[[quoteright:235:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Clerks.jpg]]

->''"That guy's an asshole. Everybody that comes in here is way too uptight. This job would be great if it wasn't for the fucking customers."''
-->-- '''Randal Graves'''

->''"I'm not even supposed to be here today!"''
-->-- '''Dante Hicks'''

The ultimate low-budget success story that created the behemoth that is Creator/KevinSmith ([[{{Website/Cracked}} figuratively speaking of course]]).

Filmed in 1993, but not theatrically released until 1994, it cost $27,000 to make, roughly the same price as a new car at the time. The film's final cost was $230,000 after the rights to the film's grunge and punk oriented soundtrack is added in, making it one of the few films in history where the rights to the soundtrack actually cost more than the film.

''Clerks'' was shot in the same convenience store where Smith worked at the time and featured a cast made up of Smith's friends (such as Jeff Anderson, Jason Mewes and Scott Mosier) and family (in various small roles), Smith himself and a few local actors (such as Brian O'Halloran, who plays the lead role of Dante Hicks). When released, the film made its budget back several times over. Its success enabled Smith to make [[Film/{{Mallrats}} several]] [[Film/ChasingAmy more]] [[Film/{{Dogma}} films]] [[Film/JayAndSilentBobStrikeBack with some of the same characters]] [[Film/ClerksII and settings]].

Surprisingly for a film with profanity and vulgar references, it manages to stay quite intelligent and upon release, it was well received by critics such as Creator/RogerEbert and Leonard Maltin. The film's success helped jump start the modern independent film industry (which actually began with ''[[Film/SexLiesAndVideotape Sex Lies & Videotape]]'') and turned [[Creator/MiramaxFilms Miramax]] into a major distributor for said independent films, rivaled only by Polygram Filmed Entertainment and Fox Searchlight.

The film is about a day in the life of a pair of friends, Dante Hicks and Randal Graves, working at Quick Stop and RST Video, respectively. Another group of friends, Jay and Silent Bob, deal drugs and hang out around Quick Stop. Dante is forced to come to work, although he wasn't supposed to be there that day (as he will constantly remind you.)

Some time later, Randal shows up for work. He spends most of his day at the Quick Stop rather than working, though. Dante's girlfriend, Veronica, comes over to talk to him. There he finds out that she has... had quite a lot of fun. It's yet another thing Dante obsesses over.

Later on, Dante closes up shop, because he had a hockey game to play that day. They play on the roof, but after an annoyed customer comes up, joins the game, and loses the puck, they have to stop and get back to work. They also go to a funeral, meet up with Dante's ex-girlfriend, who goes through some trauma, and get in a fight. In the end, they stop arguing and close up for the day.

The earliest part of TheViewAskewniverse (though ''Mallrats'', which came out later, is actually the day before the events of ''Clerks''). With the obvious exception of Jay and Silent Bob, Dante and Randal are the most frequently recurring characters in the verse, having starred in an AnimatedAdaptation, ''ClerksTheAnimatedSeries'', several comics and more recently in a true sequel in the film, ''ClerksII''.

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!!This movie provides examples of:

