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Chasing Amy

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Title: Chasing Amy  
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Subject: List of film director and actor collaborations, Joey Lauren Adams, Scott Mosier, Clerks. (comics), Comic Book Men
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Chasing Amy

Chasing Amy
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Kevin Smith
Produced by Scott Mosier
Written by Kevin Smith
Starring Ben Affleck
Joey Lauren Adams
Jason Lee
Dwight Ewell
Jason Mewes
Kevin Smith
Music by David Pirner
Cinematography David Klein
Edited by Scott Mosier
Kevin Smith
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release dates
  • April 4, 1997 (1997-04-04)
Running time 113 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $250,000[1]
Box office $12,023,283[2]

Chasing Amy is a 1997 American romantic comedy film written and directed by Kevin Smith. The central tension revolves around sexuality, sexual history, and evolving friendships. It is the third film in Smith's View Askewniverse series.

The film was originally inspired by a brief scene from an early movie by a friend of Smith's. In Guinevere Turner's Go Fish, one of the lesbian characters imagines her friends passing judgment on her for "selling out" by sleeping with a man. Kevin Smith was dating star Joey Lauren Adams at the time he was writing the script, which was also partly inspired by her.[3]

The film won two awards at the 1998 Independent Spirit Awards (Best Screenplay for Smith and Best Supporting Actor for Jason Lee).


Holden McNeil (Ben Affleck) and Banky Edwards (Jason Lee) are comic book artists and lifelong friends. Holden is the calmer, more reasonable of the duo; Banky, meanwhile, is the caustic and short-tempered half. Everything is going well for them until they meet Alyssa Jones (Joey Lauren Adams) at a comic book convention in New York where they are promoting their comic Bluntman and Chronic. Holden is attracted to Alyssa, but soon learns that she is attracted to women. The two begin hanging out, and a deep friendship develops. Eventually, Holden is no longer able to contain his feelings, and confesses his love to Alyssa. She is initially angry with him, but that night, the two begin a romantic relationship.

This new development worsens the tension between Holden and Banky, who dislikes and distrusts Alyssa and is bothered by her and Holden's relationship. Banky investigates and uncovers dirt on Alyssa's past, and he reports to Holden that Alyssa participated in a threesome with two guys during high school, which gave her the nickname "Finger Cuffs". Holden is deeply disturbed by this revelation, having previously believed that he is the first man Alyssa had ever slept with. He angrily confronts Alyssa while attending a hockey game, and clumsily attempts baiting her into confessing. During a tearful argument, she tells Holden about her "many" youthful sexual experimentations. She apologizes for letting him believe that he was the only man she had been with. However, she refuses to apologize for her past, and Holden leaves feeling angry and confused.

Later, during lunch with Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith), Silent Bob reveals that he was once in a relationship similar to Holden's. Despite the fact that he was in love with his girlfriend, Amy, his insecurities about her adventurous sexual past caused him to sabotage the relationship and leave her. Angry at himself for letting her go, he has "spent every day since then chasing Amy, so to speak."

Inspired by Silent Bob's story, Holden devises a plan to fix both his relationship with Alyssa and his fractured friendship with Banky. He invites them both over and tells Alyssa that he would like to get over her past and remain her boyfriend. He also tells Banky that he realizes that Banky is in love with him—kissing him passionately to prove the point. Holden suggests a threesome. Though initially appalled, Banky agrees to participate, whereas Alyssa explains to Holden that it will not save their relationship. Before leaving, she states that she loves him, but she will not be his "whore." Banky also leaves the apartment, and summarily ends their friendship.

