(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.