|Directed by||Kevin Smith|
|Produced by||Scott Mosier, |
Kevin Smith (uncredited)
|Written by||Kevin Smith|
Joey Lauren Adams,
|Music by||David Pirner|
|Distributed by||Miramax Films|
|Release date||April 4, 1997|
|Running time||111 min.|
Chasing Amy is a 1997 romantic comedy about two comic book artists: Holden McNeil (Ben Affleck), a heterosexual male, and Alyssa Jones (Joey Lauren Adams), a lesbian-identified bisexual woman. Written and directed by Kevin Smith, it chronicles how they fall in love and the difficulties they face. One of their main obstacles is that Holden's best friend and partner in comics, Banky Edwards, played by Jason Lee, disapproves of the relationship because he is both slightly homophobic and jealous of Alyssa's role in Holden's life.
The movie contains frank sexual dialogue, and was originally inspired by a brief scene from an early movie by a friend of Smith's, Guinevere 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.
The movie begins with lifelong friends, Holden McNeil and Banky Edwards, attending a comic book convention in New York City to promote their comic Bluntman and Chronic. While there, they meet fellow comic book artist, Alyssa Jones. Holden and Alyssa hit it off, and Holden is convinced that she likes him, and desires a romantic relationship. Accordingly, when Alyssa invites him to a club, he happily accepts. Banky, against Holden's wishes, also goes. Once there, however, Holden is shocked to discover that Alyssa is actually a lesbian, although at this point Banky and Alyssa's relationship improves. Dejected, Holden abruptly leaves.
The next day, Alyssa shows up at Holden's office, seeking friendship. The two begin hanging out, and a deep friendship develops. Banky, however, dislikes Alyssa and is bothered by her and Holden's relationship. This conflict comes to a head when Banky questions Holden as to why he would continue seeing Alyssa when he knows that he has no chance of ever sleeping with her. Holden angrily responds that he sees her because he is in love with her.
Eventually Holden is no longer able to contain his romantic leanings, and confesses his love to Alyssa. She initially considers his confession unfair and inconsiderate since she is a lesbian. But after angrily walking away, she realizes that she loves him too. She says that the reason she became lesbian in the first place was so that she wouldn't leave anyone out of her search for true love, so it would be silly to leave him out now. The two begin a romantic relationship.
This new development creates tension between Holden and Banky. In an attempt to sabotage his and Alyssa's relationship, Banky begins to dig up dirt on her past. During the investigation, he discovers that Alyssa had previously engaged in a threesome with two men, and promptly tells Holden. Though Holden is angered at Banky's lack of respect towards him and Alyssa, he is deeply disturbed by this revelation, previously believing that Alyssa had never been sexually involved with men. Not knowing what to do, he consults his and Alyssa's mutual friend, Hooper X (Dwight Ewell), for his input. Hooper suggests that, if it bothers him, he should talk to Alyssa about her past. Hooper also speculates that Banky may harbor repressed romantic feelings for Holden.
Dwelling on Hooper's advice, Holden angrily confronts Alyssa about her past 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 – and that she has had relationships with men in the past. 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.
Later, during a meeting with Jay and Silent Bob, Holden tells them about his relationship with Alyssa, and his inability to deal with her past. Silent Bob reveals that he was once in a relationship remarkably similar to Holden's. Some years ago, Silent Bob dated a girl named Amy, who just like Alyssa, had an adventurous sexual past. Despite the fact that he was in love with her, he ended the relationship upon discovering that she had previously participated in a threesome. He later came to realize that he wasn't angry at her, on the contrary, he felt insecure in the face of her past experiences. He realized too late that Amy didn't care, and loved him for who he was. 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 dumps him on the spot, stating that though she loves him, she will not be his whore.
One year later, both Banky and Alyssa are busy promoting their own respective comics at a comic book convention in New York. Holden and Banky's comic Bluntman and Chronic is no more. Holden arrives and has a brief conversation with Alyssa, and gives her a copy of Chasing Amy, his new comic based on their failed relationship.
- Ben Affleck as Holden McNeil
- Jason Lee as Banky Edwards
- Joey Lauren Adams as Alyssa Jones
- Dwight Ewell as Hooper X
- Jason Mewes as Jay
- Kevin Smith as Silent Bob
- Brian O'Halloran as Jim Hicks, Executive #1
- Matt Damon as Shawn Oran, Executive #2
- Rebecca Waxman as Dalia
- Paris Petrick as Tory
- Carmen Llywelyn as Kim
- Scott Mosier as Collector
- Ethan Suplee as Fan
A special edition DVD was released with 1.85:1 anamorphic Widescreen picture & dolby 5.1 surround sound. It included the following bonus features:
- Audio commentary from cast and crew
- Introduction by Kevin Smith
- Deleted scenes
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's also rumored that 2007 will see the release of a Chasing Amy X DVD, in a similar vein as the Clerks X DVD and the Mallrats: 10th Anniversary DVDs.
Actors who appeared in other Smith Films
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, a friend of Kevin Smith's and the film's producer, and the boy he dissuades asking Banky for an autograph is Casey Affleck, younger brother of the film's star Ben Affleck.
References to other Askewniverse Films
- 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 two in the act. 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.
- "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 make it as a movie."
- The scene with Cohee London 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 thanks him for "giving me something to do on Friday nights during my youth."
- The film's title is mentioned in a line of the song "Love Cliché" by the Montreal group Bran Van 3000, used to refer to a character who is in love with a girl who reveals herself as bisexual.
- The film shares its title with an Allister song.
- In the MMORPG World of Warcraft there is a quest entitled "Chasing A-Me 01". A-Me is a robotic gorilla, a reference to Congo.
- In the MMORPG Guild Wars there is a quest named "Chasing Zenmai".
- In the release of season 3 of The West Wing on DVD, the third chapter of episode H. Con-172 is titled Chasing Amy.
- The part where the characters share their "sex scars" is inspired by a similar scene between Quint and Hooper in Steven Spielberg's Jaws. 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.
- The L Word has several scenes which appear to be lifted from Chasing Amy during Season Two. In the episode Labyrinth, Mark, Jenny and Shane debate over whether it is possible for two girls to have sex with each other without strap-ons. Banky and Alyssa have a similar discussion in this movie. In the episode Loyal, Mark and Gomey get into a fight because of Mark's obsession with Shane, very similar to Banky and Holden's fight over Alyssa.
- The "titty cake" shown in the montage was a last-second addition to the film. Kevin Smith designed the face of the cake himself.
- Originally, Jay and Silent Bob were to not 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. Joey Lauren Adams reportedly saw the book and hated it, as she felt that her character's past sexual experiences were depicted in too graphic a fashion. (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," which was released in 1997. Interestingly, the Whalers franchise was moved to Raleigh, North Carolina following the 1996-1997 NHL season and became the Carolina Hurricanes. 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.
- Matt Damon, who plays "Executive Number 2," also appears briefly in the film in a different role. At the hockey rink, after Alyssa yells out her confession and she and Holden abruptly leave, Matt Damon is seated close by and tells his friend, "I told you these were good seats!"
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