Home > Uncategorized > Sunday Screening #37 (in a row?): Clerks

Sunday Screening #37 (in a row?): Clerks

I know the number 37 has a lot of connection to movies (here’s a list http://magliery.com/37/movies.html ) but I think the number will always remind me of the Kevin Smith film Clerks. Whether you want to admit it or not Kevin Smith was part of a change to filmmaking. Along with Richard Linklater and Robert Rodriguez (who live in my town) a new era of low-budget DIY filmmaking was brought to the forefront. This movie along with Mallrats will always have a special place in my heart. When I first saw them on VHS I worked at a Convenience Store and drove a Volkswagen. I really enjoyed the sequel, and am saddened that Kevin Smith has decided to quit filmmaking after his forthcoming Hockey film (which is going to be 2 films). I’d really like to see where Dante, Randall, Silent Bob, and Jay end up another 10 or so years down the road.

So this week we watch a film that is not necessarily on any of the “Greatest X of all time…” lists, but is a movie that I still love.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. October 9, 2011 at 4:40 PM

    So Clerks…it’s getting close to being 20 years old and I don’t know if it was more my frame of mind, or that the movie isn’t ageing all that gracefully, but it was a bit of a rough watch. Might be partially because I saw Evil Dead last night at midnight, and that movie held up EXTREMELY well (and it was awesome to finally see it on the big screen).

    I used to be a pretty big Kevin Smith fan, maybe a bit too much so, but over the last couple of years my fandom has waned some. I still have enjoyed his films, I just am not as excited for them as I once was. I am really excited to see Red State at some point in the not too distant future. Like I mentioned in the post announcing the film I first saw Clerks as part of a VHS double feature back in the mid-nineties. My friend James had both of them and we watched them (I believe out of order). The films really spoke to me. This was way before I even had any desire to work in film (although as that seed sprouted, I definitely looked up to Kevin, Robert Rodriguez and Richard Linklater who all made their first features on a small self-financed budget).

    I still very much connected to Dante and his plight (the whole not supposed to be there today thing, and the girl issues). I think I can tend to be the inactive protagonist in my own life and just not push to change the things I want changed much like he does (although I’ve never shit myself rather then lift the toilet lid, not even as a child). It’s also worth noting that the cast were all volunteers and many had little to no experience acting (which sometimes is more obvious then others). This film has it’s issues, and I am interested to see what everyone else thinks about it.

  2. October 10, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    I came to the Kevin Smith Party late. I didn’t see Dogma until I was in college (it was one of the first DVDs I ever owned and for a while, the only Kevin Smith movie I ever saw). When I finally got around to seeing Clerks, I did not care for it. There was some stuff to like to be sure, but I hated spending time with Randal and Dante.

    Truth-be-told, I’m trying to get ahead of the game on my horror write-ups because I have friends visiting from an extended weekend so I didn’t take the time to re-watch Clerks. Given that Paul didn’t think it held up too well and that I never thought that it held up well, I’m not sure I’m upset about that.

    I’ve never been a huge fan of Smith’s. I like Dogma for a while. Suddenly, upon re-watching it for the sixth or seventh time, it wasn’t funny anymore and all I could see was the movie preaching to me. It’s like Smith was sermonizing and I turned on it forever. Mallrats is sappy and annoying. Jay and Silent Bob Strike back is amusing but forgettable. Chasing Amy is my favorite, though I haven’t revisited it in a while. Even though I don’t really like the movies, I still own most of them because I blind-bought them while they were on sale for about $5 (all at separate times).

    Now Smith is a curmudgeon who lambasts critics even though it was critics who helped elevate him when Clerks came out. He’s a prickly personality who I’ve lost a lot of respect for over the years. Say what you will about his movies (and I do), the man made them his way. Now, everything has to be an attack on everyone else. I’ll see Red State when it comes out, but I don’t have high hopes for it.

    • October 12, 2011 at 9:10 AM

      I don’t know that I actually think it was all the film’s fault that it didn’t seem to hold up. But I’m not 100% sure. I actually watched it about a year ago and was happier with it then, might have just been my mood/attitude that was affecting it this time.

      What exactly did you not like about Randal and Dante? Did you ever give Clerks 2 a shot?

      I think Dogma (along with Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back) are my least favourite Kevin Smith films. Not that I dislike them, they just aren’t films that I think are as good.

      I really didn’t like the whole “bidding” process that Kevin did with Red State, I think he was being a bit of a media whore. I do look forward to seeing that film, as the trailer really has me sold. I will also await his final (two) film(s) seeing as they are about hockey, and I love hockey.

      • October 12, 2011 at 5:14 PM

        I really didn’t care for Clerks so I never had any interest in Clerks 2. I don’t like Randal and Dante primarily because I think the guys who portray them are terrible actors. Maybe if that wasn’t the case I’d be more inclined to like them. And you can give me the “they aren’t professional” stuff, but that’s all part of making a movie at any level. I’ve seen plenty of low-budget films with good acting.

