Chasing Amy is a 1997 romantic comedy-drama written and directed by Kevin Smith about two comic book artists: Holden McNeil (Ben Affleck), a heterosexual male, and Alyssa Jones (Joey Lauren Adams), a lesbian-identified woman.
The movie contains frank sexual dialogue, and was originally inspired by a brief scene from an early movie by a friend of Kevin Smith, Guin Turner's Go Fish, wherein one of the lesbian characters imagines her friends passing judgment on her for "selling out" by sleeping with a man. Kevin Smith was dating Joey Lauren Adams while he wrote the script, which was also partly inspired by her.
The film won two awards at the 1998 Independent Spirit Awards (Best Screenplay for Smith and Best Supporting Actor for Jason Lee) and Joey Lauren Adams was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical.
Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum was the Musical Consultant/Producer on this film and wrote music for it.
Plot[edit | edit source]
Holden McNeil and Banky Edwards are comic book artists and lifelong friends. Everything is going well for them until they meet Alyssa Jones at a comic book convention in New York to promote their comic Bluntman and Chronic. Holden is attracted to Alyssa, but soon learns that she is a lesbian. The two begin hanging out, and a deep friendship develops. Banky, however, dislikes Alyssa and is bothered by her and Holden's relationship. Eventually, Holden is no longer able to contain his feelings, and confesses his love to Alyssa. She initially considers his confession unfair and inconsiderate since she is a lesbian, but that night the two begin a romantic relationship.
This new development deepens tension between Holden and Banky. Banky begins to dig up dirt on Alyssa's past, and reports to Holden that Alyssa participated in threesome in high school. Holden is deeply disturbed by this revelation, having believed that Alyssa had never been sexually involved with men. Holden angrily confronts Alyssa while attending a hockey game. During a tearful argument, she tells Holden about her "many" youthful sexual experimentations. Holden learns that she is not a lesbian in the strictest sense (lesbian-identified bisexual would better describe her sexual orientation). She apologizes for letting him believe that he was the only man she had been with; however, she refuses to apologize for her past, and Holden leaves feeling angry and confused.
Later, during a lunch with Jay and Silent Bob, Silent Bob reveals that he was once in a relationship similar to Holden's. Despite the fact that he was in love with his girlfriend, Amy, his insecurities about her adventurous sexual past caused him to sabotage the relationship and leave her. Angry at himself for letting her go, he's spent the rest of his life since then "chasing Amy." Inspired by Silent Bob's story, Holden devises a plan to fix both his relationship with Alyssa and his fractured friendship with Banky. He invites them both over, and claims that the three of them must have sex with each other. Though initially appalled, Banky agrees to participate, whereas Alyssa breaks up with him on the spot and leaves, stating that though she loves him, she will not be his whore. Relieved he will not have to get involved in a three-way, Banky also leaves.
One year later, both Banky and Alyssa are busy promoting their own respective comics at a comic book convention in New York. It is revealed that Holden has dissolved their partnership over Bluntman and Chronic, leaving the viewer with assumption that he sold the publishing and creative rights over to Banky (and this is corroborated in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back). He has a brief conversation with a tearful Alyssa, and gives her a copy of Chasing Amy, his new comic based on their relationship.
Cast[edit | edit source]
- Ben Affleck as Holden McNeil
- Jason Lee as Banky Edwards
- Casey Affleck as Little Kid
- Dwight Ewell as Hooper X
- Joey Lauren Adams as Alyssa Jones
- Brian O'Halloran as Jim Hicks
- Matt Damon as Shawn Oran
- Jason Mewes as Jason "Jay" Derris
- Kevin Smith as Robert "Silent Bob" Blutarsky
- Guinevere Turner as Singer
- Ethan Suplee as Fan
- Scott Mosier as Collector
DVD[edit | edit source]
A special edition DVD was released with 1.85:1 anamorphic Widescreen picture and Dolby 5.1 surround sound. It includes the following bonus features: Audio commentary from cast and crew; Introduction by Kevin Smith; deleted scenes; outtakes; and theatrical trailer.
