Friday, September 10, 2010

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back


Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
second seen @ AMC Loews 84th Street 6
9.15.01

I was on vacation on September 11. I hadn't left town yet. I was working in a video store at the time, and I had taken that week off in order to attend a comic book convention in Maryland. I was planning to leave on Friday and spend the weekend there. I was looking forward to the trip, as I have a lot of cartoonist friends and many of them would be at the show.

It had been almost a year since I had gotten my desktop computer and the Internet still felt new to me. There were lots of things I still hadn't fully acclimated myself with yet, but I felt I could learn as I go. That morning I was online, surfing or something, when I got an instant message from my friend Tim, telling me to turn on the TV, quick...

It didn't seem real to me. As I watched it unfold, it seemed like some bizarre Orson-Welles-War-of-the-Worlds-style hoax. As the reality of it slowly started sinking in, I still had trouble processing it, accepting it as something that will affect countless innocent lives. I had to shake off thoughts about whether my vacation would be ruined.

I talked to my parents. I talked to Vija, who lives in Manhattan and works in Midtown, so I was scared for her, but she was alright. A little later on, I went to a comics website that many of my friends frequented and checked in with them on the message board. I don't remember too much of the rest of the day other than laying in my bed at night playing my Tori Amos CDs over and over again.


The rest of that week was excruciating, as you might imagine. The convention was cancelled, as I suspected. Talking on the phone to my friends at work, I was told that business actually picked up tremendously that day. The store apparently was jam packed that evening with customers coming in non-stop to rent movies - anything to get their minds off what happened, I suppose. I couldn't help but feel lucky to be on vacation. I'm not sure how I would've been able to handle working that day - and as a manager, I really would've needed to stay focused.

The customers may have had the right idea, though. The television, the papers, the 'Net, everyone everywhere was talking about the attacks and after awhile one needed some relief, some way to escape it all, even temporarily. My buddy John agreed, which is why we and a bunch of other friends went to see Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back that Saturday.

I had already seen it when it first came out weeks ago, me being a big Kevin Smith fan, but I had no problem with seeing it again. As I recall, the theater wasn't that packed, since the movie wasn't new anymore. We took up half a row near the front, bought our popcorn, and proceeded to laugh our asses off for the next 90 minutes or so... and it felt so good.


I was already predisposed to like this movie, having already seen the other "View Askewniverse" films - Clerks, Mallrats and Chasing Amy - and this was kind of a reunion for all the familiar characters in those films. I already loved it - but seeing it four days after one of the worst days in modern history, when everyone was still struggling to bear the weight of this unimaginable tragedy... that made it special, at least for me. It made bearing that weight a little easier, if only for a little while. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back may not rank among the greatest movies ever made, but I'll always be grateful to Kevin Smith for it, because it was exactly what I needed at a time when I needed to laugh again.

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