One year later, both Banky and Holden are busy promoting their own respective comics at a convention in New York. It is revealed that Holden has dissolved their partnership over Bluntman and Chronic, leaving the viewer with the assumption that he sold the publishing and creative rights over to Banky (which is corroborated in the beginning of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back). Banky smiles sadly at seeing his old friend, who silently congratulates him for his success. Banky gestures over to a booth hosted by Alyssa, and provides wordless encouragement to Holden to go talk to her. He has a brief, quietly emotional conversation with Alyssa, and gives her a copy of Chasing Amy, his new comic based on their failed relationship. After Holden leaves, Alyssa's new girlfriend (Virginia Smith) arrives and asks who she was talking to. A shaken, misty-eyed Alyssa feigns indifference and replies, "Oh, just some guy I knew."



Box office

On a budget of $250,000, the film grossed a total of $12,021,272 in theaters.[1][2] Chasing Amy played at three locations and earned $52,446 upon its opening weekend in the United States.[4] The following week, the film was expanded to a further twenty-two theaters where it grossed $302,406.[5] During the 18–20 April 1997 weekend, Chasing Amy was screened at a further 494 locations, where it earned $1,642,402 and moved into the Top 10.[6]

Critical reception

Film critics

The film has received positive reviews from critics. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a score of 88% based on reviews from 83 critics, with a rating average of 7.4 out of 10.[7] According to the site's summary of the critical consensus, "Chasing Amy explores gender roles, sexual mores, and the limits of friendship with a mixture of sensitivity, raw honesty, and director/screenwriter Kevin Smith's signature raunchy humor."[7] Metacritic, which assigns a score of 1–100 to individual film reviews, gives the film an average rating of 71 based on 28 reviews.[8] Audiences polled by Cinemascore gave the film a grade A-minus.[9]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times said "While the surface of his film sparkles with sharp, ironic dialogue, deeper issues are forming, and Chasing Amy develops into a film of touching insights. Most romantic comedies place phony obstacles in the way of true love, but Smith knows that at some level there's nothing funny about being in love: It's a dead serious business, in which your entire being is at risk."[10] Ebert believed the film was an improvement over Smith's previous effort Mallrats and he added that Adams was a discovery.[10] Charles Taylor, writing for Salon, quipped "Chasing Amy isn't going to single-handedly save romantic comedy, but Smith (Clerks) has made the only romantic comedy in quite a while that acknowledges, even celebrates, the fact that love and sex are emotional anarchy."[11]

Gender studies critics

Academic critics have criticized the movie for its stereotypical portrayal of lesbians,[12] and its limited views on sexuality, for instance "while individual lesbian characters may now have some range and depth and narrative engagement, lesbian culture is still depicted (if depicted at all) in the narrowest and most stereotypical of ways."[13]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipients and nominees Result
British Independent Film Awards[14] October 29, 1998 Best Foreign Independent Film Chasing Amy Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association[15] March 1, 1998 Most Promising Actress Joey Lauren Adams Won
Golden Globe Award[16] January 18, 1998 Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Joey Lauren Adams Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards[17] March 21, 1998 Best Film Chasing Amy Nominated
Best Screenplay Kevin Smith Won
Best Supporting Actor Jason Lee Won
Las Vegas Film Critics Society[18] January 1998 Most Promising Actress Joey Lauren Adams Won
Los Angeles Film Critics Association[19] January 15, 1996 Best Screenplay Kevin Smith Nominated
MTV Movie Awards[20] May 30, 1998 Best Breakthrough Performance Joey Lauren Adams Nominated
Best Kiss Joey Lauren Adams and Carmen Llywelyn Nominated
National Board of Review of Motion Pictures[21] December 8, 1998 Special Recognition for Excellence in Filmmaking Chasing Amy Won

Home media

A special edition DVD was released with 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen picture and Dolby 5.1 surround sound. It includes the following bonus features: Audio commentary from cast and crew; Introduction by Smith; deleted scenes; outtakes; and a theatrical trailer.

Chasing Amy was originally released as a Criterion Collection Laserdisc. Smith raised eyebrows when he recorded the running commentary for the Laserdisc, as he started it by saying, "This is a Laserdisc, and I'd like to take a moment to say 'fuck DVD'." When Criterion released the DVD—which re-uses the Laserdisc running commentary—Smith recorded a special introduction in which he apologized for the comment and jokingly attributed it to Jason Mewes.

