Jersey Girl

Jersey Girl, The Critics Were Wrong.. Kevin Smith rocks…. And I should know I worked for him!

Stan Lee was there and his Spiderman series hits stores today, I shoulda got that autograph!

By: Andrew Olson

When Bennifer was the talk of the town and the break up was killing movies one great one was missed. Kevin Smith, director, writer, and genius behind movies like Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back released one hell of a movie last year. Today it is collecting dust on video store shelves in favor of other stinkers. Time to dust it off people!

Released on DVD last month to little fanfare was Jersey Girl; starring Ben Affleck, George Carlin, Liv Tyler, and unfortunately Jennifer Lopez (Although only for the first few minutes). Most critics panned the movie and it made the move to video while movies like 21 Grams were seen as Oscar caliber. How wrong... The suggestion from myself is that Jersey Girl is a \hilarious drama.. Although I may be partial as I acted in the movie Mallrats and met Kevin Smith so long ago.

OK, that was a shameless self promotion, but these guys have been dead on since the days when I was a wee extra. When I was 18 I was asked to be an extra in Mallrats, which had no title at the time and was being filmed in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.. circa 1995. Kevin Smith was an unknown and had Clerks becoming a black and white cult classic. We were forced to watch the movie a few hundred times in the casting room while waiting to go on the set. Eating lunch with Ben Affleck was no big deal, Shannon (90210, Charmed, you know) was the big actress. Jeremy London was coming off a successful run on Party Of Five. Jason Lee was an unknown skateboarder making the leap to the big screen and doing scenes over and over. Jay and Silent Bob were fun to talk to and completely unknown. But the best story is when I met this old guy who ended up being Stan Lee, the creator and fortune maker of Spiderman.

Mallrats was filmed late at night and on one such evening I was leaning over the railing watching a scene being filmed below. It had a large gentleman screaming at some small children about not being able to see a sailboat in and optical illusion picture. As I was watching an older gentleman came up next to me and began talking. We had the typical casual conversation about MN and fishing and soon I was wondering what this guy was doing on the set so late after the mall had closed. After talking for about a half hour a man came up and said, "Excuse me, Mr. Lee can I get an autograph"? I thought oh my God who was I talking to?

He obliged the request and the man left after receiving his autograph. I then had to ask, "Are you famous"? (OK, I was 18 and a senior in high school… not the best conversationalist) . Stan replied, "I suppose in some circles". I asked, "what do you do"? He responded that he was a writer and I asked if he had written the movie. Then another guy came up for an autograph and I noticed he was holding a Spiderman poster. Stan then informed me that he had created Spiderman, The Hulk, etc, etc… To which my jaw dropped and he picked it up. Today I kick myself for not getting an autograph, but I didn’t want to impose on someone who said I was his friend. He liked that about me and we talked longer until he was finally brought onto the set for his scene. In the movie Mallrats he deals with a young man a few years my senior about going through a break up. Much of the conversation was similar to when I was talking to him a few minutes before. It is our little secret.

After the movie was over I noticed I was trimmed down to a few scenes in the background but it was a great experience. I followed Kevin Smith’s career from then on and was excited when Chasing Amy was talked about as Oscar caliber.

Which brings us to Jersey Girl. The movie starts out with a group of 1st graders giving speeches to their class about their fathers. It is hilarious! The movie’s plot is that Ben is married to Jennifer and she dies in childbirth. Ben’s character is forced to take over the child raising duties with some help from his father George Carlin. Ben fights with his goals in life versus his new responsibility and plays a part that seems

very close to what he is really like. The movie is a drama, but what works better are the funny moments. Kevin Smith has come a long way and it is evident in the movie. Critics suck and are wrong many times, this is a big one! Go buy the movie and see for yourself! And help out my friend Stan and grab Spiderman 2 while your out…