Clerks is easily one of my favorite movies of all time. Kevin Smith’s first movie is arguably one of his finest and almost 20 years later it’s really stood the test of comedy time. Kevin Smith has been one of my favorite writers and directors for years now. His crude, yet amazingly real, dialogue, stories, and characters envelope you into his work and Clerks may be his best. On his first shot (and long shot) no less, he delivered this gem.
Clerks follows the story of convenience store worker Dante Hicks (Brian O’Halloran) as he’s called into work on his day off. The store is in New Jersey and the trouble starts as soon as he gets there to open. Someone has jammed gum into the locks of the store’s shutters. This sets the tone for a raunchy day in the life of a guy, his best friend Randall (Jeff Anderson), and the stoner duo, Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith) lurking outside the store. It really makes you wonder why any clerks ever are supposed to be there on a given day.
“I Assure You We’re Open”
I almost don’t even know where to start with this cause as of yet, I really haven’t done a review of one of my all time favorite movies. Made in 1993 for $27,000 dollars, it’s not the most quality looking movie ever made. But that’s part of its charm I think, and where my sort of gripe about this movie ends. Also the shooting in black and white is awesome and it gives it that classic movie feel.
The story of the Quick Stop and RST Video store that fateful day is one of the most original and hilarious stories I’ve ever watched. Even with my more than multiple viewings of this I never get tired of all the antics everyone from Dante to Jay or Randall and Silent Bob pull. This brings me to the dialogue, which is immensely funny and not afraid to go anywhere, from deep moments relating Star Wars to contractors to laugh-inducing moments where a list of porn titles are said in front of a little girl. With one-liners from Randall to the customers he hates to a brain-dead druggie popping in and out all day, there is no shortage of laughing to be had watching this.
“You shoe polish smelling motherfucker”
The character development is awesome as you can pick up on the background of almost all of the main characters. They are all written well and feel real, like they could really be the people that hate working at the convenience stores we all go to. Making them wholly relatable is a touch not may comedies can handle, but this is one of those movies that does it really well, though in a slightly exaggerated way.
The actors that play the rag-tag group of misfits in this area of New Jersey that has Russian singers and hockey lovers are great as well. Brian O’Halloran and Jeff Anderson are an amazing duo (and looking forward to Clerks II) and have a great amount of on-screen comedic timing and presence as Dante and Randall. Jay and Silent Bob turn out to be staples of the View Askew Universe and Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith himself provide a great supporting duo performance as them. I’ll end with the duo (I really like that word right now) of Marilyn Ghigliotti and Lisa Spoonhauer as Dante’s current and ex-girlfriend, who are great compliments to O’Halloran when they’re on screen. Again, there’s not much cinematography to speak of in this, but the music during the title cards and the “Berserker” songs is perfect.
“I don’t care if she’s my cousin or not, I’m gonna knock those boots again tonight.”
In short, in this day of internet and technology this is a great movie that shows life in the early 90s. For someone like me who actually grew up in the 90s, I’m happy that some of the best movies were made when I was a kid so I can go back and re-watch them like this. Kevin Smith has a lot of movies I adore, actually most of his films to be completely honest. I’m a kid at heart for the nostalgia aspect, a teenager at heart that loves raunchy comedy, and an adult that loves the storytelling of this. Clerks is one of the best comedies of all time and makes me glad Dante was supposed to be there that day.
Take a Drink: when Randall harasses a customer
Take a Drink: when a title card comes on screen
Take a Drink: when Dante says “I’m not even supposed to be here today”
Do a Shot: when Silent Bob speaks
Do a Shot: when the store is closed during the day