I’ve gone on before about how a lot of young adults suddenly hit the world without realizing how tough it really is. Most teenagers go through a phase of complete cynicism (I know because I did), yet once they realize that the world doesn’t care about their choices, they fade back into the more normal mindset of optimism. I agree that eighteen is a good age to start discovering yourself, but they have to understand that few people will see them as actual adults. To the rest of society, were the big kids. We should be in school or working our butts off to do something with it.
But a lot of people forget that not everyone has the motivation to attend college. They’ll find themselves in the back of a long line of people also wanting to improve themselves, revealing that everything is competitive. But even if they do get the right classes, they start to debate if this is what they actually want. This is why I have seen many friends change majors or drop out. What they’ve worked hard for in grammar school isn’t turning out as awesome as the media made it out too be. Nothing is easy for young adults, and director Kevin Smith seems to be the voice of them. His first film Clerks is clear proof that young adulthood sucks, but they make the best out of the situation.
Dante Hicks (played by Brian O’Halloran) is a twenty-two year old retail worker at a convenience store called the Quick Stop. He’s called in on his day off to come in for an employee who has called in sick. Already tired because he closed up shop the night before, Dante swears he’s only in for a few hours or he walks. His arrival is greeted by his security shutter locks being jammed by gum, thus making him put out a sign that say “I ASSURE YOU; WE’RE OPEN”. This is going to be the highlight of his day.
Most of the day is spent conversing with customers who seem to be intent on making his day worse. You tell me what’s worse; a Jewish Man dying in the bathroom trying to masturbate or having realized your high school girlfriend is getting married. Life sucks for Dante and his friend Rendell (played by Jeff Anderson) doesn’t help much. The rest of the movie goes forth like an old John Hughes movie, simply dealing in with the one-day life of a young adult. Nothing really at stake; it’s just life.
I first saw this movie in High School and couldn’t understand why this was funny. I gave it another watch in college and proclaimed it as a very great picture about the simple annoyances of life and how we try to make things better. I will admit though as time is going on, I find that the novelty of Clerks is wearing off. Is it because I’m getting older? Maybe, but I think it’s more or less realizing how sad this movie is.
You have two men that love to spit out Star Wars references who complain that life sucks, yet have no motivation to change themselves. They’re lazy, but at least the movie knows this and tries to make some jokes out of it. I can’t imagine how much Kevin Smith went through to get this movie made. It’s clear had had his friends help out (you can tell by their less then impressive performances) and how little money this movie had. Many of these scenes are still hilarious, but I think that as we’ve gotten more movies about young adulthood, Clerks is now in the dark dramedy category. That doesn’t make it a bad movie in anyway, it’s just more grim then I remember. Oh and by the way, this movie marks the first appearance of Jay and Silent Bob.
I’ll give this four Shoe Polish signs out of five. While I don’t think the film is as strong as many make it out to be, I certainly have a lot of respect for what Kevin Smith was trying to get across “ With the world a cold and cruel place, how can you expect us to find ourselves at our age?” Clerks is not for everyone, but I would encourage at least one watch. You may not fall in love with these guys, but you’ll at least understand their dilemmas.