Chasing Amy: Criterion Collection
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted June 15, 2000
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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Graphical Version
The Movie:

"Chasing Amy" signaled a new Kevin Smith, or at least many thought so. Combining his skills for fart jokes and foul humor with a very well-written tale about relationships, the film still is my favorite of Smith's efforts. Coming after the raunchy, low-budget "Clerks" and the unfortunate failure of "Mallrats", "Amy" ended up being sort of the perfect combination of the two.

Ben Affleck and Jason Lee star as Banky and Holden, a couple of comic artists that draw "Bluntman and Chronic", a duo that, while they argue, get along enough to work together. Alyssa Jones(Joey Lauren Adams), a young comic artist, falls in love with Holden(Affleck). Soon, Holden discovers that Alyssa is a lesbian, and that Banky becomes angered with Holden's new relationship taking away from their work.

There are some wonderful moments in "Chasing Amy", both from the performances by Adams, Affleck and Jason Lee as well as the dialogue from Smith, which is both very funny and very honest. Of course, Smith and Jason Mewes pop up as Jay and Silent Bob - although Jay is still one of the funniest characters to hit the screen in quite a while, the fact that the two pop up towards the end instead of most of the movie seems appropriate here.

There are some minor little moments where "Amy" trips up, I think the majority of it is easily Smith's best work, with some great writing and acting.


VIDEO: This is a new anamorphic transfer of "Chasing Amy", and while it's pretty good, there are some little things that I've got to talk about. Sharpness is fair; mostly, the images are crisp and clean, although there are some sequences that seem a little bit on the soft side. Detail is ok as well, not terrible, but it could stand to be better. Colors are fine, no complaints. Colors are occasionally very nice, looking rich and clean, but never showing any signs of bleeding. Flesh tones are fine as well. I saw "Chasing Amy" when it was in theaters quite a few times; it was out when I was managing a theater and we'd all go watch "Amy" during the breaks(or when we were supposed to be working). It looks ever so slightly darker here than I remember seeing it when I saw it in the theater all those times, but oh well.

Problems are noticable; much of the movie looks grainy and the print occasionally shows some marks, but this transfer is generally pleasing. Other than the above mentioned problems, I didn't really notice any shimmering or pixelation. Not that great, but I think that "Chasing Amy" isn't going to look too much better than it looks here.

SOUND: Here's the other problem. "Chasing Amy" sounds fair here and there, but the majority of the movie sounds thin and edgy. I can't explain what happened or why, but although it's not unlistenable, it does get tiring to listen to. Surround use is slight, and unmemorable, but the movie itself is really simply dialogue driven anyways. Dialogue sounds a little harsh as well, and not terribly well-integrated.

MENUS:: Nicely animated main menus taking from pictures and film-themed images.


Commentary: What Kevin Smith film would be complete without a running commentary from members of the View Askew universe. This time, they include Smith himself; actor Ben Affleck(whose job it is in these commentaries seems to be to make fun of Smith's skills as a director); producer Scott Mosier; producer Robert Hawk; Miramax exec Jon Gordon; historian Vincent Pereira and last, but never least, Jason Mewes. Like every other commentary, it's a very relaxed and very hilarious commentary that both offers informative bits about the film's production and some enormously funny moments as the team goofs on the movie.

This is the original, infamous commentary that was recorded for the laserdisc in 1997; it still includes the comment by Smith in the opening of the movie against DVD(Smith was a very huge laserdisc collector and now a DVD fan, which I'll get to when I talk about the intro). Again, Affleck occasionally mentions some stories about working on the set or with the actors, but mainly he just goofs on the lack of Smith's camera skills.

There's also a lot of talk about editing, and mention of deleted scenes that are also available elsewhere on this DVD. It's definitely a funny, informative commentary although it could have used more drunken comments from Jason Mewes, who, you'll remember if you've seen the "Clerks" DVD, was completely wasted on that track.

New Introduction: This is a new, DVD-specific opening intro from Smith that talks about the film in general and also goes into addressing the "comment" about DVD that Smith made in the commentary track and DVD in general.

Deleted Scenes: 10 fairly lengthy deleted scenes (and some are quite good), are included with introductions from various members of the "Amy" crew such as Smith or Affleck.

Outtakes: About 4 minutes or so worth of outtakes, some of which are pretty hilarious.

Also: Trailer and a very funny introduction to the color bars by Jason Mewes and the crew.

Final Thoughts: The audio and video quality is slightly dissapointing but watchable, but still, "Chasing Amy" is a great film and the commentary is one of the best I've heard.

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