Friday, January 1, 2016

Movie #345: Clerks

As an aside, I bought a bunch of new movies recently, so it's gonna take a few weeks to get back where we actually were in the lineup.

Clerks is a mid-90s comedy written and directed by Kevin Smith, starring a bunch of people he found in a convenience store. No, actually, Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Marilyn Ghiglotti, Lisa Spoonauer, Jason Mewes, and a bunch of folks playing multiple roles.

Dante (O'Halloran) comes in to work at the Quik-Stop on his day off because someone called in sick and he's a bit of a pushover. He spends the movie dealing with customers and bitching about his life to his friend Randal (Anderson), and waffling between Veronica, the attentive, loving girlfriend he has (Ghiglotti) and Kaitlyn, the passionate but unfaithful girlfriend he broke up with but has been chatting up (Spoonaur).

There's really not much in the way of plot: Basically it's a bunch of monologues and little vignettes with the throughline of Dante whining. He finally decides to hook up with Kaitlyn, and then she winds up having sex with a dead man in the darkened bathroom of the place and riding off, traumatized, in the ambulance. Randal tells Veronica that Dante is getting back with Kaitlyn, Veronica storms off (quite justifiably), Dante and Randal get in a fight and close up shop.

This movie is up there with High Fidelity as a movie I had different reactions to when I saw it the first time than now. I still like it, I still find it funny (mostly), but although I think he's matured since, I think 90s Kevin Smith had some real issues with women and sexuality. I mean, sure, Michelle informs me that there really are guys who freak out when they discover that their girlfriends have sexual histories, but I think the point gets a little belabored with regards to Veronica and her propensity for blowjobs (look, someone who gives and enjoys giving blowjobs is a fucking treasure, and should be given cake, not abuse).

Also, I fucking hate Randal. I admit this is kinda my own issue; Randal reminds me of any number of smarmy "YOU'RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME" fuckers that I knew in the 90s, and that I keep seeing pop up online periodically. Mostly they're 20-somethings, but it's hard to tell nowadays because anonymity extends the smarm. But I really wish that Randal would have learned something during the movie, or connected to someone, or just gotten punched in his stupid face. My favorite moment in the whole movie (as far as he's concerned) is when he tells Kaitlyn that if she breaks Dante's heart, she's dead, because it's the only time we see his flannel ass care about anything. And you know, I'm big on the whole "caring" thing.

I do appreciate, though, that Smith ditched the original ending where Dante gets shot, because jesus. The movie is already somewhat bleak, but that's over the top.

My Grade: B
Rewatch value: Medium-high. It's quick and snappy.

Next up: Dr. Stranglove, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb