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  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

Clerks (1994) - When Less is More: Black, White, and Funny All Over

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5 Stars)

Released 10-23-1994

Watched 05-04-2024

Reviewed 05-08-2024

Purchased from iTunes

"You know what the real tragedy about all this is? I'm not even supposed to be here today!"

Kevin Smith's debut film, "Clerks" (1994), is an unapologetic and unfiltered look into the day-to-day drudgery of two store workers. It stands as a testament to what can be achieved with a minuscule budget and a surplus of creativity. Shot entirely in black and white, the film's aesthetic complements its raw, slice-of-life storytelling, turning what could have been a limitation into a stylistic triumph.

"I hope it feels so good to be right. There's nothing more exhilarating than pointing out the shortcomings of others, is there?"

"Clerks" is heavily reliant on its sharp, witty dialogue to drive the narrative—a bold move that pays off by delivering a comedic experience that is as intellectually engaging as it is humorous. The script is filled with rapid-fire exchanges that tackle everything from relationship woes to the mundane absurdities of retail work. This dialogue-heavy approach might not cater to all tastes, but for those who appreciate clever banter and a more cerebral kind of humor, "Clerks" is a masterpiece.

"About the biggest pair you ever seen, dingleberry!"

The film’s humor is certainly not universal; it’s rife with off-color comedy and explicit language that might not sit well with every viewer. However, for fans of Kevin Smith's unique voice, these elements are exactly what make the film so beloved. The authenticity and relatability of the conversations between Dante (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal (Jeff Anderson) resonate deeply with anyone who has ever felt stuck in a seemingly dead-end job.

"What do mean there's no ice? You mean I gotta drink this coffee hot?"

One of the most compelling reasons to watch "Clerks" multiple times is to appreciate the layered humor and subtle references that are easy to miss on a first viewing. With each watch, new jokes and insights emerge, making the film an enduring favorite for its fans. The characters, while initially seeming like everyday slackers, are written with depth and nuance, and their philosophical musings are both amusing and thought-provoking.

"Bunch of savages in this town."

Moreover, "Clerks" introduced audiences to the View Askewniverse, Smith’s interconnected world of characters and stories, adding an element of cult status to the film. Fans delight in spotting connections and easter eggs that link forward to Smith's other works, enhancing the viewing experience.

"I'm a disturbance? You're a disturbance, pal!"

In conclusion, "Clerks" is not just a film but a cultural artifact of the '90s indie film movement, showcasing Kevin Smith's raw talent and his ability to create something timeless and influential on a shoestring budget. It’s a film that rewards its audience with each subsequent viewing, deepening their appreciation for its craft and subtleties.

"Hey, you get back here..."

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