* AbsurdlyHighStakesGame: The film itself. Creator/KevinSmith financed the movie by hocking valuable comic books and buying supplies on his credit card. Had the movie flopped or not been picked up by a major studio, he'd have been left with tens of thousands in high-interest debt with no real job prospects.
* AddictionDisplacement: Subverted--it's being encouraged as a stealth marketing stunt for a gum company.
* AluminumChristmasTrees: The Quick Stop is still open today. The RST Video next to it, however, is shuttered (however, all the tapes and other signage can be seen inside the abandoned shop, collecting dust). Fans of KevinSmith see it almost as a pilgrimage to visit it.
* AuthorAvatar: Kevin Smith specifically wrote the part of Randal for himself ([[WordOfGod "Which is why he has all the best lines!"]]), but found himself unable to handle such a big part in addition to directorial duties - which is why Jeff Anderson was brought in.
* BaguetteBeatdown: During the fight scene.
* BettyAndVeronica: Veronica is, ironically, the Betty. Caitlin is more of a Veronica.
* BlackComedy: The whole film qualifies, but especially the ending, which features [[spoiler: Caitlin accidentally having sex with a dead guy and having a mental breakdown over it]].
* BlatantLies: When Dante claims he was working "all day". Of course this backfires ''horribly.''
* BrickJoke: Randal mentions that he once had a cousin who died attempting auto-fellatio. [[spoiler: (Which is later confirmed by the coroner attending Caitlin's situation.)]]
** Dante tells Randal a story about how Caitlin had sex with him in a darkened room thinking he was someone else. Caitlin would later [[spoiler: have sex in the darkened bathroom with a dead man thinking it is Dante, who was ''also'' a brick joke, having gone back there in the first half of the movie]].
* BrilliantButLazy: Randal. Cunning, manipulative, acid-tongued, and very obviously whip-smart, yet content (in a discontented way) with his lot in life as a store clerk (and he doesn't even take ''that'' seriously).
* ButtMonkey: Dante, although it's largely his own fault.
* [[CantYouReadTheSign Can't You Read the Sign?]]: Many of the two stores' customers.
* CatchPhrase: "I'm not even supposed to be here today!"
** "I'll fuck anything that '''moooooves!'''"
** "Noise, noise, noise, smokin' weed, smokin' weed..."
** "37?"
* [[ChekhovsGunman Chekhov's Gunman]]: [[spoiler: The elderly, bathroom-using customer (see below).]]
* ClusterFBomb: If the heading quote wasn't a warning, ''this'' is.
** So much so that the MPAA was originally going to rate the movie NC-17 ''solely'' for the language.
* ClutchingHandTrap: The idiot customer with the Pringles can. Dante subtly points this out by pouring the remaining Pringles into his hand while telling the customer that "sometimes you just need to let those hard-to-reach chips go."
* ConceptVideo: The video for [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esE-XvZicxE Soul Asylum's "Can't Even Tell"]] was directed by Kevin Smith, and includes all the characters from the film playing roof hockey with the band while Jay lip synchs the song by singing into a hockey stick.
** It's notable that the while the movie is in Black and White the Video is in color.
* CoversAlwaysLie: By the look of the poster, you would think that Veronica, Caitlin and Silent Bob also are clerks.
* CultSoundtrack: After the film was bought by Miramax, the studio added a very contemporary grunge/punk soundtrack. It was the first time in history that a film's soundtrack cost more than the entire production of the film (film: $27,000.00 Music: $30,000.00).
* {{Dismotivation}}: Dante.
* DeliberatelyMonochrome
* DidNotGetTheGirl: Dante [[spoiler: breaks up with Veronica midway and never rekindles his romance with Caitlin due to the restroom incident.]]
* DirtyOldMan: The customer who asks to borrow porno mags while using the bathroom [[spoiler:and dies in there]].
* DownerEnding: In the original cut, an armed robber enters the store right after closing, shoots Dante dead and empties the cash register. The protests of the film's agent John Pierson, as well as those of damn near everyone else involved (most prominently supporter Bob Hawk and star Brian O'Halloran), led to Smith cutting the ending short, and he professes to liking the final version better.
* DumbassHasAPoint: Jay and Silent Bob makes a good point about Veronica being a good girlfriend.
-->'''Silent Bob''': You know, there's a million fine-looking women in the world, dude. But they don't all bring you lasagna at work. Most of 'em just cheat on you.
* EarlyBirdCameo: In the music video "Can't Even Tell", there's a little boy with a ball (just like the View Askew bumper) wearing a helmet.
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: Three guesses as to what this movie's about.
* ExtremelyShortTimespan: The movie takes place over a single day.
* FauxShadow: Dante's catchphrase was originally intended to set up the film's DownerEnding (which was changed due to ExecutiveMeddling).
** Likewise, the discussion of how life is just a series of downer endings.
* {{Foil}}: Two-person example. The Jay/Silent Bob duo is a {{Foil}} for the Dante/Randal one. Both of them are pairs of VitriolicBestBuds, with a cocky, fair-haired RedOni and a more cool-headed, dark-haired BlueOni with a goatee. The difference is that (as Randal points out at the end) Jay and Silent Bob actually ''choose'' their bottom-rung jobs and freely embrace their status as hopeless lowlives, while Dante and Randal are still riddled with angst about theirs.
