Monday , 6 February 2023

It’s Clerks vs Bratzis in Yoga Hosers! – review

Yoga Hosers poster

From the convenience stores down near the Jersey Shore selling sandwiches to slurpees to the ones up in moose country selling maple syrup, writer/director/podcaster/stand-up comedian, Kevin Smith, brings the second of his “True North” trilogy of films to life with Yoga Hosers. Starring his own daughter, Harley Quinn Smith, and Lily-Rose Depp, daughter of Johnny Depp, who also stars, the three reprising their characters from the previous Tusk, Yoga Hosers is a wild and crazy horror comedy that is hard to describe. OK, the film is aboot two teenage girls who work together at a Manitoba convenience store and share a love for yoga, who join forces with a legendary hunter to battle an infestation of demonic Nazi bratwursts that are getting in the way of some big time party plans. You’re saying to yourself, that same old story again? Yoga Hosers is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, and perhaps, may ever see again. We’ll get into the actual movie a bit later, but first, the Gore 4 attended a special night in Kevin Smith’s hometown of Red Bank, New Jersey, where he brought the film to the landmark Count Basie Theatre, along with some of its stars to help him celebrate his 46th birthday. A Q&A and live music were also part of the long night of festivities.

Secret Stash

When in Red Bank, located in central New Jersey, just miles from the shore, you have to visit the Secret Stash, the comic book store Kevin owns and is featured in the hugely entertaining AMC series, Comic Book Men, which usually airs after Walking Dead and Talking Dead on Sunday nights. The hours before the Yoga Hosers showing kept the Stash busy with lines down the block on Main St. as fans of the show shopped for comics, t-shirts and other items, gazed at memorabilia from Kevin’s View Askewniverse and hoped to get a glimpse of the gang from the show. Kevin’s longtime buddy, and manager of the Stash, Walt Flanagan, was busy manning the cash register, along with fellow Comic Book Man, Michael Zapcic. At one point, Kevin’s other half, Jason Mewes, aka, Jay of Jay and Silent Bob fame, stopped by to the delight of the fans waiting in line. Snootchie bootchies! In case you can’t get to the store yourself, check out their website, The Secret Stash, where you can order all kinds of cool stuff, and get ready for new episodes of Comic Book Men this October.

Yoga Hosers - Jay and Ming Bratzi

Next, it was time to head to the iconic Count Basie Theatre, named after legendary jazz great and Red Bank native, William “Count” Basie. Outside the theatre, Jay could be seen spotted with another Comic Book Man, Ming Chen, dressed as one of the Bratzis from the film. As Harley Quinn Smith would later say, “that is what nightmares are made of.” While the delay of the night’s events allowed the audience time for an extra drink, or two, on the outside deck, Kevin Smith suddenly appeared on stage to assure the crowd that the start of the show was imminent. After another wait, we were finally graced by the lovely Genesis Rodriguez, who plays a high school gym teacher in the movie, and had a major role in the previous Tusk, albeit as another character. She was there to support the film, Kevin, and celebrate his birthday, and said how much she enjoyed the beautiful town of Red Bank.

Yoga Hosers - Genesis at Count Basie

She then introduced Kevin’s daughter, Harley Quinn Smith, whose very name shows how prescient Kevin was in naming his daughter after a lesser known comic character, who now, thanks to the success of Suicide Squad, has become known the world over. (Kevin later told a heart-tugging story of how excited Harley was to meet her namesake, that is, Margot Robbie, at the NYC Suicide Squad premiere the night before.) Harley was a pure delight, and showed a great deal of her father’s wit and charisma, and ability to command the stage. She proceeded to roast her dad, listing three of his characteristics that annoyed her, the first being passing on his curse for being late onto her. Secondly, she pointed out her dad’s love of talking….and talking, as the audience nodded in agreement, and how, when asked a question, he would give a 45 minute reply that didn’t even answer the question. Doing press tours together, Harley would be fortunate to ever get a word in, so at San Diego Comic Con, where her dad was set to interview her, she figured she’d finally get her chance. Of course, after asking her a question, her dad ended up answering it himself, so same old, same old. Thirdly, when forced to ask her dad for advice when her mom would be unavailable, Kevin would avoid the matter at hand and instead, give her an unrelated lesson on life. In the end, though, Harley said, “my dad is a fantastic human being who I love so much.” She then, briefly, thankfully, brought out Ming as the aforementioned, disturbing-looking Bratzi, before introducing the birthday boy, her beloved dad.

