Chasing Amy Reviews
As funny as it honest it will be next to impossible for Smith to outdo himself after Chasing Amy but lets hope he finds a way.
In "Chasing Amy," we're introduced to twenty-somethings Holden (Ben Affleck) and Banky (Jason Lee), best friends who have achieved quasi-fame through an artistic partnership that has resulted in comic book series "Bluntman and Chronic." Roommates who watch each other's backs with the dedication of lovers, Banky grows concerned when dream girl Alyssa Jones (Joey Lauren Adams) appears out of nowhere, ready to steal Holden's heart. A fellow graphic artist, she drinks like one of the boys and has the wit to keep up in any feigned repartee; blond and baby-voiced, it doesn't take long for her to become an object of affection, viewers as smitten with her as Holden is.
Unbeknownst to him, though, Alyssa is a lesbian who doesn't plan on playing for the other team any time soon. The shock of this revelation sends a jolt down the spine of the impressionable Holden, but that doesn't stop him from making the mistake of falling in love with her - he's in for a world of hurt. And yet passion, it seems, is not something that can be instantaneously halted.
"Chasing Amy" surprises in that it does eventually depict a romantic relationship between Holden and Alyssa, but it goes further in the way that it explores the problems that arise because of it; Alyssa is ostracized by her circle of friends, Banky becomes a torrent of eccentric fury, and Holden grows infatuated with Alyssa's past, which might not be as female oriented as he might have earlier thought. The film is an entertaining exploration of modern romance, funny in its schoolboy sex talk one minute and oddly prudent the next. Like anything Altman or Tarantino, it is the kind of movie that finds most of its appeal through its dialogue, which Smith, fortunately, writes with such humorous insight that realism, for once, feels better, warmer, than a trading of Sorkinish zingers.
Smith's young cast has a lot to do with "Chasing Amy's" breezy amiability, too - Affleck, goateed and as piercing as he is delicate, is a male lead of rare emotion; Lee, abrasive and caring, is efficiently angsty, and Dwight Ewell, as Holden and Banky's gay friend who hides his sexuality by acting as a Black Power stereotype in public, provides the film with some of its most hearty laughs. Jason Mewes and Smith show up for a scene as indie favorites Jay and Silent Bob to explain the meaning of the movie's title. But "Chasing Amy" revolves around Adams like an artist obsesses over their muse, in love with the way she looks and talks and thinks and acts. We're as mad about her as Holden is.
Smith has a way with words and a way with selling a modern love story: "Chasing Amy" is one of the best romantic comedies of the 1990s. Just don't expect to find any mainstream mawkishness in its two-hours of verismo.
Holden (Ben Affleck), his life-long buddy and comic book partner Banky (Jason Lee) and his new lesbian girlfriend and fellow artist Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams) until love strikes and the real plot of the movie hits when in reality we are all Chasing Amy in our own lives. The original dentally inferior and pre-surgically transformed Ben Affleck acts in the vision of his true born self and Joey Lauren Adams puts on s bubbly character performance of life beyond the comic relief of the comic book world.
It's certainly his most direct work, that is. Smith's work lacks style and that's sort of the point. Life lacks style a lot of times, and that's what his movies are: reflections of life. In this type of situation the average man wouldn't know how to react, and being someone who's had trouble with a girlfriend's past before, this movie is spot-on.
The script has a naturalism and ease to it that some of his other work hasn't had. "Clerks" was made to relate to average guys that love to talk about sex and Star Wars. I'm not that guy. "Mallrats" was made for guys like Kevin and his buddies who love to hang out at the mall all the time. That ain't me either. "Chasing Amy" doesn't really have a distinct audience that it gravitates towards. It has universal themes, and either you get it or you don't. I know plenty of people who hate Kevin's movies, and I know plenty of people who love them to death. Neither one is wrong per say, because all film is subjective, but this is one that can't be argued as unrelatable.
Kevin Smith is a talented wordsmith (no pun intended) with a pension for honesty. He never barries the lead, and I respect that even if I don't always agree with him. This is a stellar film and a strong dose of honesty.
Chasing Amy is probably the best of Kevin Smith's films and is the one movie from Smith that is more than a comedy. Not much more, but it is more. Chasing Amy explores different subjects like homophobia, lesbian sex, and love, while not diverging from Smith's usual over the top, raunchy dialogue.
Holden and Banky are doing well with their comic book, Bluntman and Chronic. They meet Alyssa while at a convention and Holden takes a liking to her right away. Upon second meeting, Holden finds that Alyssa is a lesbian. When their casual association leads to a growing friendship; Holden finds that he has fallen in love with her. This creates tension between Holden and Banky, but the real tension is between Holden and Holden. Can he accept what Alyssa is or was? Can Alyssa really love him?
Chasing Amy is a hilarious, at times touching, and overall fun movie from start to finish. This is by far my favorite movie from Kevin Smith and is beloved by all of his fans for good reason. He combines so many of his subjects, sex, comics, social roles and over the top explicit dialogue to create a truly great story and movie.
The movie runs through the gamut of emotions when one finds out that a new girlfriend (boyfriend) straight-up tells a lie about her (his) sexual history. And, the emotional pain and anger when one finds out through a friend's inquiry that that history including experiences (as in more than once) with multiple partners at the same time. It's the lying that cost Alyssa the only man she loved even though her history is almost 10 years old. She tells Holden that he is the only man she ever had sex with, having him believe that he "saved her" from being a lesbian since high school. Banky finds out through a mutual friend that Alyssa's nickname in high school was "finger cuffs" and has possession of the yearbook for proof.
Holden loses the love of his life because he cannot accept Alyssa's grandiose, experimental sexual experiences. He feels too small and insecure. (Of course, if he were the instigator of same, his opinions would be quite different!) In spite of the sane advice from two people, Holden acts out in anger and proposes to Alyssa that she has sex with him and Banky. He tried to even the score only to have it back fire. His skull (ego) is so thick that he is totally blind to the fact that Alyssa's past is her past, and is not something in her current range of preferences. Before leaving Holden's apartment, she slaps his face and tells him "I'm not your whore!" Not an unusual reaction, but surely one that made reconciliation more difficult. The end of the movie does not ensure reconciliation on any grounds.
Banky and Holden are no longer buddies. Banky produces the final edition of their comic and sells it at a show a year later. That seems like a huge loss for the team to break up over a girl. Holden overreacted when he told Banky in front of Alyssa that Banky had homosexual feelings toward him. It did not occur to Holden that platonic love is possible.
Oh boy, what a mess in the love-romance department! There were casualties in this movie, for sure!
It's nice to have a movie that deals with difficult life issues in the realms of sex, sexuality, relationships, friendship, love, etc. It lends some objectivity to this type of human conflict. It may or may not help answer questions such as: How and when does one reveal such a history? Is it necessary to reveal anything that is about 10 years old, and is truly only historical? Nevertheless, it's a great mix of comedy and tragedy that's entertaining, without any explicit sex scenes or nudity.