"Clerks is one of the funniest and most vulgar movies ever made!"
What can be said about the 1994 film Clerks. For me, this is not only a very entertaining film, albeit vulgar as hell, but it is also quite the Cinderella Story (or CinderFella, as it may be in this case). As I've mentioned on more than one occasion, Kevin Smith, the all out creator of Clerks, happens to be one of my favorite writer/directors, and this dirty and edgy little film is exactly why.
Why Cinderella you ask? Kevin Smith's first film is a wonderful depiction of the Cinderella tale because he did whatever he desperately could to get it made. He was actually working as a manager/clerk at the primary location for the film - the Quick Stop and RST Video in Leonardo, NJ. After returning from a Canadian Film School (which he cut short in order to make his first film) he got permission from the woman who owned the Quick Stop to allow him to film in the store at night, when it was normally closed. Using everything he could from his clerk experiences there, he wrote the now legendary script for Clerks.
He put together what can only be described as a "rag tag" cast and crew of unlikely movie stars, and began the grueling schedule of working all day at the store, blacking out all the windows, and filming scenes all night. In order to purchase the needed film stock and developing (the number one impediment to all filmmaking) he actually cashed in a number of credit cards (using his "Managerial" status at the store to full effect) to the tune of twenty seven thousand dollars. Yes folks, this is indeed the story of a man who produced a feature length film with credit cards. I really admire Keven Smith for doing this. I think many of us would love to have this kind of drive and courage to put everything mundane and usual in our lives aside, and just get something we love accomplished like this. Mr. Smith did it, and as I've said he propelled himself into true filmmaker status, with a flair for verbose dialogue creation.
Dante Hicks Bored at the Quick Stop in CLERKS
The film itself is very spartan by nature. Shot in black and white both for economical reasons as well as to avoid the extra worries about color matching, this movie takes place solely at the Quick Stop and RST Video establishment. The lion's share of scenes occur in the Quick Stop, obviously dealing with insane customer interactions one after the other. In between customers the crazy little love story develops, having to do with the main character Dante Hicks. He's called in to the store on a day off, in fact a day "he was supposed to play hockey" on, and he's very unhappy about this throughout the story. One of the very lovable mantras of this film is Dante's constant proclamation that "I'm not even supposed to BE here today!" In my opinion, this could have made a wonderful alternative slugline for the film.
After reporting reluctantly but dutifully to the store, Dante endeavors to prepare the store for the morning rush - coffee, newspapers, opening the anti-theft doors. Only some "savage" has put gum in the locks, making it impossible to allow the actual light of day into the tiny convenience haven. (In actuality, this is a case of Kevin Smith calling upon "the pen is mightier than the sword" and simply writing himself out of a significant location issue. Using the store at night to film as he was allowed to, there would obviously BE no light, so the filming had to occur in a blackened little store - hence the need for gum in the locks to motivate the situation.)
The Original Movie Poster for CLERKS
Now locked in to the humdrum routine he's accustomed to, Dante settles in for the monotony he's expecting, only to be drawn into one small insanity after another. Once his cohort in crime finally appears (and late, of course) things step into crazy high gear. I'm speaking of course of Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson, a friend from Kevin's High School years). Randal is quite the slacker character, complete with his trademark wrangling. The dialogue between Randal and Dante is exactly what makes this movie unique and interesting. They're very typical of what folks in this type of work would be chatting about, although pushed up a bit for enterainment value.
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