It was rumored that 2007 would see the release of a Chasing Amy X DVD, in a similar vein as the Clerks X DVD and the Mallrats: 10th Anniversary DVDs. But at Comic-Con 2007, Smith confirmed that a special "supplementary" DVD would be released the following year to go along with the Criterion Collection DVD released earlier that will just have more extras on it.[22] Smith later said Criterion rejected the idea of a special edition as "double dipping", but he is hopeful that new featurettes can be included on a future Blu-ray Disc release of the film.[23]

Smith revealed in early 2009 at a Q&A session in Vancouver that he and the film's cast were currently recording new material for an upcoming Criterion Blu-ray release of the film.[24]


In Japan, the screenplay of Chasing Amy was adapted into a novel by Kenichi Eguchi and published by Aoyama Publishing. The unique concept of the book is that it is roughly half-novel, half-manga, with Moyoko Anno providing the art for the comic book pages.[25] In an episode of SModcast, Smith revealed that while he was thrilled to have a manga based on his film, he was shocked when he read the novelization, as the characters' sexual histories, which are just mentioned in conversation in the film, are depicted in the novel's manga illustrations as very sexually graphic flashbacks.

Cultural references

In a scene originally written for Mallrats, several principal characters share memories of sexual escapades gone awry. This scene reveals the character's own emotional "sex scars" and was purposefully created—down to the style of dialogue and set dressing—to mirror a scene from Steven Spielberg's Jaws in which Quint and Hooper share the physical scars they've both earned from encounters with sharks.[26]


  1. ^ a b "Chasing Amy: Synopsis".  
  2. ^ a b "Chasing Amy (1997)".  
  3. ^ Kevin Smith (June 26, 2000). "Kevin Smith's comments on his own film". The Criterion Collection. Archived from the original on December 9, 2008. 
  4. ^ "April 4-6, 1997 Weekend".  
  5. ^ "April 11-13, 1997 Weekend".  
  6. ^ "April 18-20, 1997 Weekend".  
  7. ^ a b "Chasing Amy (1997)".  
  8. ^ "Chasing Amy".  
  9. ^ Published on Apr 11, 1997 (1997-04-11). "Critical Mass". Retrieved December 4, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b  
  11. ^ Taylor, Charles (May 11, 1997). "Chasing Amy".  
  12. ^ Gaiba, F.; Syracuse University (2007). Straight Women and Gay Men Friends: A Qualitative Study. Syracuse University. p. 233.  
  13. ^ Walters, S.D. (2003). All the Rage: The Story of Gay Visibility in America. University of Chicago Press. p. 164.  
  14. ^ "1998 British Independent Film Awards".  
  15. ^ "Chicago Film Critics Awards - 1988-97".  
  16. ^ "Nominees for Golden Globe Awards".  
  17. ^ "The Independent Spirit Awards: 1998".  
  18. ^ "1997 Sierra Award winners".  
  19. ^ Kronke, David (December 14, 1997). L.A. Confidential' Gets L.A. Critics' Top Award"'".  
  20. ^ "1998 MTV Movie Awards".  
  21. ^ "Awards for 1997".  
  22. ^ Vasconcellos, Eduardo (July 28, 2007). "IGN: SDCC 07: More Chasing Amy On The Way". Retrieved May 6, 2009. 
  23. ^ "Kevin Smith High on Blu-ray". Home Media Magazine. November 26, 2008. Retrieved May 6, 2009. 
  24. ^ Scooped by Steven Kirkham, Robert Jamieson, James Turner (March 29, 2009). "Vancouver Q&A: What We Learned...". News Askew. Retrieved May 6, 2009. 
  25. ^
  26. ^ "'"The Hows and Whys of 'Chasing Amy. Retrieved May 6, 2009. 

External links

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