As luck would have it I was literally working at a Mom and Pop Video store my senior year of High School and through most of College. The store was called Express TV and Video and it was an awesome job. I’m from a small town so we were never busy so I spent most of my down time watching movies.
I was scheduled to work on a Sunday, which was rare, due to the older lady who also worked there was on vacation. So yes, I literally wasn’t “supposed to be there that day” Sunday’s were so slow I often wondered why were even open. I got to work and went next door to the Food Lion to get some food for my shift. Once I got the store open I was on a mission to find something to watch.
Nothing on the shelf jumped out at me so I went to the screener box. Screeners were movies sent to the owners to watch to see if they wanted to buy and rent out. There was a warning that ran across the bottom of said movies about every five minutes. Most of the time the screeners were horrible, but I was desperate to avoid boredom.
As I flipped through the stack something caught my eye. It was Clerks and the screener copy’s cover art was similar to what you would see in the store. I was intrigued simply because it was in black and white and I worked in a video store. I will be perfectly honest when I write this. This movie was amazing and the movie I always wanted to see, but didn’t know it. I was mesmerized by the realistic conversation and simple filming. After I watched it I called my boss as asked if I could have the screener. I promised I wouldn’t make a copy or lend it out. He said he didn’t care so Clerks came home with me.
I got home and watched it again. I could see myself in both Dante and Randal. I also found myself loving the ensemble Jay and Silent Bob, Olaf, and the Customers. I found that Smith was able to portray real dating relationships between Dante and Veronica. When he added the ex-girfriend Kaitlin he brought a little drama into the antihero, Dante Hicks life.
It wasn’t until a bit later that l learned that Silent Bob was actually the writer/director of the film and then I was really obsessed. I had to see everything this man made and while this was all I could find at the time I was ready when Mallrats came out.
As I wrote before this movie literally changed my life and I knew I wanted to be creative. While I have never made a movie per say I have embraces story telling. I recently re watched Clerks for the first time in a long time and I’ll be honest the grainy film along the with the rapid fire dialogues still hold up. It has the same charm in 2022 that it did for the teenage me who stumbled across it in the video store.
Clerks will always have a special place in my heart. I will credit it to making me a fan of movies and all that goes into making them.
“Salsa Shark. We’re gonna need a bigger boat! Man goes into cage, cage goes into salsa, shark’s in the salsa, our shark. “