Saturday, June 25, 2011

871. CLERKS (1994)

Running Time: 92 minutes
Directed By: Kevin Smith
Written By: Kevin Smith
Main Cast: Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Marilyn Ghigliotti, Lisa Spoonhauer, Jason Mewes


Seeing as how I came back from a two month hiatus, from this project, a couple of days ago and saw two less than stellar offerings, I decided to give myself a reboot and watch an old favorite of mine - Kevin Smith's "Clerks".

Dante Hicks (O'Halloran) is a convenience store worker who gets called in, on his day off, to man the store. Upon his arrival, the day sets it's own tone by proving that it's going to be a bad one. Before noon Dante must deal with gum, that is stuck in the store shutter locks, a hostile salesman trying to repel customers from buying cigarettes and his nagging girlfriend and her admittance of the number of men she's "been" with. Connected to the Quik Stop convenience store is RST Video and soon our second clerk enters the picture - Randal Graves (Anderson). Randal is someone who doesn't take his job seriously, to say the least, as he spends the majority of his day locking up the video store to visit his friend Dante at the convenience store. Dante, who was only supposed to watch the store until noon, gets stuck there all day and takes some cues from his friend and starts acting a little irresponsible. Dante closes the store to play a scheduled hockey game and later, to attend the funeral of one of he and Randal's former classmates. As Dante progresses through the horrible day, he continually reminds himself (and everyone around him) that he "wasn't even supposed to be here today!"

I remember the day, as if it were yesterday. It was the late 1990s ('98 or '99) and my interest in movies had started to heighten. My brother, who as a child was my passageway into all things cool, started to show me a handful of films that he loved and thought I'd enjoy too. This was the period of time that I got acquainted with a group of movies that would go on to be called some of my favorites over the years. Movies like "Pulp Fiction", "Reservoir Dogs", "Seven", "The Shawshank Redemption" and "Clerks". I remember watching "Clerks" for the first time and busting a gut and being fourteen or fifteen and realizing the genius that was Kevin Smith. I went on to watch all of Smith's films that were released to that date and Kevin Smith has been a favorite of mine ever since...

...Well, I guess I should say, that he's been a favorite person of mine ever since, as I've really soured on his direction choices these days. Even when going back and re-watching some of Smith's other films, I realized that as I grew up, they didn't seem to have that same luster as they used to. Today, I consider myself a fan of Kevin Smith the person, not the director. In fact, I'd even say that "Clerks" may be his best picture, because it was the best effort of a man trying desperately to try and break into the film industry and that once he was in, his work almost immediately began to suffer, because he didn't have the determination factor anymore. Kevin Smith is a funny guy, just watch his "Evening with Kevin Smith" specials, but his films (aside from "Clerks") are no longer favorites of mine and believe it or not, it took me a long time to finally admit that to myself. Anyway...back to "Clerks".

People constantly say it, but it's because it's so true - If I only had the chance to say one good thing about "Clerks", then I'd point to the dialogue and say that it's some of the best I've ever heard. The people in this film (Brian O'Halloran and Jeff Anderson) talk like I talk and have the type of conversations that I could see myself having. These characters are people who could just have easily lived in my town and worked in my town's convenience and video stores. Hell, I worked at a video store when I was seventeen, so to watch a film about a couple of Joe's who hold the same types of jobs that I've held, kind of hits close to home. In fact, you could even say that "Clerks" is a movie that reeks of 1990s - the music, the characters and the setting are very much a part of the 90s culture, as these are the types of guys who existed in that decade. Dante is your typical 90s American male. He bitches about his girlfriend, wears flannel shirts and jeans, plays hockey, works at a dead end job, has goofball friends and lives with his parents, despite his age. I like "Clerks" for the same reason that a person who grew up in the 1970s likes "Saturday Night Fever" or for the same reasons that all the flower children of the 60s went to Woodstock - because it defines my generation and gives me a plethora of things to relate to. And yeah I know, Kevin Smith's generation isn't really my generation, but it's not that far off.

I don't think I will ever not like "Clerks". At this point, for me to admit that "Clerks" is no longer and enjoyable film experience for me, would also be for me to admit that my entire tastes in film have drastically changed and that I, myself, have even changed. I won't have a mid-life crisis when I turn 30 or 40, but instead I'll have a crisis the day I watch "Clerks" and don't laugh anymore or go out of it saying, "You know what, I just don't like it this time around."

RATING: 10/10 Did you expect anything else? As a post thought, I could definitely hear arguments for people who just don't like "Clerks", but like I said, I like it because it's a film that's near and dear to me.


June 24, 2011 10:48pm

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