Chasing Amy was originally released as a Criterion Collection Laserdisc. Smith raised eyebrows when he recorded the running commentary for the Laserdisc, as he started it by saying, "This is a laserdisc, and I'd like to take a moment to say fuck DVD." The running commentary was recorded when there was an animosity between Laserdisc and DVD enthusiasts, and Smith was a staunch Laserdisc supporter. When Criterion released the DVD - which re-uses the Laserdisc running commentary - Smith recorded a special introduction in which he apologized for the comment and jokingly attributed it to Jason Mewes.
It was rumored that 2007 would see the release of a Chasing Amy X DVD, in a similar vein as the Clerks X DVD and the Mallrats: 10th Anniversary DVDs. But at Comic-Con 2007, Smith confirmed that a special "supplementary" DVD will be released next year to go along with the Criterion Collection DVD released eariler that will just have more extras on it. 
Actors who appeared in other Smith Films[edit | edit source]
Smith cast actors and friends who have appeared in his other films. For example, Walt "the Fanboy" Grover (Walt Flanagan) and Steve-Dave (Bryan Johnson), who were introduced in Mallrats and went on to cameo in Dogma and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, appear in a deleted scene as proprietors of a comic store, the Collector who calls Banky a tracer is played by Scott Mosier (this film's producer and a friend of Smith), and the boy he dissuades asking Banky for an autograph is Casey Affleck, younger brother of the film's star Ben Affleck. Ethan Suplee, who played Willam Black in Mallrats, makes an appearance as a comic book fan at the start of the film, and reappears as the same fan in the convention scene at the end of the film. Matt Damon makes his first appearance in a Smith film as an MTV producer, and would later go on to star in Dogma and make a cameo in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back as himself. Clerks star Brian O'Halloran also makes an appearance as an MTV exec alongside Damon. Writer/director Guinevere Turner, a friend of Smith's, makes an appearance in the bar scene as the band member that introduces Alyssa. She would later appear as the bus station attendant in Dogma. Smith's producer Scott Mosier appears briefly in the film, making out with his girlfriend on the hood of a car outside a bar. Ernie O'Donnell, Smith's childhood friend, who played Rick Derris in Clerks, makes a brief cameo sitting next to Holden and Alyssa in the hockey game scene. Smith's cousin John Willyung plays the character Cohee Lundin. Willyung appears in the deleted alternate ending to Clerks as the man who shoots Dante, and later appears in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back in a brief role.
Linked to[edit | edit source]
References to other Askewniverse Films[edit | edit source]
- Alyssa (Adams) tells Holden (Affleck) outside the hockey rink that she has had sex with Gwen Turner and Shannon Hamilton, who were played by Joey Lauren Adams and Ben Affleck in Mallrats.
- At one point, Banky mentions having had sex with Brandi Svenning, adding that her father caught the him going down on her. Both Brandi and her father were characters in Mallrats, though neither Claire Forlani (Brandi) nor Michael Rooker (Mr. Svenning) reprised their roles for this movie.
- Alyssa Jones is the sister of Tricia Jones from Mallrats. In the Train Station scene when Holden calls Alyssa she says that her sister is at her parents, Holden asks if it's the one who wrote the book, and Alyssa replies yes. Alyssa's other sister is Heather Jones, who appeared with Rick Derris [see below] in Clerks, during the scene Paradigm
- "Dunn and Reddy Home Improvements" is listed as being on the 3rd floor of the building that "Bank Holdup Studios" is in. In Clerks, the roofer in the debate about independent contractors in the Death Star says his company is "Done and Ready Home Improvements."
- At one point, Holden mentions the Quick Stop and Alyssa adds that her best friend, Caitlin had sex with a dead guy there (a reference to Clerks.).
- Brian O'Halloran, who plays Dante Hicks in the Clerks movies, plays the movie executive, Jim Hicks, who offers the cartoon deal.
- Four characters from the film (Holden, Banky, Alyssa, and Hooper X), apart from the two title characters, reappear in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Additionally, Dave Pirner's opening theme music is reused in the film, Jay mentions Silent Bob's "stupid Amy story," and Alyssa quips that Chasing Amy, the comic book Holden worked on, would "never work as a movie."
- The scene with Cohee Lundin talking about the "Fingercuffs" Incident takes place in front of the Quick Stop, the location of the movie Clerks.
- During the hockey rink scene, which took place at the Ocean Ice Palace in Brick Township, New Jersey, when Holden is prying for more details about Alyssa's sexual encounter with the character Rick Derris, the man sitting next to them is Ernie O'Donnell, who played Rick Derris in Smith's earlier film Clerks.
