience. If you’re a fan of Kevin Smith, juvenile humor and independent cinema, check out “Clerks III.”

“Clerks III,”

MPAA rated R (Restricted Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. Contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their young children with them.) for pervasive language, crude sexual material and drug content; Genre: Comedy; Run time: 1 hour, 55 minutes. Distributed by Lionsgate.

Credit Readers Anonymous:

“Clerks III” concludes with Moravian University graduate, Godfrey Daniels’ favorite and New Jersey native John Gorka singing his song, “I’m From New Jersey.”

The film is preceded by an introduction by Kevin Smith, who says, “You guys came out to see one of the cheapest movies in the theaters now.”

At The Movies:

“Clerks III” was seen at the Movie Tavern Trexlertown Cinema in a Fathom Events screening that included a post-film behind-the-scenes documentary of interviews with Kevin Smith and the cast.

In 1994, Easton-based film director Vincent Mondillo and I drove to New York City for a screening of “Clerks,” after which Kevin Smith spoke. “If I can make a film like this, you guys can, too,” said Smith.

For “Clerks III,” Smith appears at select screenings in September, October and November. Information: https://clerks3.movie/roadshow

Theatrical Movie Domestic Box Office,

Sept. 16 - 18: “The Woman King,” starring Viola Davis, opened at No. 1 with $19 million in 3,765 theaters, dropping “Barbarian” from its one-week No. 1 run to No. 2 with $6.3 million, in 2,340 theaters, $20.9 million, two weeks, as ”Pearl” opened at No. 3 with $3.1 million, in 2,935 theaters, and “See How They Run” opened at No. 4 with $3.1 million, in 2,404 theaters.

5. “Bullet Train” dropped two places, $2.5 million, in 2,602 theaters, $96.3 million, seven weeks. 6. “Top Gun: Maverick” dropped two places, $2.1 million, in 2,604 theaters, $709 million, 17 weeks. 7. “DC League of Super-Pets” dropped one place, $2.1 million, in 2,756 theaters, $87.8 million, eight weeks. 8. “The Invitation” dropped three places, $1.7 million, in 2,425 theaters, $21.4 million, four weeks. 9. “Minions: The Rise of Gru” stayed in place, $1.3 million, 1,970 theaters, $364 million, 12 weeks. 10. “Moonage Daydream,” $1.2 million in 170 theaters. “Clerks III,” $1.5 million, in 700 theaters.

Movie box office information from Box Office Mojo as of Sept. 18 is subject to change.


Sept. 23:

“Don’t Worry Darling,”

R: Olivia Wilde directs Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Gemma Chan and herself in the Mystery Thriller. A 1950s housewife living with her husband in an experimental community has her doubts.

“The Railway Children Return,”

PG: Morgan Matthews directs Daniel Brocklehurst, Jemma Rodger and Tom Courtenay in the Family Adventure Drama. Children are evacuated to a Yorkshire village during World War II.

“On The Come Up,”

PG-13: Sanaa Lathan directs Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Method Man and Mike Epps in the Comedy Music Drama. A 16-year-old wants to become a rapper.

Three Popcorn Boxes out of Five Popcorn Boxes

CONTRIBUTED IMAGE: LIONSGATE From left, front: Jeff Anderson (Randal), Brian O'Halloran (Dante); back: Kevin Smith (Silent Bob), Jason Mewes (Jay), “Clerks III.”