For me, Kevin Smith is next on the list of demigods, sitting right outside my holy trinity. We discussed this a bit with Chasing Amy, but Smith is a \m/ genius when it comes to writing screenplays. His dialogue is so clever and witty and sarcastic and brilliant. You just wonder where he comes up with all this shit. I could pick one of any number of sample scenes, but I'll offer this one where Randall and Dante are discussing the repercussions of the destruction of the second death star for the lowly contractors working on it.
This was a fantastic first outing for a newbie writer director. He took minimal resources and ran with it. Not only did he make what he had work, but found ways to make the logistical shortcomings seem planned. Case in point, the movie could only be filmed at night during off hours for the convenience store. But the movie takes place during the day. Solution? Keep the shutters closed and introduce an excuse to explain it "somebody jammed gum in the locks". It set up plenty of jokes, and led to the iconic "I assure you, we're open" sign. Genius!
To be perfectly honest, I didnt like this at all the first time I saw it. Maybe I expected too much. Maybe I didnt know what to expect. I know the black and white threw me off a bit. For some reason I was expecting it to switch to color at some point, and was confused when it didnt. Now Im confused as to why I ever thought that. But thankfully, I gave it a second chance further down the road, and now I absolutely love it.
I do love Clerks II as well, which is factored into the ranking. But what makes the first one superior is that it's timeless. Yes, the second one may have had me laughing harder, but over fifteen years later, the original is as hi-\m/-larious as ever. I have some doubt that Clerks II will hold up as well in fifteen years, but at that point Clerks I will still be just as funny.
I have two strong personal connections to this movie. One is the characters. Me and my BFFF (not to be confused with my BFF) are Jay and Silent Bob. I'm Silent Bob, or Silent Dawn. We've actually been meaning to dress as such for Halloween, but haven't managed to be in the same state for the holiday. Although you could also argue that we're Randall and Dante (I'd be Dante). That fits as well.
The other thing that makes me feel so strongly about Clerks is that it took on a whole new level of meaning after I had a customer service job. Granted, I wasnt a clerk, but I was a customer service rep and a tech support engineer for three years. Different service provided, but it's still dealing with stupid angry people all day. Im so glad to have gotten out of that gig. I feel it should be a legal requirement for all Americans to work any type of customer service job for at least six months. We deal with all sorts of customer service reps every \m/ day. If you've never held that type of job, you dont know what it's like. You dont know what we can control, what we cant, what's truly our fault, what's over our head. Randall summed up my feelings toward my old job pretty perfectly "This job would be great if it weren't for the \m/ customers"