[thechat] Re: Desert Island Stuff

seb seb at members.evolt.org
Mon Oct 29 17:38:00 CST 2001

> > It's a Wonderful Life - Frank Capra (1946)
> > Chasing Amy - Kevin Smith (1997)
> > The Empire Strikes Back - George Lucas (1980)
> > Bladerunner - Ridley Scott (1982)
> > The Matrix - Andy and Larry Wachowski (1999)
> > Le Grand Bleu - Luc Besson (1988)
> Now, I am a huge Kevin Smith fan, but I thought Chasing Amy was one of the
> most horrible, spiteful films I have ever seen. Everyone is just so cruel
> everyone else, it's awful, and yet I know several people who really rate
> this film over Clerks or Dogma. Care to enlighten me as to why you think
> this film is superior?

One word: realism.

There's something about the dialogue, the motivation, and the history of the
characters that rings true. In most films, characters do what you expect
them to. There are few character-based twists in movies because you can't
have characters turn around half-way through a movie and do something that
doesn't fit within the bounds of a single-page definition of that character.
Hollywood doesn't like its audiences confused.

In chasing Amy, Smith lets his characters do just that. Witness Holden's
unexpected (and remarkably unorthodox) method to resolve the sexual tension
in the last third of the film.

There's no feeling of pretense in Chasing Amy. I guess I'm particularly
sensitive to actors and actresses performing roles for which they have no
real grounding in life. Even the best performances suffer from this. In
Chasing Amy, there's a whole lot of angst, guilt, and reproach. There's a
great deal of love, friendship, and redemption.

Holden's character is particularly multi-faceted. You start the film
identifying with him as the unrequited lover. You share his elation. Then
you realise that he's just as fucked up as everyone else as his relationship
with Alyssa progresses. In the end, he's the villain of the piece, yet you
still hold out for the final redemption that Smith only hints at.

The film is about Holden. Not about his relationships with the other two key
characters, though those are important. This is a film about personal
redemption, and Holden's redemption isn't in the eyes of others, it's in his
self-discovery. (Courtesy of Jay and Silent Bob, who provide him not only
with the impetus to resolve his inner turmoil, but with another comic book.
You learn that Holden has very few original ideas floating around in his

Anyway, that's why I like it.


More information about the thechat mailing list