Thursday, 17 September 2009

Icon #26 Kevin Smith

Some of you out there are gonna ask 'Who?'

But this man wrote and directed two of my favourite films of all time and in a week when I could have gone with the obvious film star/director choice it seems fitting to write about someone who is so much more... well just so much more 'me'.

Clerks came out in 1994.  Filmed on a minuscule budget in the convenience store that Smith actually worked in it told the story of a day in the lives of the two guys that worked there, Dante and Randall.  I must have watched it some time in '95 on a dodgy VHS copy in London.  I just loved it.  Shot in black and white and edited on the cheap it is not, nor was it ever designed to be, a Hollywood blockbuster.  Smith paid for the film by maxing out a heap of credit cards and filmed it at night while the shop he worked in was closed.  And it really was just a small store in New Jersey.

The banter between the pair of leads is brilliant throughout, a superbly natural take on the way two male friends interact with each other.  They swear, talk about films, girls and porn.  But most of all they are funny.  Funny as f***.

Smith just gets the whole thing so spot on and of course we got to meet Jay and Silent Bob for the first time.  The two drug dealing characters that reappear through out Smith's so called 'Askewniverse' films.  Here they hang about outside the store, Silent Bob played by Smith and Jay by Jason Mewes.

Smith made a bunch of other movies afterwards with varying degrees of success.  I really like Chasing Amy and Dogma but in 2006 he returned to Dante and Randall in Clerks 2 set ten years after the original.  For me it loses something by being filmed in colour and on better equipment but that might just be my indie-kid make up shining through.  The banter is back.  Big time.

The guys are now working in a burger joint, things haven't moved on much, but Dante is about to up sticks, get married and move to Florida.  Except, this being a Kevin Smith film, he's in love with someone else and has got her pregnant.

If anything the banter here is even closer to the knuckle than the first movie (although the knocking over the casket at a wake conversation from the first film is still my favourite).  The scene at the burger joint with the 'Donkey Show' are just some of the funniest put on screen.  Ultimately though it's a great film about friendship.  Two guys, who despite their bickering, value their relationship with each other above everything else.  It was a Bromance movie before the term was coined.

I think I love the Clerks movies because they remind me of me a bit.  And they certainly remind me of a whole host of my friends.

Also Dante is such a cool fricking name.

Kevin Smith is an icon because he makes the films that he would want to watch.  He hasn't always made films that the rest of us want to see but two of his would make my top t... (hmmm that's a whole other blog post).

If you haven't seen the Clerks movies rent them, Love Film them, do the naughty stuff online, but watch them soon.  You won't be disappointed.

'There's a million good looking women in the world dude.  But, they don't all bring you lasagne at work, most of them just cheat on you.'


Tonight's post is dedicated to @theboycheese and @jeninher30s.  And @KatyHarwood01 gets a mention for mentioning Mr Smith.