I might be the only person who discovered Clerks through it’s short-lived cartoon series. Well, I guess that’s not true, when I was little I distinctly remember the trailer on VHS tapes. The ‘salsa shark’ was an unforgettable moment for me but I was confused as a kid. ‘This movie seems new, why is it in black & white?’
That was basically the extent of my knowledge of this film. In late May 2000 however I saw the first two episodes of the Clerks animated series. It was hilarious and weird so when I was going to sleep over at my friend Jesse’s house I convinced him to rent Clerks.
There are two more movies left in the list, and each film I’m going to use the phrase ‘It changed my life’, but Clerks was the first ever life changing movie for me. In 24 hours I watched Clerks four times. Within a week I had memorized the entire movie and listened to the soundtrack non-stop (which I discussed previously). It made me want to make movies more than anything else before. Over the years I’ve learned I was not alone.
What is it about this movie that caused so many people to become film makers? I think it’s because beyond being a really funny comedy, it’s sincere and honest to how people talked and acted in the 90’s (and still today to an extent). Kevin Smith’s pulse on society may have slipped a bit but that shouldn’t take away from his earlier accomplishments.
Clerks is a simple concept. Employees of a video store and grocery store slack off and work and crazy things happen. The film is just a back-drop for Smith to write conversations around things he cares about (sex, comics, movies, etc). For good or bad it inspired tons of young filmmakers, myself included.