Mallrats summed up a generation. Now old enough to have the children of that generation see themselves represented on screen. Chocolate covered pretzels are timeless.
I remember MTV playing a Mallrats premier party. Kennedy interviewed Kevin Smith. Stan Lee was partying. Comics were mentioned constantly. This sounded like a movie I wanted to see, but I had no one to see it with. I had friends. I had a girlfriend. But I did not have the confidence to see a movie on my own. Much like the characters of the movie I was still trying to find the balance between friends, loves, and what the hell do I do with my life?
A group of friends were going out. Would I like to go to the movies with them? Sure. My girlfriend and I were fighting. So I lied to her over the phone and said I was going to go to bed. A big group of us went to see… Now and Then. Which I had already seen 3 or 4 times at that point. None of those times were by choice. I went to the bathroom, wandered the halls, and popped in to see a couple minutes of this Mallrats movie. Sitting in the back row right next to me was my girlfriend, with some of her friends. We were mutually caught and sometimes, you call it even and move on.
Much like Brodie chasing Rene throughout the mall during the day, we both felt a quest to make amends for this. The movie became a bit of a joke. She actually felt bad because she felt I would love the movie. As soon as it came out on VHS (it is 25 years old kids!) she bought it for me (or rented it) and she was right. I loved this movie. Silliness, comics, and best of all – deep discussions about our lives using the touchstones of shared pop culture. This Kevin Smith guy already formed himself into a version of an adult I was destined to also become.
Malls were cool then. They were fun. Everyone either worked there or was hanging out there. As someone who worked at many stores in the local mall over time – the microcosm of dating and gossip between stores is one of the most enjoyable soap operas you will ever witness. As long as you’re not directly involved.
We didn’t have a game show filmed by the food court. Nor did a couple of comical stoners cause mischief in every corner of the building. Although one day we did use airplane model glue to affix quarters to the floor and then spend the entire day laughing at every person trying to pick it up.
Kevin Smith did the impossible here. Maybe even more so than he did with Clerks. He gave all of us minimum wage disposable Generation X workers a sense of pride and dignity. Yeah, I “just” work in a mall. But I’m having fun and every day is something exciting.
Back when malls were fun. Back before spouses and kids and mortgages and needing to make more money just to afford shelter. Back when we could malls were open and we didn’t need to wear masks. Kevin Smith can get attacked for being juvenile but I was happier slinging t-shirts than I’ve been at most “real” jobs.
I wonder what happened to that girl.