It’s been twenty years since Kevin Smith’s low-budget debut film Clerks received a limited cinematic run in the states.
Where does the time go? It really doesn’t seem that long ago that I received a copy of the Clerks X anniversary edition DVD almost a decade after buying the VHS in the Maidstone branch of long defunct retailer Our Price. With the tagline ‘Just because they serve you, doesn’t mean they like you’, Kevin Smith’s black and white indie movie caught the imagination of critics and film fans alike upon release in October 1994. Twenty years on and Smith’s tremendously loyal fan base has grown exponentially and eagerly await a third installment of the Clerks saga.
Famously Smith raised the $27,000 budget to make Clerks by taking a loan from his mother, selling his comic book collection and borrowing heavily on his credit cards. Ultimately the gamble paid off paving the way for a moderately successful career and a move to Hollywood. Subsequent films populated his View Askewinverse with Smith’s own character Silent Bob and Jason Mewes’ Jay (Based very much on the man himself) stealing the show in Mallrats, Chasing Amy and Dogma before taking centre stage in their own feature Jay & Silent Bob Strikes Back.
Whilst Smith’s fan base remains incredibly loyal, affording him the assurance of a guaranteed audience for his tight-budget films, opportunities to break into the A-list of Hollywood directors have often fallen below standard with the much criticised Jersey Girl starring Ben Affleck, alongside then partner, J-Lo and the dreadful Cop Out affirming Smith’s limits (It’s worth noting that Cop Out was a directorial role and was not written by Smith).
Only a few years ago Smith had openly set out his plans for quitting the movie business altogether and focussing on his public speaking, internet radio/podcast and YouTube network, but the relative success and acclaim for his 2011 film Red State, which he distributed himself, and the subsequent pick-up and worldwide distribution of his most recent film Tusk seems to have revitalised his passion for writing and directing as he enters post-production on his next movie Yoga Hoser (With Johnny Depp on-board no less) and he recently secured funding for a third installment of the saga that started it all. Smith has revealed that Clerks III will be filmed in black and white.
What’s your favourite Clerks moment?
Dante Hicks is not having a good day. He works as a clerk in a small convenience store and is told to come into work on his day off. Dante thinks life is a series of down endings and this day is proving to no different. He reads in the newspaper that his ex-girlfriend Caitlin is getting married. His present girlfriend reveals to have somewhat more experience with sex that he ever imagined. His principal concerns are the hockey game he has that afternoon and the wake for a friend who died. His buddy Randal Graves works as a clerk in the video store next and he hates his job just about as much as Dante hates his.