Tuesday, April 9, 2013

(Longer Than) A Week of Kevin Smith, Part Eight - "Clerks."

Whoops! Kind of got caught in the whirlwind of life there, as well as finding myself questioning my last few reviews here. Sorry this took longer than it was supposed to, but between my mother's great news about her health and the fact that at any one time I'm taking on way too many projects, these Kevin Smith reviews got lost in the tempest.

A shame really, because I do love Kevin Smith, and he deserves better. So, without distracting fanfare, let's just jump right back into the reviews, shall we? Let's do so with:




Clerks.

I think this one is still one of his most beloved films. It's crass. Unapologetic. Honest. Gritty. Yet, it's almost about nothing. It's iconic. While there are many a film snob out there that might dismiss it today, especially with the ease with which one might make a movie of this scale, it was never the technical side of things that made Clerks. wonderful. It was the heart of the movie, and the characters, that made this film so memorable.

It used language (and I don't just mean cursing) that spoke to a generation before other movies really started doing the same. Kevin Smith made a movie the way most movies should be made; he spoke from his heart, and the let the story be true to itself.

The only time he deviated in the film was with something that ultimately didn't end up in the film at all; the infamous alternate ending, where Dante is shot dead. This ending feels like it's trying too hard to be indie fare, when the way the movie ends now is really the perfect punctuation mark to the movie about how a day in the normal life of a nobody often does end in such a non-emphatic fashion. Just like the period at the end of the title. It's there. It works.

I could talk about the negatives of the technical side of this film. But what's the point? We all know it looks bad. But look, he shot it with what he had. If he were doing this today, it would be shot on DSLR's, and you would get a healthy mix of people arguing over whether or not it looks good. I think the people who argue over that kind of stuff are missing the bigger picture here. It really doesn't matter. As long as the look of the film fits the tone, either by matching it or contrasting with it, then the look doesn't have to be crisp or expensive.

The sound is something I would complain about on this film, but like the look, they sort of accidentally stumbled into something that fits the movie as a whole. And that's fine. George Lucas was lucky enough to be able to edit the original Star Wars into a good movie. And, while many of fanboy will probably disagree with me, Kevin Smith has a better track record for making good movies. I would much rather watch Jersey Girl than Episode II.

While Clerks. isn't my favorite Smith film, I've loved it since the first time I watched it. It spoke to my friends and me in ways that many films couldn't. Yes, it shows it's technical limitations. Yeah, the clothing really places its era. But the general aesthetic of the movie and how it plays along with the tone and the atmosphere makes me forget all that. It stands the test of time and, for a movie about two very unmotivated guys, it still has an odd level poignancy.

5/5

Brit W.

10. Jersey Girl
9. Cop Out
8. Dogma
7. Zack and Miri Make a Porno
6. Mallrats
5. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
4. Chasing Amy
3. Clerks
2. ?
1. ?

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