If you like Kevin Smith, you like Clerks. I realize that every rule has millions of exceptions, but Smiths low budget indie feature from 1994 reveals everything great (and not so great) about this director/writer/actor (if you call Silent Bob acting).
Clerks came out during an early 90's time-period when culture was taking a step sideways instead of forward. A generation brought up with 80's hair metal, Eddie Murphy movies and The Cosby Show wanted something different. Instead of moving forward, our culture wanted smarter versions of the established entertainment, music fans embraced Nirvana and Pearl Jam, television watchers tuned into Seinfeld and film embraced new visions from the likes of Quentin Tarantino. Enter Kevin Smith into this time with his no budget masterpiece that probably wouldn't have been seen if it were made five years later.
What made Clerks stand out was its revelation that a great script is all you need to make a great movie. You didn't enjoy Clerks because of its A- list actors, big budget action sequences or filmmaking tricks that director's greatly over hype; you liked Clerks because it was funny and relatable. Smith's writing captured the everyday feel of his early 20's life as his main characters Dante and Randal's shift at the Quick Stop and RST Video becomes an unexpectedly crazy journey. Dante's struggle with his inability to resolve the issues in his life is what lies at the heart of every great Kevin Smith film. Right up to Clerks II he is a master at writing a realistic interpretation of male insecurity. Dante and Randal both remain believable male characters even while revealing feelings that many males may never actually talk about. Randal becomes the voice of the audience watching the shenanigans of Dante's life unfold trying to make Dante realize his life is ultimately up to him, while cracking the comments and flipping the bird to his work commitments that both the audience and Dante envy.
The 10th Anniversary DVD holds up surprisingly well as the makers realized that most followers of Smith's had seen this film dozens of time (if not more). Instead of simply providing a nicer looking version of the original, the package contains two must haves for collectors. The first is the original version of Clerks that appeared at New York's Independent Feature Film Market, which started the ball rolling on Clerk's eventually being picked up by Miramax. The original version reveals the dark tone that Smith was originally going for an ending that reveals Dante's struggles to be very small in life's grand scheme (if you see it you'll understand). The other added element is The Snowball Effect, a documentary about the making of Clerks that takes you from Smith's humble beginnings in New Jersey to his the joy of his $27,000 flick being picked up. The documentary is as addictive as the original Clerks as the sheer audacity and long shot reality of Smith's venture, a young man mortgaging his future on a small flick, is an amazing feat to revisit.
With the release of Clerks II there might be more of an audience for Smith's original. If you wish to indulge in this deluxe package it is worth it, unless of course you are one of the million of exceptions to the originally stated rule.