How Silent Bob's Speech in Chasing Amy Changed My Life
Photo Credit: Chasing Amy Screenshot
When Silent Bob speaks, ish gets real.
I first discovered Silent Bob in 2004, during my friend Matt “Whitey” Palaski showing my brother Greg, Ed Scanlon, and me the Clerks X DVD set. Ed and Whitey, hip to the counter-culture scene, had known of the legacy of The View Askewniverse for years. The Harder Boys, sheltered to the world of anything cool in any form of culture, watched this flick for the first time. While my brother fell in love with the material and characters. Me...it was the complete opposite.
It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy the movie. Nor was it the fact that I dug the characters, I didn’t appreciate the concept... When you sit down to watch a Kevin Smith film, you have to embrace it in a way that you never have before with a film. It’s a different element for sure. Similar to fans that fall in love with Star Wars, Star Trek, or Lord of the Rings, The View Askewniverse is an environment in which you have to be incredibly invested into the product.
Sadly, that day was not the day. I didn’t get it. In truth, I think Whitey was kind of disappointed. Ed, too, but, as typical with his nature, he never gives up. Two years later, during a hangout session with the aforementioned Ed and the legendary Pito, the conversation of Clerks 2 came up. The guys wanted to go see it a few days later, but I wasn’t feeling it. Clerks was great, but continuing on with the sequel wasn’t something I was interested in seeing.
Ed and Pito proceeded to tell me that there was more to the saga than meets the eye. From Clerks to the sequel Clerks 2, there was a plethora of flicks in between that told great stories and had incredible depth to the characters. Somehow, each movie was intertwined and connected. Thankfully, Pito had all the movies and insisted that we sit down and watch them. Seeing that there was realistically no way out of doing this, I caved in and prepared to waste away 6 hours of getting enamored with one of the greatest DVD experiences I’ve ever had the privilege of binge watching.
Although I dug a second viewing of Clerks and Mallrats, Chasing Amy completely changed my views of how movies were created. The story being told was absolutely enthralling and all connected together with an incredibly realistic and did not necessarily have a happy ending. I genuinely fell in love with this movie.
And yet, the moment of the flick for me was not the emotional rain scene with Holden and Alyssa officially solidify their relationship. To me, it would always be the part where Jay and Silent Bob met up with Holden at the Marina Diner on Rt. 36 South in Middletown, NJ to gain “the salad” for their likeness rights for Holden and Banky Edwards’ comic “Bluntman and Chronic”.
While Jay, the potty-mouthed degenerate, was going back-and-forth with Holden over “Finger Cuffs” (Jay telling the waitress “Yo Flo! Tell Ma to whip me up a toasted bagel with cream cheese,” is still a goto line for me when I go to my beautiful girlfriend to fix me up a bagel), Silent Bob was sitting there, chomping on his finger nails. While Holden is pouring his soul to Jay, you just see Bob silently building up, waiting on his moment to strike. Suddenly, when it looked Jay and Holden had reached their crescendo, the bearded brute took things to another level.
“You’re Chasing Amy.”
With Holden stunned in his booth, and myself stunned on the floor in Pito’s room, I watched Silent Bob go into the greatest diatribe I had ever seen on film, helping describe his plight to show Holden the way of the world. However, it was the final piece of the lecture that really froze me where I sat.
At that moment, I felt small, like... like I'd lacked experience, like I'd never be on her level, like I'd never be enough for her or something like that, you know what I'm saying? But, what I did not get, she didn't care. She wasn't looking for that guy anymore. She was... she was looking for me, for the Bob. But, uh, by the time I figure this all out, it was too late, man. She moved on, and all I had to show for it was some foolish pride, which then gave way to regret. She was the girl, I know that now. But I pushed her away. So, I've spent every day since then chasing Amy... so to speak.
Mix in the emphatic sparking of the cigarette during this, and you have THE moment that hooked me. I GOT IT. The View Askewniverse, mixed in with some really outlandish content and characters, had such a realistic style to their flicks and true moments that people latch on to. I don’t know why, but Silent Bob became a legend to me that day.
With my new appreciation for the movies because of Silent Bob, I went all in and enjoyed Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back, and, days later, Clerks 2. In every flick, Silent Bob’s minute of glory stole the show and made me laugh. I’m forever grateful that Ed and Pito had me watching the entire View Askewniverse saga. All those movies are top notch.
I’ve watched a lot of movies since then and I’ve been touched and moved by some tremendous moments. Yet, nothing that day, or days going forward, ever moved me as much Silent Bob’s “Chasing Amy” story.
Last night, I watched the movie with my girlfriend for the first time in years. Even more now than ever, the movie holds true to convictions with guys who feel they lacked experience to women on both a sexual and personal level. Throughout the movie, I sat there and was thoroughly engrossed what this movie was about. Yet, Silent Bob’s speech still captivated me as one of the greatest things I’ve ever heard in a film setting.
Why? Why does that still ring true? What makes Silent Bob’s speech in Chasing Amy move me so? Here in the Professional 3, I have three reasons why. Without further adieu…
LESS IS MORE: As Jay so eloquently put to Holden at the diner table, “What do you look so shocked for, man? Fat bastard does this all the time. He thinks just 'cause he doesn't say anything, it'll have some huge impact when he does open his fuckin' mouth…” In simpler terms, whenever Silent Bob decided to talk, it meant something. Like the way interviews in pro wrestling are, it’s a “less is more” philosophy. If something is succinct and short, perfect. If a situation only occurs once in awhile instead of every single time, for example like a swerve, brilliant. Silent Bob’s soliloquy to bring a moral or a “glass breaking” moment near the end of the film was a great concept. None was greater than the one in Chasing Amy.
THE DELIVERY: Silent Bob’s solid and impassioned delivery of his lecture to Holden absolutely drew me in. You felt his pain. When Bob let in that it was too late to reconcile with a woman he considered “the girl” in Amy, my heart fell for him. You felt his angst, frustration, and heartache. Knowing that he has been figuratively chasing Amy every day since making a big mistake that wasn’t as big of a deal in hindsight, it breaks your heart seeing his agony.
INSPIRATIONAL: In the movie, Holden’s take to the Silent Bob speech forced him to make a change and try to make things right with him and Alyssa. Sadly, it backfired in Holden’s face (as he took the words the wrong way), but nonetheless it worked to try and help make a change so he would not be in the same boat Bob was in. Personally, I can tell you that Bob’s speech helped motivate me in my current relationship.
I have always felt that my girlfriend Haley was way out of my league. She, of course, is, but genuinely loves me for who I am. That, in turn, allows me to feel as if I am not good for her at all and that I lack the emotional depth and magnitude to be able to hold this girl for the rest of my life. There have been some struggles with me internally trying to over compensate the lack of confidence that I maintain and me trying to push her away. Once I watched the speech of SIlent Bob again, I realized ultimately that I should not be intimidated for what I had gained; instead, I should realize that she loves me for me and for who I am, in spite of where I am in life. Using what that speech ultimately meant as inspiration, I have completely embraced myself into what we are and we’ve never been stronger. I thank Silent Bob (and ultimately Kevin Smith) for that.
I ultimately thank Ed, Pito, and Matt Palaski for introducing me to the world of the View Askewniverse. Had they not done it, I might not have had the guts to try anything with #HardwayHQ right now. Most of all, if not for Silent Bob’s speech in Chasing Amy, I might not be the man I am today.
“Do or do not; there is no try.”
Jon Harder firstname.lastname@example.org