Clerks (1994)

Do Over: EYG Sunday Morning Revisit Week 10

I watched Clerks when I was younger, but I can honestly say that I remembered almost nothing about the movie. I remember the hockey on the roof, the black and white filming, and that Jay and Silent Bob were in it. Other than that, Clerks was a big blank slate in my memory.

I have become a big Kevin Smith fan, though I have not always enjoyed his movies. Watching his podcast Fatman Beyond is always a great time and, from watching, I knew that he had been working on Clerks 3 and that it will be released this year some time. So I decided that I should probably give the previous Clerks movies a Do Over before I watch Clerks 3.

A convenience store clerk Dante (Brian O’Halloran) gets called in to work on his day off and he deals with all sorts of craziness with his friend and fellow clerk from the neighboring video store Randal (Jeff Anderson), his current girlfriend (Marilyn Ghigliotti), and his former girlfriend Caitlin (Lisa Spoonauer).

There is not much narrative structure, but that is what was intended with this film, which is a series of incidents and the way in which it affected Dante. Dante’s constant complaint that he “wasn’t supposed to be here” was the rally cry for Dante’s continually downward spiral of a day.

The dialogue of Clerks is absolutely the selling point of the film. It is, at times, vulgar, reflective, combative, depressing, hopeful, but at all time hilarious. The fast-paced, fast-witted dialogue sparked each bizarre scene with a burst of energy that creates a remarkably entertaining film.

Randal, the consistently badly behaved and poor influence, seemed to have the key to encouraging Dante to do things that he wouldn’t normally do. Randal does it in such a deadpan manner that he feels more like the devil-on-the-shoulder than a friend to Dante.

Jay (Jay Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) start their run of appearances here as the film kept coming back to see them in a series of weird moments (almost vignettes) of the pair dancing to music or doing other juvenile activities.

As with a lot of Kevin Smith movies, there are plenty of references to drugs and sex, but it all seemed to be stream of consciousness for the misbehaving duo.

The black and white shots made this feel so much more classic than just a couple of losers talking about their failing existences. It gave the film a distinct feel and was a fascinating choice.

This was very original and you could see how this helped launch the career of Kevin Smith. Next week we will look at Clerks 2.

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