Every once in a while even a film fanatic like me misses a big one. That is to say, this movie was influential, and put the director-writer-actor on the cinema map, got mostly great reviews, and I hadn’t seen it. What finally inspired me to was seeing another film by Kevin Smith, Dogma, and mostly liking it. The story is of two slackers, two guys who really could be doing something else, something of significance, but are stuck as clerks in a side-by-side convenience store and video rental store. One of them, Randal (Jeff Anderson) seems okay with it, and the other, Dante (Brian O’Halloran) is not. He spends most of his day pissed off and baffled, unable to decide what to do with his life. He has a girlfriend who pampers him, bringing him lasagna and stuff like that, but he obsesses about an old girlfriend. Hanging around outside the store are two weed dealers, Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (director Kevin Smith). These guys would later figure in several other movies by Smith.
They get into several situations, some of them outrageously funny, some of them only rather odd. But most of it works. It’s great to see a movie like this take off with the critics and make someone’s career. It was made for $27,000 that Smith scrounged from loans and by maxing out all his credit cards. They had to shoot after midnight, because it was a real, working store and that’s when it closed. That wouldn’t work for daytime shots, so he had to come up with a reason why the steel shutters were down all day. And he did. Talk about your shoestring production. We both liked it quite a bit.