Filmstyle ” Chasing Amy”- nineties revisited

Last Thursday night I  re-watched Kevin Smith’s Chasing Amy,  and as expected it moved me as if I was watching it for the first time around. Chasing Amy is listed as a romantic comedy but it fits a few more boxes than just that. It’s drama, it’s romantic,  and it’s seriously funny…

 

Smith knows that at some level there’s nothing funny about being in love: It’s a dead serious business, in which your entire being is at risk.” aka movie critic Robert Ebert.

Or also : “Love is the province of the brave.” aka rockband  TV on the radio.

The movie is abundant with sharp, ironic and sexual dialogue. Kevin Smiths dialogues are the best in the field as the main characters explore their feelings and point of view on topics such as romance,  sex and friendship.

Holden (Ben Affleck) and Banky (Jason Lee) are two comic book artists living in New Jersey who are signing their cult novel “Bluntman and Chonic” ( featuring the adventures of Smiths characters Jay and Silent Bob). There Holden meets Alyssa ( Joey Lauren Adams), also a writer, and is immediately smitten by her. She invites him to a party. By this Holden offcourse assumes that she has mutual feelings for him. When Alysa sings a song at the party in a rather erotic way and kisses the girl she was singing it to Holdens world is chattered. Nevertheless, he likes her so much that he decides to give the whole friendship thing a try.

As his feelings grow deeper for her he can’t keep quit any longer :

“Why are we stopping?
Because I can’t take this.
Can’t take what?
I love you.
You love me?
I love you. And not, not in a friendly way, although I think we’re great friends. And not in a misplaced affection, puppy-dog way, although I’m sure that’s what you’ll call it. I love you. Very, very simple, very truly. You are the epitome of everything I have ever looked for in another human being. And I know that you think of me as just a friend, and crossing that line is the furthest thing from an option you would ever consider. But I had to say it. I just, I can’t take this anymore. I can’t stand next to you without wanting to hold you. I can’t, I can’t look into your eyes without feeling that, that longing you only read about in trashy romance novels. I can’t talk to you without wanting to express my love for everything you are. And I know this will probably queer our friendship – no pun intended – but I had to say it, because I’ve never felt this way before, and I don’t care. I like who I am because of it. And if bringing this to light means we can’t hang out anymore, then that hurts me. But God, I just, I couldn’t allow another day to go by without just getting it out there, regardless of the outcome, which by the look on your face is to be the inevitable shoot-down. And, you know, I’ll accept that. But I know…I know that some part of you is hesitating for a moment, and if there is a moment of hesitation, then that means you feel something too. All I ask, please, is that you just, you just not dismiss that – and try to dwell in it for just ten seconds. Alyssa, there isn’t another soul on this fucking planet who has ever made me half the person I am when I’m with you, and I would risk this friendship for the chance to take it to the next plateau. Because it is there between you and me. You can’t deny that. Even if, you know, even if we never talk again after tonight, please know that I’m forever changed because of who you are and what you’ve meant to me, which – while I do appreciate it – I’d never need a painting of birds bought at a diner to remind me of.”

And, like it ought to be in EVERY ( ha ha)  romantic movie, she runs out of the car in the rain. He follows her. She decides that saying that he loves her is about the most selfish thing he did.
He walks up to the car, she runs after him and guess what-  they kiss in a very, may I even say, smokingly hot, way.
Alyssa explains how she felt when she made the decision to love people in a certain way, and the way she loves Holden…

Alyssa: You know, I didn’t just heed what I was taught, men and women should be together, it’s the natural way, that kind of thing. I’m not with you because of what family, society, life tried to instill in me from day one. The way the world is, how seldom it is that you meet that one person who just *gets* you – it’s so rare. My parents didn’t really have it. There were no examples set for me in the world of male-female relationships. And to cut oneself off from finding that person, to immediately halve your options by eliminating the possibility of finding that one person within your own gender, that just seemed stupid to me. So I didn’t. But then you came along. You, the one least likely. I mean, you were a guy.

Holden: Still am.

Alyssa: And while I was falling for you I put a ceiling on that, because you *were* a guy. Until I remembered why I opened the door to women in the first place: to not limit the likelihood of finding that one person who’d complement me so completely. So here we are. I was thorough when I looked for you. And I feel justified lying in your arms, ’cause I got here on my own terms, and I have no question there was some place I didn’t look. And for me that makes all the difference.

Holden: [pause] Well, can I at least tell people all you needed was some serious deep dicking?

 

So they are now a couple, but then Banky, Holden’s best friend and roommate, might be secretly in love with Holden ( still following?)  He tells Holden how they called Allysa “finger cuffs” in high school and how a friend of him told him she had sex with two guys at the same time. Holden, who until then believed he was the only guy she had sex with ( according to his definition of it) begins to doubt himself. He confronts Allysa and they break up.

