Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie: The film Kevin Smith was made to distribute
Chris Bryant | On 09, Jul 2014
“Jay and Silent Bob win the lottery and become superheroes” would be an accurate depiction of Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie, an hour-long film penned by Kevin Smith and produced by hetero life-partner Jason Mewes. Scrappily animated in part by director Steve Stark, the troublesome, weed-fuelled duo embark on the origins story of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back’s “Bluntman and Chronic” alter-egos.
The 18-certificate film itself (also starring Eliza Dushku, Ralph Garman and Neil Gaiman) has been available on-demand in the USA since May, but now Smith and Mewes – alongside their prolific live podcasting – are screening the film on-tour, much the same as Smith attempted to do with religious horror Red State. The move is a fan-floated rebellion against studio funding and reliance, following a successful relationship with the Weinstein brothers and a wave of criticism in response to buddy-cop flop Cop Out.
Smith’s independent rebellion, though, fits the Super Groovy Carton Movie far better than it ever did Red State. Where that was a departure from his normal work (albeit a good one), the people who funded his film tour are exactly the right market for the Cartoon Movie; a simple story jam-packed with View Askew references and littered with iconic comic book moments. It’s ultra low-budget – Mewes produced it himself for a comically golden $69,000 – and is purely for the fans (the protagonists are constantly on drugs and one of the bad guys is literally a giant penis). It feels like Smith’s new DIY film distribution methods have found a film to distribute. Involving a giant, talking penis.
The podcast/Q&A that follows the film on tour demonstrates a little more of the backstory. July 2nd, mid-tour, marks Mewes’ fourth anniversary clean and sober, and Smith makes a big deal out of it. He indicates the Cartoon Movie and the podcasts are a useful, therapeutic check-in to celebrate a sober best friend and all that criticism disappears; Smith can publicly make a stand against “mainstream” Hollywood and airplane seats but, among friends and fans, he admits that it’s all for his mate. Yes, Mewes shouts “Hey baby, have you ever had your asshole licked by a fat man in an overcoat?” more than once during the film – and a few more times during the Q&A – but the bonding spirit of Jay and Silent Bob lives on in the director’s tour.
On the surface of it, Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie is a low-budget amalgam of Jay & Bob lore and comic book legend, coupled with witty asides from a cartoon Kevin (kindly popping up to remind everyone that ninja turtles are, in fact, NOT from outer space) and dick jokes. To the external eye, it’s a cheap, vulgar, nigh-on indecipherable mish-mash of swearing, drugs and sick superheroes. To the fans who have stuck by Smith, know the Clerks story, have funded his tours, read his books and listened to his hundreds of podcasts, it’s Jason Mewes’ hard work and foul mouthed that made them both famous. The cartoon, the VOD release and the tour all represent the same notion that Smith’s characters – Jay & Bob, Dante & Randall – have always maintained: it doesn’t matter what you’re doing, or even if you’re doing anything, as long as you’re doing it with your friend.