Clerks 3 is a Fight Club Re-Make
Updated: 6 days ago
*WARNING - MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD*
3 days ago, I watched the third act of the Clerks Trilogy and was left unimpressed. Clerks was the greatest movie ever made, Clerks 2 and 3 were the equivalent of the Matrix sequels in comparison to the original, but days later, I still couldn't shake off the syrupy thud of Clerks 3.
As Kevin Smith took us back to Meta-Meta Land, I thought back to other reboots and sequels and came up with an interesting angle. What if Kevin Smith did Clerks 3 from this perspective: Dante really did die at the end of Clerks, like in the deleted original scene where he is shot by a robber.
If you return to the Alternate Ending (below), you'll notice Randall doesn't lock the door when he leaves the Quick Stop. In that case, a murdered Dante could have forced Randall into a psychotic break, feeling responsible for his friend's death. Furthermore, Clerks 2 would only be partial canon and Clerks the Animated Series would have been nothing but a fever dream that Randall had for the Inconvenience Movie premise.
Clerks Alternate Ending
At first I figured that I had fallen too far into the Clerks rabbit hole, but then I thought:
Tyler only disappeared when the Narrator shot himself in the head in Fight Club. What if Dante died at the end of Clerks, but the trauma caused Randall to develop a schizophrenic projection in the form of his departed friend Dante? For years and years Dante didn't leave Randall until he had that heart attack. What Randall's heart attack did was force him to make the Inconvenience Movie to exorcise Dante. When the movie was complete, Dante didn't die, he was already long since dead, the schizophrenic part of Randall died in Clerks 3.
One of my criticisms of Clerks 3 was "what are the chances of Dante and Randall having heart attacks a month or two apart, they work out on the roof every week?" My wife said people have heart attacks close together all the time. No, her aunt and cousin had heart attacks a few weeks apart because they made poor lifestyle decisions in regards to 'pharmaceuticals'....
But I digress.
So the story of Clerks 3 was the tale of Randall and Elias making a film about Randall's old friend Dante. That's why all the clever references were back to the original Clerks. One fan called Clerks 3 a love letter to Clerks, I don't think so. I think it was more the case of Kevin Smith fulfilling his original intent to kill off Dante without his happy ending.
You think that's my only comparison? Hear me out. Brass tacks, Fight Club was about mental illness and resetting capitalist monetary systems. You remember all the financial towers exploding to take everyone back to zero?
Dante asking Emma for a loan to make Inconvenience was a major plot reach, but think of Randall as the one asking Emma for the loan. If Dante is dead, that means it was schizophrenic Randall having sex with Emma. Her motive would be, if the movie failed, that she would own the Quick Stop outright and could kick Randall out into the street. She would have assumed he would fail, because he's Randall. That makes more sense in a revenge scenario. The great reset in Clerks 3? Randall was screwed by the loan, but new monetary systems in the form of cryptocurrency saved the day.
Other pieces of evidence:
Dante - Lots of sex with damaged women. Randall - No sex.
Tyler - Lots of sex with damaged women. The Narrator - No sex.
Dante and Randall - Had working class, unthinking followers.
Tyler and the Narrator - Had working class, unthinking followers.
Dante and Randall - More or less lived in an abandoned convenience store in New Jersey.
Tyler and the Narrator - Lived in an abandoned house in a post-industrial American wasteland.
Listen, what do you want from me? I'm trying to figure out why Clerks 3 was so bad. If it had a Palahniuk-esque theme, at least the bleakness could be explained.
Your argument is that the problem isn't Kevin Smith, but Fred Hunt? Oh, that's probably most certainly the case, 95% of the audience liked the film. I'm basically 1 in 20.
But Dante summed up the trilogy in the original: "That's what life is, a series of down endings."