Back in 1994 writer/director Kevin Smith crashed the indie film scene with Clerks. Unknowns Brian O'Halloran and Jeff Anderson star as jaded till jockeys in this "acerbic, authentic and peculiarly romantic" ode to the slacker generation. It generated strong buzz with Smith winning gongs from Sundance to Cannes, all of which translated into healthy ticket sales. Of course with a budget just over $20,000, Smith's family and friends alone would've sent it into profit. More than a decade later comes this whopping 3-disc Special Edition DVD.
Shop Till You Drop
Picking up from his misspent youth in small-town New Jersey to his opening night at Sundance, Snowball Effect is a sprawling feature-length documentary that tells Smith's rags-to-riches story with poignancy and wit. Of course the man himself does most of the talking along with cast and a crew that includes long-time buddy Scott Mosier (who produced the film). Even Miramax honcho Harvey Weinstein makes an appearance and confesses to being "an old fart" for not seeing the potential of the film until he sat with an audience at Park City.
Even the 13 deleted scenes (enough to make another documentary) are funny if a little too revealing. Mosier explains that he almost walked off the project after Smith asked him to cover a shift at the convenience store where they shot the film. After hours of trying to get to grips with the pesky lottery machine, Mosier stormed into their makeshift editing suite (in a neighbouring video store) to find Smith in a compromising position with a girl. "Yeah, I was having sex in the porno room," Smith blithely confesses as he sparks up a cigarette...
Also included is Smith and Mosier's first collaboration Mae Day. It's a partly fictionalised but mostly bonkers account of their failed attempt to produce a serious documentary about transvestism...
A deleted scene from Clerks makes for a brilliant animated short, revealing what happened in the missing hours when Dante (O'Halloran) and Randal (Anderson) go to their friend's funeral. In the introduction, Smith and Mosier explain that the change of location made it too expensive to shoot the scene first time around. Upping the chuckle count even further is The Flying Car with O'Halloran and Anderson reprising their roles once again for a deadpan, live-action skit about waiting around in traffic.
Accompanying the theatrical cut are three featurettes on the process of restoration, plus the original cast and crew commentary. Alternatively there's the unrated version that's dirtier in print as well as in content. An all-new commentary is just as dicey with Mosier recalling a night he spent at Smith's house when he saw his "mom" naked. Of course that has very little to do with what we're seeing on screen, but it's perfectly in fitting with the chatty slacker vibe. Thankfully, more focussed insights can be gleaned from the 10th Anniversary Q+A where Smith reveals the truth about a reported feud between him and Anderson.
Filling out the bonus package are the original audition tapes, articles and reviews and Kevin Smith's journal, which recounts his experience at Sundance. Naturally it's peppered with great throwaway lines like the opening night gala where he recalls, "We drink Coors Light watching the crowd of non-celebs - except Andie MacDowell..." With such a wealth of extras all infused with Smith's trademark humour, Clerks X is high on the list of over-the-counter products guaranteed to leave you on a high.