      • October 13, 2011 at 3:20 PM

        I haven’t seen Clerks 2, but I got the impression it’s more broadly entertaining (at least that’s how they appeared to be marketing it)…Paul, do you think one would have to really enjoy the first movie to like the sequel, or does it stand on its own?

        • October 13, 2011 at 3:28 PM

          I would have to say I think it could stand on its own, but having seen the original would make it better. Clerks is very much about being out of High School working the kinds of jobs people get right out of High School. As my life was similar to the characters I really identified with that. Clerks 2 is about the same two guys, who really hadn’t moved up in the world very much. They are still struggling to figure out what life will become for them (writing that makes it feel a little depressing, although I have to admit I am kind of in the same boat (although I don’t work at a fast food restaurant (although I might be happier if I did))). Seeing as the movie is a continuation of characters from the prior films you’ll ‘get’ more out of it having seen them, but it isn’t necessary.

          I really don’t think the acting was that bad. Especially by Brian and Jeff (not saying they are great, or even very good). Some of the bit-parts are pretty horrendous, but I wouldn’t say any of the acting is so bad as to make the movie unenjoyable.

  3. October 11, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    I don’t consider myself a big Kevin Smith fan. I appreciate that he tries to do something different with his raunchy comedies; namely, present interesting, offbeat characters and focus obsessively on dialogue. I don’t mind the characters ranting so much in his films, mostly because the actors seem to be enjoying it so much. Dogma I liked, Chasing Amy I liked more, Mallrats was OK.

    Clerks I feel like is an interesting start to a career that got better as these other films were made. Its overall roughness makes it feel more personal and authentic than other comedies, but also makes it feel a little plain and tiresome. Randal and Dante I’ve never completely warmed up to, but again, I appreciate the efforts that Smith made with these characters more than enjoy them. Jay and Silent Bob I’ve found amusing at times, very annoying at others, in all the films I’ve seen them in.

    I’m a big fan of Jason Lee, and like that he shows up in Kevin Smith films beginning with Mallrats…maybe if he appeared in Clerks I’d have a stronger positive association with it. Really, I’m just OK with Clerks, but it never made a big impact on me.

    I’m sounding a little slacker-ish with my opinion of this film…and maybe that’s ultimately a tribute to Clerks? Anybody buying that?

    • October 12, 2011 at 9:12 AM

      Yeah, maybe this wasn’t a good choice as there really isn’t a whole lot to be said about the film. Kevin Smith’s visual ineptness is at its greatest. There really isn’t a very good plot per se.

      But I’ll always have a bit of a soft spot for it and the other Smith films.

    • October 12, 2011 at 5:17 PM

      I’m not a fan of Smith’s dialogue. I find he’s a bit too in love with it (much like Tarantino). Yes, people say “fuck” but that doesn’t mean everyone says it all the time. And his way of referencing stuff is less than elegant to me. Of course, I hold Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg as the beacon of how to make references in organic ways, so it’s not entirely fair to compare Smith to them.

      • October 13, 2011 at 3:22 PM

        That’s a good point that the references aren’t really organic. It’s a bit like movies where characters simply state the themes to each other, without the story really illustrating the themes (which bugs me).

  4. Lisa
    October 21, 2011 at 1:32 PM

    Hey everybody.
    So, I’ll just jump right in. I first time I watched Clerks was a few years ago, after I had already seen some other Kevin smith films. It’s not one of my favorites, but I enjoyed it. I have to say, this viewing, it was unique.

    I don’t know if I’ll ever really be able to watch this movie objectively. I used to live in New Jersey in the late 80s-early 90s. (My dad was stationed at the Army base, Ft. Mammoth.) I was there during the time this film was made (relatively) and knew these types of people. My sister was friends with these types of people. So, for me, watching Clerks is like getting a visual of the people I used to know.
    It also doesn’t help that my sister would always go into a conversation about knowing these people when we talked about the film.

    But, what I can say, is that I actually appreciated Dante’s character. Sometimes you just don’t know what to do, or where you are, and when you need someone to talk about it with, you have that asshole friend.

    I didn’t mind the acting, so much, because I don’t think that’s what this was about. It was a movie about “shut up and make your film.” I appreciated what he did for filmmaking, same with Rodriguez and Linklater (in which the latter is the best/strongest in my opinion, except El Mariachi was the best first movie out of the three), and like how all of his stuff is what he wants to do (or seems that way).

    As for Jay and Silent Bob, I enjoyed their characters, and bit players, but never really got on board with them being leads. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, didn’t need to be made. I think Dogma would of been better with another set of leads. Side note: I went to mass at the church in Dogma, beautiful, and remember the street and shops that the church was on. That was a weird thing seeing the church I went to on film. Clerks 2, wasn’t too bad, but more novel than anything. I like my favorite Smith movies, which I would have to compare again, are Chasing Amy and Mallrats.

    And Nate, Edgar and Simon are the bomb!

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