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Clerks: Collector's Series

Kevin Smith's infamous low-budget blockbuster has a lot to say about hip youth culture. Namely, that a sloppy mixture of moronic rants and awkward pop culture references can sucker dollars out even the most media-jaded hipster's wallet. Smith was lucky enough (or perhaps this is the extent of his talent) to write, direct, and produce a crude-talking, media savvy independent film right after Quentin Tarantino made it cool to like crude-talking, media-savvy, independent films. Beyond that, there's little of interest in Clerks. The film chronicles the mundane existence of Dante (Brian O'Halloran), a nowhere clerk at a dim New Jersey Quick Stop mart. He encounters weirdos and idiots, girlfriends and ex-girlfriends. He and neighboring video store clerk Randall (Jeff Anderson) spend much of the movie talking pop culture, blow-jobs, and decrying the lack of intelligence around them, but neither they nor auteur Smith show any superior smarts. If anything, the great philosphical statement this film makes is that existentialism is a bore coming from the wrong person. Smith's characters talk for the sake of hearing their own cleverness, and proudly throw around big words with little comprehension or motivation. One gets the feeling that Smith is much the equally insufferable — his subsequent movies feature the same flaws with signs of maturation. Nonetheless, Clerks has been something of a phenomenon, and this Miramax Collector's Series disc has several special treats. It's presented in 1.85:1 widescreen and Dolby 2.0, and includes commentary by filmmakers, deleted scenes, trailer, and the famed, juvenile original ending in which Dante is shot and killed. If only it were the original beginning.
—Gregory P. Dorr



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