Monday, March 12, 2007

Consider It Education

(NOTE: Inspired by the Oscars, I've decided that, once a week, I'm going to try to share a movie that has made a significant impact on me. If nothing else, this will expose you to some of my idiosyncrasies.)

I couldn’t write about my friend Dan last week without thinking about the time he took me to see the most disturbing 92 minutes of black and white celluloid I’ve ever experienced. It was Tuesday, November 1, 1994. Dan, another co-worker that I’d just met, and I were in Los Angeles, hanging out at the Virgin Megastore on Sunset Blvd. when Dan said, “Hey, guys, there’s an independent movie playing upstairs I want to see. I heard it was produced for less than $27,000, but it won a couple of awards in Cannes.”

Dan, who never missed an issue of Variety, was always the ring leader when it came to choosing entertainment. We went.

I remember the theater only had about fifty people in it – strange for a movie in West Hollywood. The three of us sat in the middle of the theater, with an empty seat between each of us.

Clerks had only been released two weeks earlier. I knew nothing about it.

* * *

Clerks Plot Summary: A day in the lives of two convenience clerks named Dante and Randal as they annoy customers, discuss movies, and play hockey on the store roof.

* * *

Not only are the characters NOT individuals that I’d ever want to become close personal friends with, but the babble about schmokin weed, hermaphroditic porn, and sex with the dead was just too much for me to assimilate into my sense of reality.

Call me conservative. I’m sure that if my grade school had had a (very) Young Republicans club, I would have been a member. But I don’t consider myself a prude, nor naive. I’ve tried it all, at least once.

However, there is more cussing per line of copy in Clerks than in any movie I’ve ever seen. Is this the way everybody talks in New Jersey? Other than the word damn, I rarely cuss. And NEVER in mixed company, nor around children.

I can’t believe that this movie will be on TV three times during the next two weeks.

-> Monday, March 12 – 8:30 PM – TMC
-> Friday, March 16 – 11:30 PM – TMC
-> Wednesday, March 21 – 1:00 AM – TMC

How do they bleep out that much copy? If you watch it, let me know.

* * *

I always try to look at the good side of things. And there were three things I learned from Clerks:

1) I have no desire to go to the Quick Stop or RST Video store in Leonardo, NJ.

2) I learned about the practice of snowballing.

3) It’s extremely awkward going to a controversial movie with a co-worker that you don’t know very well.

After the movie, we went to Barney’s Beanery on Santa Monica for burgers. I sat silent. Nothing to say.

The next night we went to see The Shawshank Redemption at Mann's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. I loved it.

* * *

Memorable quote from Clerks:

Dante Hicks [after a customer got his hand stuck in a can of Pringles]: A word of advice, my friend. Sometimes you gotta let those hard-to-reach chips go.

Hey, it was the only line without f**k, s**t, or a**hole that I liked.

And, no, I did not see Clerks II. I did call Dan last July to see if he was going. He wasn’t either. At least that’s what he told me.


mist1 said...

Sex with the dead is hard to assimilate into your sense of reality?

Prude. All the cool/cold kids are doing it.

Ps said...

Shawshank redemption remains one of my MOST favourite movies.It is simply great.
After reading your post, I decided not to watch the clip.Somehow when cussing is used just for shock value, it loses effect for me.
I watched Goodwill hunting (where there is a fair amount of bad languagae) but i LOVED that movie.It reallt 'spoke to me'
I dont think I'd have watched 'clerks' either--1 or 2.

woe said...

Shawshank was an awesome movie. I think I would give clerks a miss somehow.

Lemuel said...

I thank you sincerely for enduring this pain for us. I had not heard of Clerks. Now I can avoid it.

Kendall said...

Thanks for the review, now I know where I first heard of snowballing as well!

dbv said...

clerks didn't do much for me either... can't wait for the rest of the list!! we'll have some comparing to do... what about all time favorite???? hmmmm....

somewhere joe said...

I thought the clip was a riot! Is it me? I recently got a free rental coupon for Blockbuster in the mail - wonder if they have Clerks... (just kidding, Paul). The TV broadcast should be quite the bleep-a-thon. But I can't watch violence - I'll put the TV on mute and go make tea or something til its over.

JustJock said...

Somehow, I've managed to miss "Clerks" and, thanks to your entry, I have no desire to see it.

Paul said...

Mist thinks I'm a prude. OK

Kendall remembers that it was educational for him, too. Somethings you just don't learn on the school playground.

S. Joe -- I assume that you'd like the whole movie since you liked the clip.

But the rest of you ... Don't just take my word for it ... form your own opinions !!! Or at least tell me that I'm just not sophisticated enough for this stuff. Or that my problem is that I let Dan convince me to do things I shouldn't.

David: I'm not sure that I have an all-time-favorite. Just random attractions. We'll see.

altmike said...

Fabulous post. Great idea. I can't hardly wait till next week's selection. How about a little hint?

tkkerouac said...

love your tie.

Joshua said...

I've never seen Clerks. But I loved Shawshank. Ummmm Snowballing is digusting (whether I'm participating or just watching it); and I ain't no prude!

Paul said...

altmike: I can't give any hints. I don't know what underwear I'm going to wear tomorrow, much less what movie I'm going to talk about next week.

tkkerouac: love your towel. thanks for dropping by.

Joshua: One character in Clerks has the nickname Snowball. I wonder why?

[sic] said...

CLerks 1 & 2 is mindless drivel.

Paul said...

[sic]: Spoken like someone in the business.

somewhere joe said...

Paul I just watched the clip again. Freakin hilarious. Guess I'm the odd man out. It's going on my must see list (after Moulin Rouge of course). Thanks for the heads up, inadvertent though it be.

Tom said...

Shawshank Redemption!? I saw it in a theater in New York City the week in opened. NYC audiences do not suffer foolish films gladly. They hooted, screamed, guffawed, jeered---in all the right places. Call me a cynic, but the general acclaim awarded Shawshank Redemption is proof that there is at work in our culture an insidious form of mass hynpnosis.

I will grant you that the acclaim awarded the movies of Kevin Smith is, on a smaller scale, further proof of the same thing.

Sometimes you just gotta go see La Strada and wash the bad taste of the whole thing out of your mouth.

So to speak.

Paul said...

s. joe: Watch that clip enough and it will equal my viewing your incredible nose-on-chair stunt. But you're on your own if you want to see the whole movie. I'm not paying to expose this mindless drivel (thanks, [sic]) on friends!

Tom: It's great to see you around these parts. Yes, the audiences in LA and NYC go to the movies for completely different reasons.

I must add La Strada to my "to-see" list.

Gawpo said...

Isn't TMC The Movie Channel? If so, it doesn't count as TV. Movie premia
do not bleep. Or am I missing something?

Regarding snowballing: (pinky to coner of mouth) Rrrriiiggghhhttt....

Gawpo said...

corner. damn!