Kevin Smith has delved into action ("Mallrats"), drama ("Chasing Amy") and philosophy ("Dogma") in his Askewniverse, but Clerks, the first film of the series, is still the best.
Shot on a ridiculously low budget, using mostly friends and relatives as the cast and crew (see the line in the credits where "Boom" is credited as "whoever happened to be holding the pole"), "Clerks" is such a great film just because it doesn't try to be more than it is. You get the sense that this movie is in black and white not to be pretentious, but just because it's a prosaic look at prosaic lives.
Kevin Smith's real gift is writing funny, witty dialogue, and that's what carries this film. From Star Wars debates (did the destruction of the second Death Star in "Jedi" cost innocent contractors their lives?) to perfectly serious debates about sex ("Thirty-seven???"), this is the ultimate movie for anyone who's ever been going nowhere and doing nothing. It's a day in the life of the guy working at the corner store, no more, no less. But it's absolutely brilliant.
People either love or hate Kevin Smith movies. Chances are, if you can appreciate the humour of low-brow jokes about pornography as high art, then you'll enjoy "Clerks". His brand of humour isn't for everyone. This is his first film and it's flawed, to be sure. But in my humble opinion, it's still Smith's best.
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