Story: Dante (Brian O’Halloran) is a convenience store clerk who longs for more in life, but his plans will have to wait, as he was called in on his day off. He was promised that he could leave in time for his hockey game, which is one of the few joys he feels life still offers him. As soon as he arrives at work, he finds the store’s shutters inoperable thanks to some gum in the lock, then he reeks of shoe polish after crafting a sign to assure customers the store is indeed open. As if those weren’t enough to ruin his day, Dante has to deal with a parade of rude, confused, or oblivious customers, not to mention the video store clerk from next door, his best friend Randal (Jeff Anderson). The two wax poetic over life and pop culture, while trying to figure out existential concerns and more simple ones, like why customers can’t read basic signs. Will Dante be able to turn around his lousy day or will the Quick Stop only further his spiral into the abyss?

Entertainment Value: Clerks was of course a smash success and not only launched the career of Kevin Smith, but it could become a pop culture goldmine covering numerous films and other projects. While Smith has done some good work since, I still hold Clerks as his masterpiece and despite being very much a product of its time, the movie remains incisive and relatable, even decades after it was released. The narrative is basic on first blush, two clerks passing some time, but Smith pens them with such depth and wit, it never feels basic whatsoever. The material is universal to those who have worked retail, regardless of the era, as so much of the experience transcends the passage of time. This helps Clerks avoid aging poorly and much of the humor is still on point, since it is more about the general human condition and trials of life, just wrapped in a 90s package that fuels the vibe and references involved. The dialogue steals the show, with so many humorous and quotable lines, but the stark visuals and good performances also deserve the credit they’ve earned over the years. The pace is crisp, the dialogue is excellent, and Clerks still holds up and then some, well recommended.

The cast of Clerks have all become pop culture figures of some level, with Jay and Silent Bob getting the biggest boost in the wake of the movie. Kevin Smith and Jay Mewes have smaller roles here, just to steal a scene here and there, but really resonated with fans and would appear in numerous other projects down the road. Also returning in multiple sequels however were leads Brian O’Halloran and Jeff Anderson, the titular clerks in question. The two have fantastic chemistry and both seemed dialed in to the material, not to mention they’re both perfectly cast. O’Halloran as the hapless sap that constantly bungles his tasks, while Anderson is acidic as Randal, the colorful, sharp tongued video store clerk. These two just seem natural together and while it was fun to see them in the sequels, this is where they truly shine and to me, this is their best work as a tandem. The cadence is pitch perfect and even when there’s a group of actors present in a scene, O’Halloran and Anderson know how to play off all the different personalities and such with ease. The cast also includes Marilyn Ghigliotti, Scott Mosier, Walter Flanagan, Lisa Spoonauer, and Al Berkowitz.

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