19 June 2005 | dee.reid
"Clerks." - Period.
In 1994, an ambitious filmmaker named Kevin Smith was left nearly dead-broke by his commitment to his low-budget debut feature, "Clerks." Shot in black & white and filmed in and around a New Jersey convenience store, "Clerks." is genius on celluloid despite little change of scenery, wooden acting (none of the actors are professionals), and a shoe-string budget; it's also pretty damn funny. "Just because they serve you, doesn't me they like you" became an immortal tagline for one of the best independent comedies of all time, which also launched the career of its director. There's nothing PC about this debut feature, and the relentlessly explicit sex-related dialogue got the film its original certificate, the dreaded "NC-17" rating, which was later dropped down to an "R" rating on a successful appeal by the filmmakers; the characters harass their customers, leave the store during the day to tend to personal matters, and hang-out with girlfriends - not the stuff of responsible employees - and definitely NOT something you would see in any Hollywood production today. In an era rife with censorship and political-correctness, "Clerks." would undoubtedly receive the scorn and protests of the fundamental religious Right and Left. The film features Dante (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal (Jeff Anderson), two bored New Jersey convenience store employees who are both called in on a Saturday (Dante is especially upset because it's his day off) and the two break every rule in the book as they meander through the day and encounter all sorts of colorful characters. Throughout the day, Dante complains about about his girlfriend Veronica's (Marilyn Ghigliotti) sex life, Randal shirks his convenience store duties by shooting the breeze with Dante, philosophize about their daily predicaments, play hockey on the roof of the store, and observe unruly and bizarre shoppers. There's little plot but it's pure fun all the way to the ending with plenty of laughs too. But if you're the sensitive type, you should stay as far away from "Clerks." as possible, as the dialogue will certainly make you squirm in your seat. "Clerks." also contains many Smith trademarks including "Star Wars" talk, references to Spielberg movies, comic books and hockey, all qualities of which would do Smith good in his so-called "New Jersey Trilogy." P.S.: Watch out for Smith in his iconic role as Silent Bob with sidekick Jay (Jason Mewes) as they loiter outside the store and hassle customers.