Review of Clerks. (1994)

2 Nov

Clerks. (1994) is a low-budget comedy film, which jump started Kevin Smith’s career as a filmmaker.

Directed by Kevin Smith (Dogma (1999), Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008)), who also appears in the movie as Silent Bob.

Written also by Kevin Smith (Mallrats (1995), Jersey Girl (2004)).

Starring: Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Marilyn Ghigliotti, Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes  and others.

Kevin Smith is basically every filmgeek’s „american dream” sort of story, where a guy makes a movie by scraping together 27,000 dollars and  then earning a couple of millions, which opened him the doors to make whatever he wants. So Kevin Smith really lucked out since he sold a lot of his possessions, maxed out credit cards, spent college funds and other reckless things, which he might have had to regret, but instead he basically bought a career. His commitment is quite admirable. And that’s how I feel about him, I think he’s a cool guy and really passionate for movies and so on, but I don’t consider him a great director. I liked Jay And Silent Bob Strikes Back and Dogma , I thought Zack And Miri Make A Porno  was ok, I thought Jersey Girl and Cop Out were watchable, but there’s never anything I care much about in his directing style, on the other hand I must say I do think he is a great writer.

Ok, now about the movie.  It is shot entirely in Black & White, mostly due to the lighting issues caused by the budgetary restraints, but it sort of adds to its minimalist approach, so that is a plus, even though at times makes it feel like an artsy (which it is not) college student film (which it kind of is). But there’s a lot I can forgive low-budget/amateur films. Like at times I thought the editing was slow, scenes often seem to linger for a second too long.

Brian O’Halloran does an ok job as Dante, but I found Jeff Anderson’s line delivery really unnatural, some of the other actors also do a pretty bad job, making their characters more like caricatures, but it is understandable since most of the cast was just Kevin Smith’s friends and acquaintances. Oh, Mewes and Smith as Jay and Bob are pretty good and this is the first time you’re introduced to these characters.

Although the movie has gained like a cult-following, I don’t think it actually is that great, even Kevin Smith himself admitted that the film has been over-praised. While the writing is what carries this film, the whole thing is actually a bit messy, constantly having these weird scenes that contribute nothing to the story, although they often are quite amusing, they are sadly totally pointless.

In the midst of all these comedies with rehashed plots just to tie together some gags and unfunny jokes, it is nice to see a comedy that is based on just witty dialogue and dark humor, even though the delivery isn’t that great. Also it was made in a time when Star Wars jokes were still funny and people hadn’t experienced the horror of Phantom Menace and George Lucas’ full creative control.

I can’t believe that the movie originally received an NC-17 rating, based on just the crude dialogue.

Anyone who has ever worked in a convenience store or something similar (I have) will find the jokes about the stupid customers and the apathetic clerks quite enjoyable and relatable.

It has its high and low points, pretty enjoyable for what it is, but I wouldn’t call it a great film (although it is a great low-budget first film). But regardless of its flaws I would recommend it, however mostly to filmgeeks, I guess.

"You know what, Jay? I've decided that after this movie I'm gonna get fat."

3 Responses to “Review of Clerks. (1994)”

  1. leerobertadams November 2, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    Yeah, I agree – it was kind of cool at the time, particularly if you were of the age to be impressed by low budget indie flicks with lots of crude conversations & Star Wars it’s dated horribly and it’s hard to see what the fuss was about!

  2. Aloha Mister Hand April 4, 2012 at 12:23 am #

    Pretty good flick, cuz I love Kevin Smith immensely, but I liked the sequel a lot more! 🙂

    • karlails April 4, 2012 at 11:21 am #

      I also liked the sequel better and I like Kevin Smith as a personality, but his movies aren’t always that great.

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