One day, Mallrats will probably be considered a piece of history. Not because it went on to break box office records or claim dozens upon dozens of stellar reviews and awards. We all know that didn’t happen. It’s because it focused on a part of the American experience — fabulous ’80s and ’90s mall culture — that is slowly fading away thanks to online shopping. Do kids even hang out at the mall? Do I sound ancient right now? The point is, Mallrats speaks to a time that some of us can relate to. And despite the derision that the film faced when it debuted due to its not-Clerksness, it did a pretty good job of it.
Writer/director Kevin Smith’s second film tells the story of T.S. (Jeremy London) and Brodie (Jason Lee) as they maneuver their way through mall security, T.S.’ ex-girlfriend’s manipulative father (pre-zombie killing and blue makeup-wearing Michael Rooker), Jay and Silent Bob, and a wisened Stan Lee to win back their girlfriends.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since the release of the film, but indeed today marks that momentous occasion, so, to celebrate, we thought we’d go back and find some trivia about the film that you may not have been aware of.
Son Of Jor-El, Kneel Before… Seth…??
Jason Mewes’ charisma as Jay is one of the best things about the View Askewniverse – the name of the universe where Smith’s movies take place. But even after his memorable performance in Clerks (1994), studio execs wanted to switch things up a bit. Even though Smith refused, he had to hold auditions for the role of Jay, which led to Seth Green waiting on call to come and replace Mewes at a moment’s notice. Luckily, Mewes kept his role and we got years of Jay singing about smoking blunts and “noinch noinch noinch.”
“Tell ‘Em, Steve-Dave!”
If you’ve watched AMC’s Comic Book Men or listened to any of Kevin Smith’s podcasts, you’ve probably gotten as familiar with his friends as you have with him. Two of those friends would be Walter Flanagan and Bryan Johnson, who have popped up in multiple Smith films. If you re-watch the scene in Mallrats where T.S. and Brodie cut the line at the comic book store, they’re stopped by a younger Walt and Bryan. One interesting thing about this is that Smith claims that Walter is the inspiration for Brodie. Oh, and the two now host a podcast entitled “Tell ‘Em, Steve-Dave!”
The Plothole That Is Lois And Clark
I’ve always been worried about the love affair between Superman and Lois Lane. My main concern has always been that, during the passions of intimate love-making, Superman would either crush her to death or send her flying through a wall. Luckily, Mallrats let me know that I’m not crazy for thinking way too much about fictional characters after T.S.’s and Brodie’s debate on the same matter, which was actually pulled from Larry Niven’s essay on the subject, Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex.
The Wisdom Of Stan “The Man” Lee
Before Stan Lee made regular appearances in Marvel movies, he showed up in Mallrats when he used his extensive comic book knowledge to relate to Brodie’s love life. After dodging questions on the condition of the Thing’s thing, Lee helped Brodie learn that sometimes you have to rearrange your priorities to truly be happy. Apparently, he had trouble remembering his lines and needed cue cards, which would explain the wandering eyes.
Some good news for Mallrats fans is that Stan, as well as everyone else in the cast (besides Ben Affleck), has already signed on for the sequel. According to ComicBook.com, Stan’s going to play an even larger role this time around.
Getting A Return On Your Investment
Kevin Smith’s breakout film, Clerks, was famously made with a budget of less than $28,000. A lot of that money came from Smith maxing out his credit cards and selling his personal possessions – including his comic book collection. After his success, Smith was able to buy back a respectable part of his collection by the time Mallrats was shot a year later, which you can see in Brodie’s room.
My Cousin Walter
In Clerks, Randal tells the story of how his cousin Walter broke his own neck trying to “self-felate.” In Mallrats, Brodie tells the story of how his cousin Walter used three cats to get a gerbil out of somewhere “fairly uncomfortable” and was part of a group masturbation craze on a plane. Until something says otherwise, there’s a strong case that Randal and Brodie are cousins, or at least share a cousin named Walter who was far more sexually courageous than most.
Beverly Hills, Minnesota
Back in the early ’90s, Shannen Doherty was mostly known for her work on Beverly Hills, 90210, but by the time Mallrats came out, she had already severed ties with the show — an exit that sparked old-timey pre-internet word-of-mouth rumors about on-set clashes on the show. As a last minute joke, Smith thought it would be funny if Willam (Ethan Suplee) mistakenly called Doherty’s Rene character Brenda, after her character on 90210. If the rumors are true, Doherty’s response was about what you’d expect.
The Original Brodie
Even if it’s hard to imagine it being anyone else, Jason Lee wasn’t the first pick to play Brodie, the master of the “stink palm” and “chocolate-covered pretzels.” As a matter of fact, there was another actor who was offered, and accepted, the role. But when it came time for the first day of shooting, that unnamed actor couldn’t handle the pressure and was replaced by Lee.