Rated R on appeal for extensive use of extremely explicit sex-related dialogue.
Written and Directed By: Kevin Smith
Staring: Brian O’Halleran, Jeff Anderson, Marilyn Ghigliotti, Lisa Spoonhauer, Jason Mewes, and Kevin Smith
I’m not even supposed to be here today! -Dante
The brilliance of this film by Kevin Smith, the King of dialogue, is in it’s simplicity. The budget for this creation was nearly non-existent and therefore compensated with creativity and an original screenplay. The black and white footage allows you to really focus on the interaction of Dante and Randal and contributes to the fact that this is really a movie about two guys talking about their lives, while occasionally being interrupted by pesky customers. An extra $100,000 would not have made this movie any funnier, in fact it probably would have ruined it.
Clerks is a movie about the day in the life of a convenience store clerk and video store clerk. Dante and Randal are best friends whose aspirations in life have left them in the fantastic arena of customer service. Somewhere in New Jersey they spend their day ridiculing customers, playing hockey on rooftops, talking about movies, sex, and relationships, while simultaneously waiting on customers. One morning, that would have been Dante’s day off, he’s called in and it becomes a day of extraordinary proportions. His new girlfriend begins to nag him about his direction in life and then reveals a secret about her past that is very….unnerving. In the meantime he discovers his ex-girlfriend that he still swoons for is engaged to be married. With a hockey game at two and no relief in site, a wake that he can’t miss, it promises to be a day that he’ll never forget. And most importantly, he’s not even supposed to be there.
It’s obvious within the first five minutes that the humor in Clerks is littered with vulgarity and random monologues. This kind of funny is not meant for those with sensitive ears. What makes the profane humour of this movie so tangible is the reality of Dante and Randal. Most people could probably relate one of those character’s to a local clerk of their own, and perhaps the magnanimous events of the day aren’t the norm, but that’s what makes it a movie. You can either relate to being the customer or being the clerk, and as a former clerk, I have to admit to suffering many of the customers Dante and Randal did. This honesty touches on a much more personal level.
Dante and Randal really have this feel of authenticity about their relationship. Where the acting was weak, the chemistry between them was very real. Though both told the story of Dante’s day of unfortunate events, the real scene stealers were Jay and Silent Bob. The beginning of their dynasty began in this film. For Kevin Smith, he couldn’t act but wanted to be in his own movie and so created the character who never talks, but for the occasional insightful monologue. He essentially sticks around for over the top reactive faces to the mutterings of the foul mouthed Jay, who’s character based on himself, utters the most random and crude things viewers will ever hear in a motion picture. Simply said, their duo is magically hilarious.
At first viewing of this movie, it was during freshman or sophomore year in high school and the result was a young girls jaw dropped to the floor and an ache in her stomach from belly laughter. Clerks is offensive, and unapologetic. It’s a movie about dick and fart jokes that is conveyed in a way that the simple minded will enjoy, and the more complicated types will still be stimulated with. As appalling as it can be, it’s just as clever. It is some of the most original and brilliant dialogue ever written. If you forget everything about it Clerks will always leave you with the resounding line in memory for eternity…………….
In a row?
Clerks will be forever immortal.