My Evening With Kevin Smith: ‘Clerks III’ and The Convenience Tour

Ben Friedman


“There’s only one Return and it ain’t of the King” nor of the Jedi, it’s of Kevin Smith. And what a glorious return it is. Like Return of the Jedi and Return of the King, Clerks III delivers an emotionally satisfying finale that works as both a capper for the franchise, while also serving as a retrospect of the director’s nearly 30-year-long career.


Clerks III is a personal film for the 52-year-old filmmaker. Having suffered from a “Widowmaker” heart attack in 2018, Smith came face to face with his mortality. Thus, his latest installment within his View Askewniverse cinematic universe features Smith grappling with his legacy as a man and an artist.



The film follows Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson), who after suffering a massive heart attack, enlists his friends to help him make a movie about life at the Quick Stop Convivence Store. It is a meta retelling of the behind-the-scenes filmmaking of 1994’s Clerks, featuring a plethora of famous scenes recreated, familiar faces, and an abundance of callbacks.


It would be easy to dismiss Smith’s work as self-indulgent. After all, much of the film is a celebration of the director’s most acclaimed work. Yet, Smith’s storytelling never relies solely on nostalgia, instead centering the film’s conflicts on themes of regret. The emotional vulnerability displayed is uncompromising.  As a writer, Smith’s unabashed honesty allows him to achieve new levels of creativity. Clerks III is as much of a sequel as it is a biography, thus allowing the poignancy of the characters to showcase an ever-growing maturity from the filmmaker.



Kevin Smith’s writing is authentic as ever, allowing the performances to feel genuine. While the cast is strong with Anderson and a returning Rosario Dawson providing genuinely heartfelt performances, the emotional crux of Clerks III centers around Dante. Brian O’Halloran proves up to the challenge, delivering a beautifully nuanced performance. He wears his heart on his sleeve, successfully balancing the film’s broad comedic sensibilities with ease, while also showcasing his dramatic chops. The trust between director and actor is evident, allowing Smith to craft a finale that is his finest work to date.


For fans of the indie director, Clerks III is essential viewing, especially if you get the chance to see The Convenience Tour. Touring across 50 theaters in North America, Smith personally presents the movie and ends the show with an hour-long Q&A (though in typical Kevin Smith fashion, the Q&A went an hour overtime).



His show is a love letter to the fans and offers great insight into the behind-the-scenes making of a movie. His humor, genuineness, and love of film are evident, reflecting the values he instills into his filmmaking. If art truly is the expression of self, then one thing is for sure, Kevin Smith is one of our finest working artists.


Author Bio:

Ben Friedman is a freelance film journalist and a contributing writer at Highbrow Magazine. For more of his reviews, visit, his podcast Ben and Bran See a Movie, or follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube: The Beniverse.


For Highbrow Magazine


not popular
Ben Friedman
Bottom Slider: 
In Slider