Clerks is the 1994 film that was the debut effort from writer and director Kevin Smith. Smith and his producing partner, Scott Mosier, famously self-financed the movie by using their credit cards and selling Smith's comic book collection. They used the store that Smith still worked at as the setting for the movie and filmed scenes in the evening after the store had closed.
The film stars Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Jason Mewes, Marilyn Ghiglotti and Lisa Spoonhauer. Kevin Smith also had a role in the film. Smith was known to cast his friends as supporting players. Some of his friends appeared in multiple roles. Even Smith's mother appeared in a scene.
The movie begins with the lead character, Dante, getting awoken by a phone call early in the morning. He is informed that he needs to report to work at the Quick Stop convenience store. He agrees to go, despite not being on the schedule. When Dante arrives to work, he finds that the locks to the window gates were sealed shut with bubble gum. He fashions a make shift sign out of a bed sheet and shoe polish and gets to work. Throughout the day, customers remark of smelling shoe polish in the store.
Soon after Dante arrives, Jay and Silent Bob also show up for work outside of the store. They are the local drug dealers and harass Dante and the pedestrians on the street. Dante's best friend, Randall, works next door at the video store, and he arrives late to a line of angry customers.
Dante has to deal with a love triangle involving his current girlfriend and his ex-girlfriend who is away at college. Dante and Randall deal with an array of problems during the day including a roof top street hockey game, discussions about the destruction of the Death Star, chewing gum salesmen and angry customers. The pair lament about how mundane their lives are and how tough it is to deal with obnoxious clientele.
When Dante's ex-girlfriend arrives unannounced, it causes his current girlfriend to break up with him, and he then has to deal with an unexpected casualty and an uncomfortable bathroom interlude.
The film received strong critical acclaim at several high profile film festivals. Smith went on to write and direct a sequel to Clerks 12 years later, in addition to a host of other films that also feature Jay and Silent Bob as supporting characters.