15 October 2006 | MaxBorg89
A witty, hilariously profane cult picture
Clerks is one of those movies everyone knows everything about even before they've seen it. The most fascinating aspect is probably the back-story: Kevin Smith sold his comic-book collection to finance it, shot it in the convenience store where he was working at the time, and cast his school friends in the various roles (two of them wound up playing three or four characters each). The film became a huge hit at Sundance, and is now widely (and justly) considered one of the best independent movies of all time.
The plot is quite easy to sum up: nothing happens. It's just a "regular" day in the lives of a few people working in or outside a Quick Stop convenience store. The fun starts immediately, as Dante Hicks (Brian O'Halloran) is asked to replace a sick colleague. This upsets him a lot, since it's supposed to be his day off ("You know what the worst part is? I'm not even supposed to BE here today!"). So now he has to serve a bunch of rather annoying or excessively weird people, with occasional help from his friend Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson), who "works" in the video store next to Quick Stop. Together, they discuss things like hermaphroditic porn or, Tarantino-style, which Star Wars sequel is better (Jedi or Empire?), and also try to find ways of not working, or at least make the day less boring (as Randal puts it:"This job would be great if it wasn't for the f**king customers"). Between these discussions, they also interact with Dante's present girlfriend Veronica (whose sex life causes heated debates) and ex Caitlin, who's apparently engaged to some Asian design major. And let's not forget Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith himself), two drug dealers consistently located outside the store.
Smith uses these characters to reference his favorite movies (the previously mentioned Star Wars, as well as Jaws and Indiana Jones) and talk about any subject in the filthiest way imaginable. Some incredibly outrageous stuff is mentioned ("jizz moppers", necrophilia, "snowballing"), but unlike John Waters, he never shows the events discussed by Dante, Randal et al. Everything occurs, or has occurred, off-screen, so all we get to do is have a good laugh, because no matter how crude it gets (the film is rated R for "Extensive Use Of Extremely Explicit Sex-Related Dialogue"), Smith's writing remains genuinely funny. Randal, in particular, steals every scene with his existential musings ("I'm a firm believer in the philosophy of a ruling class. Especially since I rule.") or very politically incorrect antics (the top? Reading a list of pornographic flicks in front of a mother and her baby).
If you haven't seen it yet, do it, and fast: Clerks fully deserves its cult status. It has priceless dialogue, wisecracking characters and loads of swearing. What else can you ask for?