Clerks is probably one of the most successful bad movies ever. It also has a special place in my heart.
Written and directed by Kevin Smith, Clerks was filmed on a miniscule budget. Basically Kevin racked up a number of credit cards to the tune of $26,000 and decided to make this home movie. It shows as well. The acting is horrid and the cinemetography is cheap, but the movie's dialogue is so damn funny you can't help but laugh out loud.
The movie centers around two twenty-something clerks Dante and Randall. Dante works in a convenience store while his buddy Randall is a cashier at the video store next door. Dante is called into work on his day off to which he reminds everyone of this fact. Everything goes wrong for Dante that day as the store's windows locks are jammed with gum, a customer gets his hand stuck in a Pringles can, his girlfriend announces that she's gone down on 37 people, and his ex-girlfriend inadvertently has sex with a dead guy in the bathroom of the store.
Randall, who's the stereotypical smartass video store clerk, doesn't help matters for Dante; however Dante never takes into account that this horrid day didn't happen to him, but really it's because of the choices he makes in life. Randall constantly harasses the customers much to Dante's dismay.
The story is also fueled by Jay and Silent Bob (Smith) who stand outside the store, deal drugs, and constantly harass the clerks with juvenile humor. Jay often lays out large monologues dedicated to eating pussy, fighting, and tokin. His humor is borderline offensive, but his childlike naive sense always has me rolling. Silent Bob stands next to Jay as his loyal but mute sidekick. He's a hell of a dancer though.
For all the movie's faults the savior is the witty writing. While the acting wasn't good at all I found the script really reflected how young people talked, or at least my friends did. It also helps that I was a video store clerk and hearing the stupid customer speech by Randall hit home. Like Randall I got the questions "Do you have that movie with that one guy in it?" and "Is this movie any good?" How these people expected me to answer those I don't know.
The movie launched Kevin Smith into cult stardom and he's made actual big budget movies since. Some are good (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back), some are okay (Dogma), but my favorite of his works will always be Chasing Amy, one of my favorite romantic comedies of all time.
"It's incredibly flattering, and really ironic. I grew up quoting Fletch and Raising Arizona, and now people quote the flicks I've done back to me. Weird, but nice." -Kevin Smith