When it comes to low-budget indie films, Clerks takes the cake. Writer and director Kevin Smith’s quirky comedy about two convenience store clerks who spend their days shooting the breeze has become a cult classic beloved by many. Here, we explore why Clerks has stood the test of time and become a staple of indie film culture.
Why Clerks Stands Out from the Crowd
First, let’s talk about what sets Clerks apart from other indie films of its time. Released in 1994, Clerks was made for a mere $27,575 – an impressive feat when you consider that the average Hollywood film budget in 1994 was $31.6 million. Smith financed the film with credit cards, maxing them out to cover the costs of production.
With a budget this small, it’s no surprise that Clerks had a decidedly DIY feel. Smith filmed the movie entirely in black and white, using a single convenience store location where most of the action takes place. And yet, despite these limitations, Clerks manages to be endlessly entertaining and relatable.
Examining the Characters
One of the reasons Clerks is so beloved is its relatable cast of characters. The film follows Dante and Randall, two friends who work at a convenience store. Dante is the more responsible of the two, while Randall is a slacker who doesn’t take his job very seriously. Their conversations, ranging from debates over Star Wars to musings on the pitfalls of dating, feel like the kind of conversations you might have with your own friends while hanging out at a convenience store.
What makes Dante and Randall such captivating characters is their flaws. Dante is constantly struggling to make sense of his life, while Randall is content to float through his with no real ambition. While they might not be perfect, they’re still likeable, relatable, and thoroughly entertaining to watch.
The Humor of Clerks
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Kevin Smith film without his signature brand of humor. Clerks is no exception, featuring plenty of crass jokes and clever one-liners. But unlike some comedies that rely solely on shock value, the humor in Clerks feels organic and true to life.
For example, there’s a scene in which Dante and Randall discuss the merits of contractors who work on the Death Star in Star Wars. It’s a hilarious conversation, but it also speaks to broader themes of what it means to have a fulfilling job. The humor in Clerks always comes back to real-world issues and situations, which is one of the things that makes it so enduring.
The Music of Clerks
Aside from the quirky characters and clever writing, Clerks also boasts an impressive soundtrack. The film’s opening scene, in which Dante arrives at the convenience store to open for the day, is set to The Jesus Lizard’s “Panic in Cicero.” Other songs on the soundtrack include tracks by Soul Asylum and Alice in Chains.
While the inclusion of these songs might have seemed random at the time, they now feel like essential parts of the film’s charm. They help set the tone for the movie and enhance the overall viewing experience.
The Legacy of Clerks
It’s been over 25 years since Clerks was released, and yet it’s still just as relevant and entertaining as ever. The film has spawned a sequel, an animated series, and countless imitators in the years since its release.
But beyond its own legacy, Clerks has had a larger impact on the film industry as a whole. It proved that you don’t need a massive budget or a fancy studio to make a successful movie. With enough talent and determination, anyone can make a film that resonates with audiences.
Clerks is proof that sometimes, the most memorable films are the ones made on a shoestring budget. With its lovable characters, clever writing, and relatable humor, it’s no wonder the film has become a cult classic. If you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favor and check it out. You won’t be disappointed.
So, the next time you’re in the mood for a movie that’s equal parts entertaining and relatable, look no further than Clerks. It’s the ultimate low-budget indie film that’s sure to leave you laughing long after the credits roll.