* FourTemperamentEnsemble: Dante is melancholic, Randal is sanguine, Jay is choleric, and Silent Bob is phlegmatic.
* FrothyMugsOfWater: Averted. That weed wasn't a prop.
* GodwinsLaw: The gum marketer compares shop-clerks who sell cigarettes to Nazis.
* GilliganCut: "Nobody's there, 4 o'clock on a Saturday. How many people ever come to the store at 4 on a Saturday?" Cut to an angry mob trying to get in the store.
** And immediately before, when Dante stated he would not close the store again.
** Randal and Dante enter the funeral. "Five Minutes Later". Cut to Randal and Dante running out, chased by an angry mob.
* [[HaveIMentionedIAmHeterosexualToday Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?]]: Jay.
** Completely averted with Randal, who has no problem watching hermaphroditic porn.
--->"Beautiful chicks with dicks that put mine to shame."
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Jay and Silent Bob. Also Dante and Randal. Which leads to a fair amount of Ho Yay (See YMMV tab).
* HigherEducationIsForWomen: Dante dropped out of college to work in an awful job; his girlfriend Veronica stays in college and tries to persuade him to return.
* HypocriticalHumor: After the gum representative stirring up the angry mob against Dante for selling cigarettes (so he can actually sell the gum) has gone and the mob dispersed, one of the members of the mob sheepishly buys a pack of cigarettes from Dante afterwards. Dante is less than impressed.
** Lampshaded that they point out that Randal hates people but loves social gatherings. Also he plans to rent a movie at a video store despite working at RST Video, justified that Randal claims "I work in a shitty video store!"
** Jay is asked if Silent Bob's Russian cousin Olaf only speaks Russian - He responds "Nah, he speaks some English, but he can't all speak it good like we do".
* IgnoredEpiphany: Despite Silent Bob's words of wisdom leading Dante to realize that he loves Veronica instead of Caitlin and Randal's TheReasonYouSuckSpeech berating him for "pining for one and fuck[ing] the other", Dante ends the film planning to both attempt to patch things up with Veronica and visit Caitlin in the hospital. [[DownerEnding The implication is that he hasn't really changed.]]
* [[AnythingThatMoves I'll Fuck Anything That MOOOOOVES!]]: We know, Jay, thank you.
* {{Jerkass}}: Randal, so much.
** Also, to some, Dante. At least when it comes to the women he dates and to blaming all his problems on other people.
** Most of the customers are incredible jerkasses.
-->'''Randal:''' This job would be great if it wasn't for the fucking customers.
** The jerk-off customer, whose keys was thrown away by Dante.
-->"Fucking kids."
** Dante and Randal's boss (who was never named in the final cut, but a trimmed portion of the phone call has him named as Mr. Schneider). Turns out, he isn't coming in later, he instead ran off to ''Vermont'' for 4 days.
** The Gum Representive who incites the crowd of smokers to pelt Dante with cigarettes, so he can trick them to buy Gum.
** The lawyer near the end; you can tell he's hardly containing his glee when he issues out that summons.
*** [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] in that he thinks that he's bringing in [[YouMonster an asshole who sold a pack of cigarettes to a little girl.]]
** Basically, just about everyone is a {{Jerkass}} to one extent or another. A World of Jerkass, if you will.
* JerkassHasAPoint: Randal may be an asshole but he makes some good points.
** Sanford, one of Dante and Randal's friends.
--> '''Sanford''': Responsibility? What responsibility? You're closing the fucking store to play hockey!
* KarmaHoudini: Randal sells cigarettes to a little girl and Dante ends up getting saddled with the fine. And unlike everything else in the film, he doesn't even get properly [[WhatTheHellHero called out on it]].
** The robber in the alternate ending who shoots and kills Dante. Because Randal disabled the security cameras prior to the Hockey game on the roof, the cameras would never catch the robbery on film. Also after the credits of that ending Kevin Smith (as himself, not Silent Bob) steals some cigarettes and runs off after noticing Dante was murdered.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfRoles: Several actors perform multiple small roles, because Smith didn't have the money to hire more actors.
* LeaveTheCameraRunning: Many scenes, particularly the one [[InWhichATropeIsDescribed in which we are introduced to]] [[ChekhovsGunman Chekhov's Gunman]]. This was done primarily due to lack of physical space -- the Quick Stop is a tiny, tiny building -- and budget and lighting constraints.
* LuckyCharmsTitle: The original title of the movie is 'Clerks.'' (with a period at the end).
* MeaningfulName: [[DivineComedy Dante.]]
** Made even more meaningful when [[spoiler:the Quick Stop [[StealthPun burns down]]]] in ''ClerksII''.
* MoodWhiplash: The jolly guy who reads the tabloids gets extremely pissed when Randal spits his drink at him to shut up.
* MyGirlIsNotASlut: "37!!"
** "In a row?"
* MythologyGag: The first use of "37", later a [[ArcNumber recurring number throughout Smith's movies.]]
** In a row?
* NoodleIncident: Julie Dwyer's wake, at least originally.
* NoSympathy: When Dante shouts that his girlfriend sucked 37 dicks, a customer then asks, "In a row?"