- In the tenth anniversary Clerks DVD, Alyssa Jones appeared in what was called "The Lost Scene". This scene details the entire encounter at the wake Dante and Randal attended (since, in Chasing Amy, Alyssa mentions that she has not been back to the New Jersey suburbs since her friend's funeral). Animated in nature, Joey Lauren Adams provided the voice of Alyssa. When Randal spots Alyssa in the feature, he refers to her as "fingercuffs". She also reveals that Mallrats does in fact take place the day before Clerks.
- Jay and Silent Bob mention that they are going to Chicago on "business," referring to how in Dogma, they show up at the beginning of the film in suburban Illinois looking for the fictional town of "Shermer, Illinois" which in all of John Hughes' films have no drug dealers (which Jay says makes it a perfect place for two drug dealers like themselves). Smith is a huge fan of Hughes and in the credits of Mallrats, Smith thanks him for "giving me something to do on Friday nights during my youth."
Cultural references[edit | edit source]
- The part where the characters share their "sex scars" is inspired by a similar scene between Quint and Hooper in Steven Spielberg's Jaws (a scene originally written for Mallrats). Smith is a big fan of that film.
- In 2001 a film entitled Chasing Holden was released. The movie has no connection to Chasing Amy except for its parallel title (Holden being the name of the male lead in Chasing Amy), although some posters for the film resemble that of Chasing Amy.
Reception[edit | edit source]
The film is usually seen by critics as one of Kevin Smith's best films in his career, earning a 91% from reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes. Roger Ebert also gave the film "Two thumbs up" and thought it was a great improvement after seeing Mallrats. The film is also brought up as the film that helped launch the career of a young Ben Affleck, being one of his first star roles. Kevin Smith received an Independent Spirit Award for Best Original Screenplay, while Jason Lee received an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor.
With a budget of $250,000, the film grossed around $12,000,000 in theaters, and is seen as a financial success.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- The "titty cake" shown in the montage was a last-second addition to the film. Kevin Smith designed the face of the cake himself. Director of photography Dave Klein didn't have a good amount of time to light the scene and Ben Affleck, not slated to work that night, was slightly drunk when they shot the scene. .
- Originally, Jay and Silent Bob were not intended to appear in the film. Their images were to only be seen as Bluntman and Chronic. Instead, Silent Bob delivers his longest monologue in any of his movies about the titular Amy.
- The characters Holden and Banky Edwards refer to the names of Holden Caulfield and Ed Banky of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye.
- 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 Moyoco Anno providing the art for the comic book pages. (Source = Vizmedia.com)
- On the Criterion Collection DVD release, the disc reads "Copyright 1996 Too Askew Prod. Inc.". Although Kevin Smith's production company is actually called "View Askew," the company "Too Askew" was created for the sole purpose of producing the movie as a means of avoiding financial liability in the event that they would be sued.
- Banky refers to the Hartford Whalers as "a bunch of fuckin' faggots." Ironically, in the earlier Smith film Mallrats, Jason Lee's character Brodie Bruce is playing as the Whalers on the Sega Saturn NHL game when his girlfriend dumps him.
- In a deleted scene, Steve-Dave and Walt Grover the Fanboy (returning characters from Mallrats played by Bryan Johnson and Walt Flanagan) fervently criticize Bluntman and Chronic. Smith has said that the critiques were almost word for word copies of select critics' reviews of Mallrats.
- In an interview with Rolling Stone, Chris Rock stated that this was his favorite film. When Kevin Smith heard about this, he invited Rock to appear in his next film Dogma.
- The character La Fours from Smith's previous movie Mallrats can be seen as a drawing in the opening scene at the comic book convention.
- Marvel comics editor-in-chief Joe Quesada makes a small cameo in this film. He would later be the artist on Kevin Smith's run on Daredevil. Quesada also drew one of the comic book covers in the opening credits to Mallrats and makes a cameo in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.
- When Silent Bob starts his 'Chasing Amy' story, Jay asks why he has never heard of Amy before, since he and Bob are rarely separated. However, when they both leave the restaurant, Jay is heard to say "Why do you always have to tell that stupid story?", conversely implying that he knew who Amy was all along.