Yoga Hosers - Kevin and girls

As Harley had mentioned, her dad loves to talk. Anyone who has been to one of his shows, will give testament to this. The Gore 4 has been to several, from his stand-up at Carnegie Hall, to the NYC premiere of Red State at Radio City Music Hall, to his 40th birthday celebration/Q&A at Count Basie which lasted over 5 hours, the first three of which was the answer to just the first question! Now, some of the only people who can take over a stage with nothing but a microphone and be entertaining for even an hour, are stand-up comedians. Kevin Smith – writer, director, podcaster – is every bit the stand-up comedian as a Richard Pryor, a Jerry Seinfeld or an Amy Schumer (yes, he’s that good), and is actually in a league of his own, as no one else would attempt anywhere near the five-plus hours Kevin is capable of, with only the venue’s curfew limiting his spiel. Kevin is the Bruce Springsteen of stand-up comedy, as the Boss is also known for his legendary 3 to 4 hour shows. This is especially interesting as both hail from the Garden State – are those from New Jersey particularly talented in expressing their thoughts through words or music, or does their point of origin give them a special perspective and a lot to say? Whatever, Kevin is a one-of-a-kind speaker, enormously entertaining, self-deprecating, thoughtful and hilarious as hell. While, the Gore 4 found some of his past shows a little too d*ck and cork-soaking-laden to the point where it was a load too much, this night found Kevin at his absolute most endearingly engaging and comically compelling.

Yoga Hosers - Depp and girls

Kevin began by recalling his daughter’s birth, at the very same Riverview Hospital in Red Bank where he was born, and how important it was for her to be born in New Jersey, instead of L.A., “so she wouldn’t be an a**hole, or a Kardashian,” and how Harvey Weinstein let him use the Miramax jet to get him and his wife home to give birth. Kevin went on to describe how Tusk came to be, from a newspaper story he and longtime producer, Scott Mosier, discussed on their Smodcast, to an actual movie, simply because they wanted to see that movie. Finally finding the funding, Kevin questioned the man with the money, telling him, “the fact that you want to finance this movie (about a man physically turning a man into a walrus) makes me even suspect being in business with you.” The financier’s response, “I just want to see if you can do it,” and wanted Quentin Tarantino cast as Guy LaPointe so if Kevin effed up, they’d “have a real director on set.” Alas, Quentin said no way. Enter Johnny Depp. It turns out Smith’s and Depp’s daughters both went to the same school and have thus been close friends since the age of five. When Kevin first met Depp outside the school, he gushed like a fanboy, “Captain Jack!,” to which Depp replied, “Silent Bob!” When Kevin got the idea to cast Depp in Tusk, he sent him the script, which elicited the response, “this is so f#cked up, I do f@cked-up sh*t all the time. Did you know I played a guy with scissors for hands?” Depp ended up doing the movie for scale and even brought his own make-up artist, and together, made Depp virtually unrecognizable as Guy LaPointe. When Depp’s daughter, Lily-Rose, came to set to watch Harley Quinn’s scene, Kevin thought to cast her as well, giving her some of Harley’s lines. Acting with his kid resulted in Depp’s ‘greatest day of his life in a movie,’ and as co-star Genesis cried off camera, she proclaimed of the two teens, “they just joined the circus today.” Kevin loved their scene so much, he would watch it over and over again, and aside from his daughter being in it, he couldn’t get over why, to which his wife, Jen, explained, “You know why you love that scene so much? It’s two girls behind a convenience store counter!,” a clear reference to the movie that started it all, Clerks. Duh!

Yoga Hosers - Clerks

Kevin really wanted to revisit the world of those convenience store clerks some more, and it turned out, so did Johnny Depp too. He loved the character of Guy LaPointe so much he would do the voice whenever he could to whomever he could. With one of the biggest stars in the world on board, and in an expanded role, Smith was able to get this ridiculous movie made. And it’s a “movie made for children, or for adults if you’re blazed.” A 9-year old’s assessment of the film – “I liked it when the girls hit things with sticks,” which Kevin thought would make a great tagline for the movie. And so ended the greatest hour long intro to a film in the history of film. Knowing everything that went into the formation of Yoga Hosers, from it’s predecessor, Tusk, to the birth of one of its stars, to the casting of Depp, all told in Smith’s captivating style, gave unprecedented anticipation for the actual movie to an anxiously awaiting packed house. And so the theatre darkened….