* NotInFrontOfTheKid: Averted big time in the "Happy Scrappy" scene. A mother with a preschool-age daughter asks Randal if they could special-order "Happy Scrappy, Hero Pup". Randal then gets on the phone to the supplier and proceeds to rattle off a huge list of [[IntentionallyAwkwardTitle vulgarity-laced porno movie titles]]. In the script, but not in the film, the little girl ends up blurting out [[CountryMatters one of the more caustic words.]]
* ParrotExposition: Randal will say something odd, Dante will repeat it, Randal will elaborate.
* PulledFromYourDayOff: The entire film is the story of a day in the life of Dante, a convenience store clerk. It opens with him being called into work on his day off, and the rest of the film is a chronicle of Dante's misadventures during the day.
* RealLifeWritesThePlot: Creator/KevinSmith actually worked at the convenience store depicted, and had to film his movie at night when it was closed, necessitating the whole "Gum in the window shutter locks" subplot to explain why they were down the entire time.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Randal delivers a great one at the end of ''Clerks'', aimed straight at Dante, who's spent most of the day [[{{Wangst}} Wangsting]], as well as a little for himself as well. The full quote is on [[{{TheReasonYouSuckSpeech/Film}} the trope's page]].
* RecycledTheSeries: Two episodes of ''ClerksTheAnimatedSeries'' were broadcast on ABC before it got cancelled. The entire series, including the unaired episodes, is available on DVD.
* RunningGag: "What smells like shoe polish?"
* SeinfeldianConversation: Sums up 85-90% of the movie.
* ShoutOut: Caitlin's name is a reference to Caitlin Ryan from ''Series/DegrassiHigh''.
* SliceOfLife
* SilentBob: TropeNamer.
* SillyWalk: The wrangle, better known to fans as "the Randal strut".
** The walk and Dante's line accompanying it at the end of the film was taken from Wrangler Jeans commercials and--even with all of the merchandise in the background of the store--was the only part of the film that needed to be edited to avoid legal issues. (Dante's line, referring to the walk as the "Wrangle", had to be [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dubbing_(filmmaking)#Automated_dialogue_replacement_.2F_post-sync ADRed]] in post.) Miramax got the company's permission to leave the line uncut on the "First Cut" disc of the Clerks X DVD release.
* SirNotAppearingInThisTrailer: Actually, it's the poster. Jay doesn't appear because Miramax executives thought Jason Mewes was too "weird looking".
** The explanation Smith gives in one of the ''Evening with Kevin Smith'' [=DVDs=] says that the cameraman was simply too impatient to wait for Mewes to show up, and didn't really care that Silent Bob wasn't really Silent Bob without the baseball cap.
* TheSlacker: Jay and Silent Bob and Randal. ''Especially'' Randal.
** Dante pretends to be different, but [[NotSoDifferent nobody's fooled]] -- he's at work of his own free will, even if he pretends otherwise.
* SoulSuckingRetailJob: A convenience store sized version but nonetheless, one of the best on screen examples of the miserable retail work.
* SpeechCentricWork: Setting the trend for many of Smith's later efforts, the film is light on plot, heavy on dialogue.
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: Randal's name is correctly spelled with one L, not two, but many fans still add the extra letter.
* TheStoner: Jay and Silent Bob. Snowball's easy-going attitude puts them ''both'' to shame, though.
* StupidStatementDanceMix: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-K_nBEwZBg4 You'd be hard pressed to dance to it though.]]
* SurroundedByIdiots: Dante and Randal feel this way about the customers. Randal likes to rip in on the occasional customers. But not Dante, he doesn't want to get into any trouble.
* ThoseTwoGuys: Jay and Silent Bob.
* {{Tsundere}}: Caitlin Bree towards Dante.
* UnintentionalPeriodPiece: Entirely grunge soundtrack? Check. Doc Martens and acid wash? Check. Video store stocked wall-to-wall with VHS? Check. It's the early '90s all right!
* TheUnfairSex: Veronica slaps Dante and calls him for a pig for having sex with 12 women, while she's only ever slept with 3 guys. Dante however is wrong to be angry to learn of the ''36'' other guys she performed ''[[LoopholeAbuse oral]]'' sex on and failed to mention. Granted, Dante's reaction is overblown and he quickly crosses the line, but given that she gave a rather vivid description of what "''snowballing''" is, you can see ''why'' he's so furious.
** [[OverlyLongGag In a row?]]
** Dante leaves the higher ground pretty swiftly when he explains that it's a different question how many sex partners Veronica has had compared to how many sex partners he has had because in Veronica's case this is ''important''.
* UnsatisfiableCustomer: "No ice? You mean I gotta drink this coffee ''hot''?"
** Doubles as SocietyMarchesOn: Iced coffee has become more popular since the film was released thanks to Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts.
* UnsympatheticComedyProtagonist: He makes a lot of questionable decisions throughout the movie and Randal's repeated {{Reason You Suck Speech}}es seem to indicate we're supposed to feel Dante is responsible in some way for basically all the bad things that happen to him.
** Also works if you consider [[{{Jerkass}} Randal]] a protagonist.
* [[WhatTheHellHero What The Hell, Hero?]]: Dante and Randal do this to each other at the end of the movie.
* YourCheatingHeart: Caitlin cheated on Dante 8 1/2 times in 5 years - the "half" was because she thought he was someone else in a dark room. [[spoiler: She doesn't seem to have changed her tune by the end of the movie]].

