Combustible Celluloid Review - Clerks (1994), Kevin Smith, Kevin Smith, Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Marilyn Ghigliotti, Lisa Spoonauer, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith
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: 12/31/1993

Clerks (1994)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Customer Nervous

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

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. 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 dialogue 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.

For its tenth anniversary, Miramax has released an enormous 3-disc DVD 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.

The set also includes the classic 1995 commentary track recorded for the laserdisc release, a brand-new commentary track with both audio and video options for the 104-minute rough cut, 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, 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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