Yes, Kevin Smith you are. I’m not quite sure when I was introduced to the works of Kevin Smith, but really all that matters is, I was. Since that time I have waited with bated breath for some of his new films; and spent countless hours of delight watching and re-watching his older works. Few weeks ago (Jan 23) I watched Clerks (1994) again, for probably the 6th time, and I have to say it’s still probably one of the top 3 Smith films (Dogma and Chasing Amy are probably number two and three). Everyone raves about Clerks II, and don’t get me wrong it is brilliant too, but I like Clerks more. Why? You ask. Well, give me a minute of your time and I will tell you.
Clerks is black and white; and I’m a sucker for black and white films. My parents liked watching the classics. So as a kid I watched things like Harvey, Casablanca, The Avengers, and Zorro. Black and white films always seem more raw to me, and I like movies that tell things like it is. Yes, Clerks II tells is like it is, but it is also very defiantly more polished. And personally I prefer the less polished and more raw version.
The location: I’ve worked at local convince stores, in a small town, I know the drill. Dante and Jeff spend most of their day bored and talking to each other (anyone who’s worked in a small town shop can appreciate their boredom and conversations). Yeah, sure lots of people work in fast food, so I’m sure Clerks II speaks to them for that reason. But I personally stay as far away from fast food as possible, so the location of the first Clerks means more to me, because of its setting.
At the start of his career Smith got people and relationships (and he still does which makes most of his films amazing). In Clerks none of the romantic relationships are straight-forward. Dante has a girlfriend (Veronica), but he wants his ex (Caitlin); which leave Dante with a mess to clean up at the end of the film. Caitlin finds herself engaged to a man she doesn’t really want to marry, and upsets her family when she ends the engagement. Yes, the craziness that can come with romantic relationship is in Clerks II (with Dante engaged to Emma, but actually in love with Becky), but in the end it works out very well in for Dante. In Clerks we don’t know how things will go for Dante with either Veronica or Caitlin. It is the uncertainty and Dante’s decision to try to better his life that I like, but maybe that’s because I still haven’t found my happily ever after 😛
Even though Clerks II is full of witty pop culture references that I understand (and love), I still find Clerks more enjoyable. Maybe it’s because it’s reminiscent of older days gone by, maybe it’s because its more artsy, or maybe it’s because it was so brilliant that without it there wouldn’t have been numerous squeals, a TV shows, and or the comics.