Kevin Smith might not be the most popular or critically acclaimed filmmaker in the world, but ever since he burst onto the indie scene in the mid-‘90s with his hysterical black-and-white slice-of-life comedy Clerks, he’s had a small, but dedicated cult fan following.
Smith’s films all have a very distinctive style. Whether he’s telling a story about angels and demons battling it out, a deranged man who wants to turn a podcaster into a walrus, or simply a couple of convenience store clerks, his singular creative voice can be heard. So, here are The 10 Best Characters Kevin Smith Created, Ranked.
10 Cardinal Glick
Although its comedic tone might make it seem so, Dogma is not a particularly blasphemous film. Kevin Smith was raised devoutly religious and he brought just as much love for Christianity to this movie as he did satirical jabs. Cardinal Glick, played by comedy legend George Carlin, is one of the film’s standout characters.
He’s the pioneer of the “Buddy Christ” campaign – the happier image of Jesus that the church decides to use instead of the “wholly depressing” image of the crucifix – that has since become a widely circulated meme. As he did with his standup, Carlin delivered every line as Cardinal Glick with perfect timing.
9 Randal Graves
Randal Graves might not be as relatable or as likable as his best friend Dante, but he’s certainly a brilliant character. Jeff Anderson has an uproariously deadpan delivery style that makes scenes like the one in which he rattles off a list of adult film titles leave the audience in hysterics.
Randal is also responsible for some painfully funny moments of cringe comedy in the View Askewniverse, like when he uses the term “porch monkey” in front of an African-American couple without realizing it’s a racial slur. Despite Randal’s obvious flaws and many screw-ups, he is still shown to truly care about Dante’s wellbeing.
8 Marshal Willenholly
As a lead, Will Ferrell’s performances can be up and down, depending on whether or not his zany comic style gels with the director, but he always steals his scenes in a supporting role. His role as the Federal Wildlife Marshal chasing down the titular duo in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is no different.
The character of Marshal Willenholly gets extra points for a fun behind-the-scenes fact. Kevin Smith named the character after Marshall, Will, and Holly, the three lead characters in the show Land of the Lost, and funnily enough, eight years later, Ferrell would star in a movie adaptation of the series.
7 Holden McNeil
Ben Affleck’s lead character from Chasing Amy, Holden McNeil, goes through some serious emotional change throughout the movie. He falls in love with Alyssa instantly, goes into a deep depression when he finds out she’s a lesbian, gets really jealous when he discovers she used to identify as bisexual and slept with men, and eventually learns to let her go, accept her for who she is, and move on.
Affleck gave an affable performance as the character, showing his nobility when he ends his friendship and creative collaboration with his best pal Banky after Banky displays his ignorant homophobic views.
6 Brodie Bruce
It’s a shame that Kevin Smith couldn’t get the Mallrats sequel off the ground, because it’s one of his underrated gems, and it would be great to see Jason Lee back in the role of Brodie Bruce. Like Dante Hicks from Smith’s debut feature Clerks, he’s the everyman that invites us into the absurd world of the View Askewniverse and grounds the ridiculousness.
Lee was cast with no previous acting experience, having been a professional skateboarder up to that point, so not only is Brodie a great character; he’s what we have to thank for the criminally unappreciated My Name is Earl.
5 Becky Scott
In the first Clerks movie, Dante’s relationship with Veronica went into a tailspin when he found out how many previous partners she’d had and he flew into a jealous rage. He got a happier ending in Clerks II, as he finally confessed his love for his co-worker Becky Scott and proposed to her.
Often in comedies, the female love interests aren’t given any jokes or, really, any characterization. But thanks to a hilarious performance by Rosario Dawson, Becky isn’t relegated to a cliché and actually becomes a character you want to see again. With any luck, she’ll reappear in Jay and Silent Bob Reboot.
4 Hooper X
Kevin Smith named three characters in the View Askewniverse after the central trio in Jaws. The one named after Hooper is Hooper LaMante (better known by his pen name, Hooper X), who has the distinction of being both one of the first gay characters and one of the first black characters to be introduced into the View Askewniverse.
Dwight Ewell delivered every line with an angry hilarity. The character’s most memorable scene is easily the one in which he breaks down how the Star Wars trilogy is all about “how the white man keeps the brother man down, even in a galaxy far, far away.”
3 Silent Bob
Silent Bob is one half of the duo Jay and Silent Bob, and the latter is arguably the better character of the two. While Jay’s crude, babbling nonsense is amusing to an extent, Silent Bob is more developed than that. He doesn’t speak a word until towards the end of whatever movie he’s in, but when he does speak, he always has something very profound and meaningful to say.
Bob’s only line will have a thousand times more wisdom and necessity than any of the dozens of things Jay has been saying throughout the whole movie, and provide the protagonist with the emotional push they need.
2 Alyssa Jones
The premise of Chasing Amy – the tale of a straight man who falls in love with a girl, Alyssa Jones, who turns out to be a lesbian – sounds like a cheap, schlocky, raunchy comedy. But Kevin Smith didn’t take the easy way out with this concept.
The plot digs deeper into the characters’ emotions than most comedies do, as their backstories are revealed and their relationship develops to the point that they both feel like real people. Joey Lauren Adams is fantastic in the role of Alyssa, bringing a warm humanity to the character. She’s the clear standout of the cast.
1 Dante Hicks
Dante Hicks is an everyman that we can all relate to. He hates his job, he struggles to find the right girl, he furiously debates the philosophy of Star Wars, and he wishes he could do something more meaningful than sit behind the counter of a convenience store all day – in a way, we can all identify with his struggles.
Brian O’Halloran does a great job of playing Dante’s lines straight against all the absurd characters around him. He’s the one that keeps the Clerks movies – and some of the other View Askew movies he appears in – grounded in reality.