In 10 Words or Less
The road continues on to the Emerald Isle
Loves: Many of Kevin Smith's movies, comedy podcasts
Likes: Kevin Smith, Jay Mewes, Jay & Silent Bob Get Old
Dislikes: Repetitive stories
Hates: The effects of drugs
The Story So Far...
Kevin Smith's popular podcasting network features several shows hosted by the talkative filmmaker, but few of them are focused less on him than Jay & Silent Bob Get Old, a weekly series created mainly as a way to keep his wayward pal Jason Mewes from falling off the wagon after years of drug abuse. Telling stories and adding up the days sober, Mewes and his hetero lifemate take their show on the road frequently, including a short European tour, the first part of which was shown on the August 2012 DVD release Jay & Silent Bob Get Old: Tea Bagging in the UK. DVDTalk has a review available here.
While covering the New York ComicCon a few years ago, I had the option to stay late one night and attend a live recording of one of Kevin Smith's podcasts or make my way back to the Long Island Railroad and the long commute home. I chose to get a jump on the train ride home, and when I heard about the fisco that was Smith's appearance (including a very late start that was apparently out of his control) I was certainly happy about the choice I made. That feeling was only compounded when I eventually listened to the podcast, as I didn't feel like I missed anything all that important by not being in the audience when it was recorded. However,people keep buying tickets, both here and abroad, as was the case on his five-show 2012 tour in Europe, which has been captured on two DVD sets. This one focuses on the tour's stop in Dublin.
The first show (episode #70 of the podcast) dives right into the local scene, as Smith and his pal Jason Mewes talk about legendarily endowed Irish actor Liam Neeson, the Irish holiday of Pancake Day and the Catholic observance of Lent. As usual though, it's not long before the topic of sex is broached, as Mewes discusses how to have sex in a Mini-Cooper, but that soon segues into the real story here, which is Mewes' teeth. A lack of oral hygiene resulted in a great deal of surgery, which is a problem for someone with a history of narcotics abuse, a topic near and dear to the series' heart. Before wrapping things up, they guys give the Irish a chance to try their raunchy pantomime game, "Let Us F***k."
The second show in Dublin (episode 71) returns to the same Ireland-friendly areas, talking about Ash Wednesday, altar boys and priests, while also talking about a popular mascot who shares a similarity with Smith, but instead of focusing on Mewes' misadventures, this time their pal Malcolm gets the spotlight, as Mewes tells tales of Malcolm's efforts to babysit the recovering addict. There are some very funny stories shared here, including an awkward encounter with some hookers and a nightclub fight with some celebrities (enhanced by a small bit of animation by Smith's reisdent cartoonist Steve Stark.) Mewes is very physical in telling his stories, which is amusing to watch, but it's really the rhythm between the two long-time pals that creates the laughs. This episode ends with a brief Q&A withe the audience, and the questions are some of the more thoughtful heard from a Smith audience.
That was all the Irish SmodCo had to offer, but they apparently still wanted to make it a two-disc set, so they threw in an old episode recorded on the road at the Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas in 2011 (episode 56.) It's not a bad episode, focusing on aging (in terms of Mewes' weight and Smith's hair, as well as bathroom issues for each man and Mewes' life-threatening attempts to score dope late at night. While it has a definite highlight in a story about Malcolm and a special red-velvet cake, the fact that it has nothing to do with the tour theme and doesn't offer anything that would make it video-worthy outside of a cameo by former porn stars Katie Morgan and Cassie during an episode-ending "Let Us Act."
The three shows arrive on two DVDs, packed in a clear single-width, dual-hubbed keepcase. The discs feature anamorphic widescreen menus with options to play the shows and check out the extras. There are no audio options and no subtitles, but closed captioning is included.
Considering the Ireland shows are from the same tour as the British ones, shot by the same team, it's no surprise the quality is consistent between the releases, so once again, the anamorphic widescreen transfers are good at best, looking a touch soft, and missing out in terms of fine detail. Colors are appropriate (even on the harsh orange of Smith's hockey jersey) and black levels are fine, though their pale faces tend to be a washed out. However, the Las Vegas episode is a slightly different, and unfortunately less successful story, looking even softer, while some of the angles are shaky and smudgy. On the plus side, none of the episodes have any real issues with compression artifacts.
Like last time, the audio is presented with Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks that are solid but simple and free of concerns, allowing you to hear the pair's voices clearly and the Irish crowds as well. However, like with the video, the Las Vegas show is a step down, as you can barely hear the audience, which goes nicely with barely seeing them.
The only extra is 10:23 of "Let Us F**k" action from the second show. There are some weird, rather lame performances, and much of the audience participation gets cut, but it's most memorable for a bouncy (in all senses of the word) Merida-from-Brave stand-in who gets to sit-in for the entire game and a drunken lout who hammers Mewes into the stage.
The Bottom Line
With less animation than last time and an unrelated (and disappointingly captured) bonus episode thrown in to pad out the set, the return on investment here is less than with the previous set. The visual element just doesn't add a lot to these episodes (the audio of which, as of this writing, is available for free online), the quality is just OK and there's not much in terms of extra content. Like the previous release, this is one for hardcore fans, though it's definitely worth checking out if you haven't heard the podcasts.