Then Silent Bob breaks his silence in the diner:

Silent Bob: So there’s me and Amy, and we’re all inseparable, right? Just big time in love. And then four months down the road, the idiot gear kicks in, and I ask about the ex-boyfriend. Which, as we all know, is a really dumb move. But you know how it is: you don’t wanna know, but you just have to, right? Stupid guy bullshit. So, anyway, she starts telling me about him… how they fell in love, and how they went out for a couple of years, and how they lived together, her mother likes me better, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah… and I’m okay. But then she drops the bomb on me, and the bomb is this: it seems that a couple of times, while they were going out, he brought some people to bed with them. Ménage à trois, I believe it’s called. Now this just blows my mind, right? I mean, I am not used to this sort of thing. I mean, I was raised Catholic, for God’s sake.

Jay: Saint Shithead.

[Silent Bob elbows him; Jay motions as if to start a fight]

Silent Bob: Do something.

[to Holden]

Silent Bob: So I’m totally weirded out by this, right? And then I just start blasting her. Like… I don’t know how to deal with what I’m feeling, so I figure the best way is by calling her a slut, right? And tell her she was used. I’m… I’m out for blood. I really wanna hurt this girl. I’m like, “What the fuck is your problem?”, right? And she’s just all calmly trying to tell me, like, it was that time and it was that place and she doesn’t think she should apologize because she doesn’t feel that she’s done anything wrong. I’m like, “Oh, really?” That’s when I look her straight in the eye, I tell her it’s over. I walk.

Jay: Fuckin’ A!

Silent Bob: No, idiot. It was a mistake. I didn’t hate her. I wasn’t disgusted with her. I was afraid. At that moment, I felt small, like… like I’d lacked experience, like I’d never be on her level, like I’d never be enough for her or something like that, you know what I’m saying? But, what I did not get, she didn’t care. She wasn’t looking for that guy anymore. She was… she was looking for me, for the Bob. But, uh, by the time I figure this all out, it was too late, man. She moved on, and all I had to show for it was some foolish pride, which then gave way to regret. She was the girl, I know that now. But I pushed her away. So, I’ve spent every day since then chasing Amy… so to speak.

[after a long silent pause]

Jay: Oh, enough of this fuckin’ melodrama!

[to Holden]

Jay: My advice, forget her, dude. There’s one bitch in the world, one with many faces.

[to Silent Bob]

Jay: Get up tons of fun.

[back to Holden]

Jay: We gotta book. We’re catching a bus to Chi-town.

Holden realises he was wrong all along.  Will it be too late, or not?

 

And In the fashion department….Alyssa wears mostly see through tops, wide legged jeans, wide t-shirts with a print, big jeans jackets and flanel shirts. This style defined the nineties, it has made it’s comeback and is till relevant in 2018.

If you want to adapt Alyssa’s nineties style, I think it’s crucial to blend the key elements of that style with contemporary pieces. This style, my dear friends, can also to be found in the Netflix show LOVE, where the character Mickey blends nineties with ease. Or it could also just mean that you’ll have to re-watch Dawsons creek.

But first let me give you a quick reminder of what nineties fashion looks like:

  • Flared jeans
  • Chokers
  • Hoop earrings
  • Crop tops
  • Overalls
  • Scrunchies
  • 90-ties shoes like Birckenstocks and Doc-Martens
  • If you were in to hiphop, this was generally marked by oversized saggy trousers and sweaters, combined with lots of ‘ fake’ gold and Kangol hats. Oh and Timberlands.
  • If you were in to grunge, you generally wore cut of shorts with ripped black panties underneath a crop top and a flannel shirt. And doc Martens. Or you could go for the classic ripped jeans or the slip dress.

I bet you know what I mean. Because, if you are here, you are somewhat into fashion.

 

Some cool facts about Chasing Amy:

In Japan, the screenplay of Chasing Amy was adapted into a novel by Kenichi Eguchi and published by Aoyama Publishing. The unique concept of the book is that it is roughly half-novel, half-manga, with Moyoko Anno providing the art for the comic book pages.[25] In an episode of SModcast, Smith revealed that while he was thrilled to have a manga based on his film, he was shocked when he read the novelization, as the characters’ sexual histories, which are just mentioned in conversation in the film, are depicted in the novel’s manga illustrations as very sexually graphic flashbacks. (Source Wikipedia)
When Kevin Smith wrote the script he was dating Joey Lauren Adams and was inspired by her.

Chasing Amy is part of Kevins Askewniverse series. Each movie in this series crosses over with other films of the universe. Alyssa is name dropped in Smith’s Clerks and also appears in Mallrats. The key figures of this universe are the characters Jay and Silent Bob two drugdealers are extremely talented in not minding their own business.

Other funny quotes:

Holden: So, uh, what do you wanna do tonight?

Banky Edwards: I dunno. Get a pizza, watch “Degrassi Jr. High”.

Holden: You got a weird thing for Canadian melodrama.

Banky Edwards: I got a weird thing for girls who say, “Aboot.”

Banky Edwards: [to Alyssa] Since you like chicks, right, do you just look at yourself naked in the mirror all the time?

Jay: So why the long face, Horse? Banky on the rag?

Holden: I’m just, ahh, I’m just havin’ a little girl trouble.

Jay: Bitch pressin’ charges? I get that a lot.

 

 

Love, Maureen

 

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