Clerks

Clerks

3.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5

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Cheap, touching, and downright nasty, Kevin Smith’s first feature still remains the ultimate cinematic tribute to slackers (all apologies to Linklater, though it should probably be said that he was trying to sum up a cultural non-movement as opposed to chronicling the mores of these post-high school wasters, who exist outside of time). When it was first released in 1994, Clerks was one of those epochal fringe movies that comes along one or two times a decade and just hits a nerve. Ten years later, it’s aged surprisingly well (though still not quite as funny as some would have it) and is actually much more palatable, given how it fits into Smith’s whole elaborate alternate Jerseyverse. The story is thin, basically a contrivance that allowed Smith to shoot something in the place he was working at the time. Dante (Brian O’Halloran) gets called in at the crack of dawn on his day off to man the register at a crappy little convenience store and repeats to everybody who will listen, “I’m not even supposed to be here today!” As the day progresses, Dante deals with psychotic customers, a jealous current girlfriend, an alluring ex-girlfriend, cigarette-buying kids, Jay and Silent Bob, a stiff in the bathroom, and a running argument with his buddy Randall (Jeff Anderson), who works in the even-crappier video store next door. Although these aren’t guys anybody would really want to emulate—Dante being essentially a self-martyring whiner and Randal an antagonistic boob—Smith makes them into a fairly entertaining duo and easy enough company for an hour and a half. Even though a lot gets packed into this one day, you still get the feeling that nothing is really going to change with these guys. Although Dante and Randal seem to think they’re just killing time until something better comes along, the knowledge that this bottom-rung wage-slave life is eventually going to swallow them whole lurks behind all the potty humor, Star Wars references, and unintentional necrophilia.

Image/Sound

There's no getting around it: Clerks looks like shit. And though I don't have a DVD copy of the film to compare, the upgrade to high-definition seems not to have done the film any favors. The "improvement" in clarity brightens the image some, but it also brings out the grain to such a degree that nearly every character movement is smeared and blurred behind the wall of noise. Clerks was never going to look good, but it maybe should have stayed in standard-def, where it could retain some ugly charm. Sound is probably about as good as it can get, though still not good enough to hide how terrible these actors are.

Extras

The appeal of Clerks has always been completely lost on me, but even I'm struck by this disc's lineup of extras, many of which have been carried over from the impressive 10th-anniversary DVD of the film. The disc includes two versions of the film (the theatrical cut and the even rougher-looking "first cut," which retains the eventually excised ending in which Dante is shot to death by a robber), each of which has its own audio commentary. There are a number of behind-the-scenes featurettes, as well as deleted scenes, outtakes, audition footage, Q&A's, and more. Features exclusive to the 15th Anniversary Edition include a new introduction to the film by Kevin Smith, and for some reason a making-of documentary for Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.

Overall

The extras are sweet, but Clerks's low-budget ugliness is a questionable fit for Blu-ray.

Image 3.5 out of 5 3.5 out of 5 3.5 out of 5 3.5 out of 5 3.5 out of 5

Sound 3.5 out of 5 3.5 out of 5 3.5 out of 5 3.5 out of 5 3.5 out of 5

Extras 3.5 out of 5 3.5 out of 5 3.5 out of 5 3.5 out of 5 3.5 out of 5

Overall 3.5 out of 5 3.5 out of 5 3.5 out of 5 3.5 out of 5 3.5 out of 5

Specifications
  • Blu-ray Disc
  • Dual-Layer Disc
  • Regions A, B, and C
  • Aspect Ratio
  • 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Dolby Digital Formats
  • None
  • DTS
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio Surround
  • Subtitles & Captions
  • English SDH
  • English Subtitles
  • Spanish Subtitles
  • Special Features
  • New Introduction by Kevin Smith
  • "Oh, What a Lovely Tea Party: The Making of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" Featurette
  • Theatrical Version Audio Commentary by Kevin Smith, Scott Mosier, Jason Mewes, Brian O’Halloran and Others
  • Theatrical Version Enhanced Playback Track with Synchronized Trivia and Quotes
  • The First Cut Version
  • The First Cut Audio Commentary by Kevin Smith, Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Scott Mosier and Jason Mewes
  • The First Cut Introduction with Kevin Smith
  • MTV Spots with Jay and Silent Bob
  • Audition Tapes
  • "Clerks: The Lost Scene" Animated Short
  • The Flying Car Short
  • Clerks Restoration
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Soul Asylum "Can’t Even Tell" Music Video
  • "Snowball Effect: The Story of Clerks" Featurette
  • "May Dae: The Crumbling of a Documentary" Featurette with Intro by Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier
  • "The Snowball Effect" Outtakes
  • 10th Anniversary Q&A
  • Buy
    Blu-ray | Soundtrack
    Release Date
    November 17, 2009
    Distributor
    Buena Vista Home Entertainment
    Runtime
    92 min
    Rating
    R
    Year
    1994
    Director
    Kevin Smith
    Screenwriter
    Kevin Smith
    Cast
    Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Marilyn Ghigliotti, Lisa Spoonhauer, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Scott Mosier