Yoga Hosers - Bratzi

So what can one say about a movie where two teenage girls who work at a Canadian convenience store battle evil Nazis in the shape and size of bratwursts? Well, it is absurd. Believe it or not, there is a segment of moviegoers who aren’t into that sort of story. Sucks to be them, because Yoga Hosers is a fun, wild, ridiculous romp that will of course appeal most of all to fans of Kevin Smith and his View Askewniverse. The most raucous response of the night came when Harley Quinn’s character, Colleen McKenzie (a nod to SCTV’s beer-loving brothers) yells during a fight scene at the store, “I’m not even supposed to be here today!” Harley and Lily-Rose have a natural chemistry which stems from their longtime real friendship, and they’re completely at home in front of the camera, which is especially impressive considering their young age and lack of acting credits. You can see their chemistry in action in this exclusive clip where they sing Styx’ Babe- People exclusive scene from Yoga Hosers. The two have terrific voices and get to sing again during the end credits with a rockin’ version of “O, Canada.” Everyone gets their chance to shine in the film, from Tusk actors, Justin Long, Genesis Rodriguez and Haley Joel Osment, to new Smith players, Natasha Lyonne, Tony Hale and Teen Wolf’s Tyler Posey. Ralph Garmin, another of Smith’s previous actors, is worthy of note for his manic leader of the Bratzis. And Depp dives nose first back into his role of famed man-hunter, Guy LaPointe. Whether it’s his accent or his ever-changing facial birthmarks, Depp is clearly having the time of his life playing this crazy character and acting with his daughter.

Granted, Yoga Hosers is not a movie for everyone, but, then again, those aren’t the people the movie is for anyway. There’s no blood – when the Bratzis are splattered, a brightly colored liquid spews forth, making the movie palatable for kids. As Kevin explained after the showing, it was inspired by watching horror classics like Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator and From Beyond, and all those 80’s rubber monster movies. It’s Clueless meets Gremlins, or rather, Critters, or better yet, Ghoulies 3. Smith went on to talk about where he developed the skills and knowledge that enabled him to make movies – it wasn’t from being at school or in church, it was by being in a movie theater, watching TV, reading a book or listening to music. He told the audience to chase your dreams and not to give up, to figure out what you love doing and then find a way to get to paid for it. He explained that Clerks was inspired by the Richard Linklater movie, Slacker (and a failed imitation of it, at that), and if he didn’t take a chance on making it, well, we probably wouldn’t have been sharing this night together. He also talked about his next movie, and final chapter in his “True North” trilogy, Moose Jaws, which is essentially a beat-for-beat remake of Jaws, only with a moose instead. Harley and Lily-Rose will reprise their Colleen characters, most likely, Johnny Depp will be back as well, and we’ll be seeing Jay and Silent Bob too! Besides Jaws, it will draw inspiration from Godzilla, Destroy All Monsters, Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan and Return of the Jedi. Sounds like the perfect movie to us!

Lastly, Kevin proceeded with his Q&A portion of the night, or rather, the six-course meal, and spent a great deal of time enthralling the audience with how it came to be that he directed an episode of the CW superhero show, The Flash (and will do so again next season). Jason Mewes, who LOVES the CW, called up Kevin one night, which he hadn’t done since 9/11 (as Jason lives nearby, he just comes over, ala Kramer on Seinfeld). Kevin, understandably worried, got on the phone to a Jason screaming, “Turn on the CW! King Shark is on The Flash!” Kevin, intrigued, ended up binge-watching the show, loved it too, and Jason’s wife, who produces some of Kevin’s projects, got Kevin a gig directing an episode, in which he was able to cast an ecstatic Jason Mewes. Upon telling Jay the news, it was only the second time Kevin had seen him cry, the first being the birth of his daughter.

At this point, it is unknown how much longer the night continued, as the Gore 4 reluctantly had to leave to catch the last NJ Transit train northward. We do know that the punk band, Glam Skanks, performed, no doubt a spell after Kevin continued to regale the large crowd that remained of his adventures in filmmaking and life-living. As some of the event was being taped for an upcoming episode of Comic Book Men, we can all look forward to reliving some of this very special night. And the movie, Yoga Hosers, is set for release on Sept. 2nd, following a special Fathom Events sneak preview on Aug. 30th which will include behind the scenes footage, cast interviews and a Q&A with Kevin and the cast. Check out Yoga Hosers Premiere Party to learn more including what theaters will be showing this extravaganza. You won’t want to miss it, eh!

Yoga Hosers - Depp and clerks

— written by Brian de Castro

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