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I just saw _Clerks_ in Chicago last weekend, and was pretty disappointed.
I had expected a funnier, more daring film, one that would poke more fun
at the customers and the whole system. I was extremely disappointed at
the poor quality of the acting (Linklater apparently used non-actor
friends for much of _Slacker_, as was apparently the case for _Clerks_,
but the results were much better in _Slacker_). So the by-play between
the two main clerks (I forget their names, sorry) was not very effective:
intonations were unrealistic, etc. And I really had no interest in the
love story; I didn't care whether he chose the taller woman who cheated
on him or the shorter one who didn't and baked him lasagne. A pretty
tepid storyline, IMO. Finally, it seemed that one of the central
conflicts regarding the main clerk was that his devotion to the store was
interfering with his real life's potential, that clerking at a
convenience store is really not an important or fulfilling career. But is
there anyone out there who believes otherwise? Of course these
minimum-wage, tedious, and often dangerous jobs are bad jobs; I wanted to
learn something I didn't already know. And the film's advertising
tag-line is similarly obvious: "Just because they serve you doesn't mean
they like you." Again, does anyone imagine that convenience store clerks
_like_ the customers? I never did.
 
Of course, it's possible that the film is a commentary on these issues,
rather than a simple presentation of them. But I must admit the acting
was so aggravatingly poor that I couldn't concentrate much on the
interconnections of the various thematic elements, if there were many. In
fact, there were some interesting lines, and I found myself wanting to
read the screenplay instead of seeing the film (a first for me, I think).
(Or maybe I was just suckered in by the low-budget indie look of the
thing, assuming it therefore had to be cool).
 
Anybody else see it? What did you think? And is the screenplay available
to buy and read?
 
John Hoppe