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''Clerks - The Lost Scene''

The incident that happened at Julie Dwyer's wake was actually never filmed but what happened was finally revealed in an animated short on the tenth anniversary DVD set. Brian O'Halloran and Jeff Anderson reprised their roles and Joey Lauren Adams made a cameo as her character Alyssa from ''Film/ChasingAmy''.

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!!This short provides examples of:

* ContinuityNod: A nice subtle one - in ''Film/ChasingAmy'' Alyssa mentions a fling with Caitlin Bree; after Dante complains about 'Caitlin and her secrets' Alyssa (who is clearly friends with Dante), not unkindly, tells him he "just has no idea sometimes", either as a subtle hint that Dante would be better off without Caitlin or as a tacit admission of guilt because Caitlin cheated on him with her.
** The Jesus on the death cards is done in the style of the Buddy Christ and the two angels with him are Bartleby and Loki.
** Willam from Mallrats is at the funeral.
* DropDeadGorgeous: Invoked. Dante and Randall go to visit Julie's wake, an old girlfriend of Dante. When they get to the coffin they see she's only wearing a black bikini top on her upper half, and assume she probably requested it. HilarityEnsues when they drop their keys in her lap.
* DueToTheDead
* TheFunInFuneral
* NotWhatItLooksLike
* ThickLineAnimation: It's done in the same style as ''ClerksTheAnimatedSeries''.

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->''Noise, noise, noise, smokin' weed, smokin' weed, doin' coke, drinkin' beers... Pack of wraps, my brotherman, time to kick back, drink some beers and SMOKE SOME WEED!''
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