Monday, June 7, 2010

Memorial Monday: Clerks (1994)

Summary: On his day off, Dante gets called into work at the convenience store. With the utmost reluctance he goes into work. What starts off as regular day quickly turns into hell and forces Dante to question everything in his life.

Plot (A): What I’ve always loved and respected about Clerks is its simplicity and rawness. Not every movie has to have A-list stars with a huge budget and elaborate special effects. Clerks is a movie which proves that a well written story supported by edgy actors/character is more than enough. There are several connections people can make to this movie but there is one which we ALL share. It’s safe to say that the majority of people in this world hate their job in one form or another. Whether it’s the stress, the hours, or the lack of money everyone bitches about it. However, I don’t think there a person who hates their job more than Dante. While his life isn’t really that terrible he believes no one has worse luck than him and he has no problem letting everyone know about it. With the blunt philosophic advice and comments of his best friend Randall Dante feels even more trapped in his life. As a viewer, it’s crucial to understand that Randall’s skewed view of the world may sound extreme and weird at first but after much thought there is a deeper meaning in what he says. It’s like, in some bizarre way, he’s the person you would want to talk to if you had problems in your life. He’ll make you feel like shit but you’ll learn something about yourself from him. This is just one element that signifies the greatness of the Clerks plotline and the character of Randall. I would go as far to say that Randall was the unaccredited voice for the movie and the generation it influenced.

Action (N/A): Does roller blade hockey on top of a roof count for anything? Or how about fighting with your best friend in the convenience store?

Acting & Dialogue (A): “My love for you is like a truck, BERZERKER! Would you like some making fuck, BERZERKER!” “Did he just say “making fuck”? There are countless quotes such as this which makes Clerks an amazingly funny and highly creative film. As I said above, this film did not star any well known actor. Each person was as green as the weed Jay and Silent Bob sold in front of the store but they all provided one of the best performances of their careers. Speaking of Jay and Silent Bob who could ever forget their performances, granted Kevin Smith had only one line. However, it was really Jason Mewes’ Jay whose vulgarity and random bursts of nonsense who elevated this film to another level. If you don’t know what I mean take a look at these two separate quotes of Jay:

“I feel good today, Silent Bob, we're gonna make some money, then you know what we're going to do? We're gonna go to that party, we're gonna get some pussy, and I'm gonna fuck this bitch, I'ma fuck this bitch, I'll fuck ANYTHING THAT MOVES! Yo, what the fuck you lookin' at, I'll kick your fuckin' ass! Shit yeah. Doesn't that fucker owe me 10 bucks? You know, fuckin' tonight, we're gonna rip off this fucker's head, and take out his fuckin' soul. Remind me if he tries to buy something, I'm gonna shit in the motherfucker's bag. Hey, what's up baby? What's up, sluts?”


“Yeah. Silent Bob, you’re a rude motherfucker, you know that? But you're cute as hell. I could go down on you, suck you, line up three other guys, make like a circus seal. Ewww, you fucking faggot, I hate guys. I LOVE WOMEN!”

See what I mean. Underneath the clever and comedic commentary lies the genius writing of Kevin Smith. I don’t know what was adlibbed and what was actually wrote but it all made sense. The dialogue in Clerks is the most integral part of the film. For the most part, the story focuses on Dante and Randall. We see how they engage in deep conversations about a variety of things but they’re all interesting. Whether its Dante’s personal life, Star Wars, or work everything is connected.

Sex Appeal (N/A): “37! My girlfriend sucked 37 dicks!”

Director (A): Clerks was Kevin Smith’s first real directing gig. It was and still is his baby. With barely any money (almost $50,000, more than half was spent on gaining the rights to the songs) Smith made a ground breaking, cult classic which influenced other writers and directors of his time. Smith would go on to create other classics such as Chasing Amy, Mallrats, and Dogma. However, none of them could top the legendary status Clerks immediately attained. A huge fan of movies himself Kevin Smith knew what he was doing from beginning to end and it is clearly visible in his work. In 2006, Smith made Clerks II. Initially, many thought that was a very risky move and would never live up to the first film. While it definitely wasn’t better Clerks II was a worthy sequel which stayed true to the essence and tone of the first film. It brought the characters full circle and Smith was graciously able to put to rest the story that him famous.

Overall: A


  1. Really well written review, MT!

  2. BERZERKER! Thats my favorite part! hahahahaha classic!