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The Worst Movies of All Time, Volume 1: Kevin Smith’s CLERKS

September 5, 2008

(USA, 1994, Kevin Smith)
Kevin Smith is one of the most pernicious influences in contemporary American cinema, an influence that can be seen with the even worse – if that’s imaginable – films of Joe Swanberg, king of the no budget “mumblecore” movement. With CLERKS, disaffected male youths across suburban America who wear black trench coats, collect comic books, and live in their parents’ basement found an auteur to call their own. CLERKS collapsed the distance between the professional cultural producer and consumer. Nominally a good thing, in this case the result is more akin to amateur pornography or home movies. With the success of CLERKS, the independent film movement proved that anyone really could make a film and completely lost sight of its purpose unless you consider an endless barrage of dick jokes to be edgy. CLERKS is a poor mix of lazy screenwriting, incompetent direction, listless acting, tiresome pop-culture references and obligatory blow job humor all funded on the catering budget of your typical studio film. In other words, creative constraints aren’t necessarily economically determined. What’s even more remarkable is that after a decade and a half of making films, Smith, a one trick pony without a trick, still hasn’t improved.