Combustible Celluloid
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With: Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Marilyn Ghigliotti, Lisa Spoonauer, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith
Written by: Kevin Smith
Directed by: Kevin Smith
MPAA Rating: R for extensive use of extremely explicit sex-related dialogue
Running Time: 90
Date: 01/01/1994

Clerks (1994)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Customer Nervous

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Buy Clerks: 10th Anniversary Edition on DVD.

Shot in grainy black and white, this low-budget directorial debut explores the difficult relationships between young people. It's not John Cassavetes' Shadows (1959), but what Kevin Smith's Clerks (1994), lacks in subtlety it makes up for in laughs. For its tenth anniversary, Miramax has released an enormous 3-disc box set that comes with, among other things, the film's 92-minute theatrical cut and the 104-minute rough cut. The rough cut looks horrible and doesn't contain much outside of a drastically different ending; so the original is still the one to watch. Brian O'Halloran stars as Dante, a convenience store clerk who agrees to work on his day off. His shift unfolds as one of the worst days ever filmed, complete with a $500 fine for selling cigarettes to a four-year old and a girlfriend having sex with a dead man in a dark bathroom. Writer/director Smith's potty-mouth rings with cool, funky rhythms; it's fun to listen to this film, especially through Dante's more laid-back companions, the video store jockey Randal (Jeff Anderson -- no relation to me) and slackers/drug dealers Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Smith, respectively). Dante's relationship problems provide the movie its anchor and its emotional throughline, but it's the clever talk -- and monologues about Return of the Jedi -- that really hook us.

DVD Details: This three-disc, 10th anniversary set includes the original 92-minute theatrical cut, the classic 1995 commentary track recorded for the laserdisc release, a trivia track, a newly animated "lost scene," a 2001 short film The Flying Car, starring Anderson and O'Halloran, Soul Asylum's "Can't Even Tell" music video, the theatrical trailer, trailers for other Smith films, audition tapes, MTV spots, DVD-Rom features, the 104-minute rough cut with a brand-new commentary track with both audio and video options, a new 90-minute making-of documentary, "Snowball Effect," outtakes from same, "Mae Day: The Crumbling of a Documentary," a short about Smith's first attempt at filmmaking, 10th anniversary Q&A, still photos, Smith's journal, articles and reviews and a 24-page collector's booklet.

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