The Snowball Effect: Clerks at the IMA’s Summer Nights Film Series

Those in the customer service industry are a generally forgotten subset of society. You see them every day: they serve you coffee, they retrieve your cigarettes from behind the counter, they mop up after you when you spill your soda all over the floor and then leave it behind. They are invisible: they ring up your purchase, take your money, hand you change, and send you on your way, and many of them do it without even making eye contact. One of the most unglamorous jobs in the entire world, the convenience store clerk has to put up with a lot of crap from customers, managers, and the world in general. But customer service workers are people too. At least, that’s the premise behind Kevin Smith’s breakthrough 1994 cult classic movie, Clerks. Join Quick Stop clerk Dante during another day behind the counter (even though he’s not even supposed to be there) when the Indianapolis Museum of Art screens Clerks as part of its Summer Nights Film Series on Friday, July 15, 2011 at 6:30 p.m.

Video trailer for Clerks, Kevin Smith’s cult classic 1994 film that will be showing as part of the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s Summer Nights Film Series on July 15, 2011

Released in 1994, Clerks is the first major movie by Kevin Smith, a prolific director whose films (Dogma, Chasing Amy, Mallrats) often cross reference characters, ideas, and themes from his other productions in the “View Askewniverse” (View Askew is Smith’s studio). Clerks follows a day in the life of two clerks, Dante Hicks (who works at the aforementioned Quick Stop) and Randal Graves (who “works” at the adjacent video store), as they are berated by an anti-smoking crusader, crash a funeral, indulge in a game of roof hockey, and discuss the merits of Return of the Jedi versus The Empire Strikes Back. The movie marks the introduction of many of Smith’s more popular recurring characters, including Jay and Silent Bob (who is played by Smith himself).

Video of Dante and Randal discussing Star Wars in Clerks; Clerks will be showing in Indianapolis on July 15, 2011

Despite the fact that Clerks only cost $27,000 to make (it was filmed in the convenience store Smith himself worked in at the time), the film earned a whopping $3 million in its theatrical release and much more in eventual VHS and DVD sales. Upon its release, the movie was nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards and was awarded the “Award of the Youth” and “Mercedes-Benz Award” at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. Clerks‘ status has only risen since its release, being named the fourth greatest independent film ever by Empire, the 16th greatest comedy film by Total Film, and the thirty-third film in Bravo’s list of 100 Funniest Movies. A sequel, Clerks II, was released in 2006, but didn’t match the critical and commercial reception of the first.

Video of the introduction to Jay and Silent Bob in Clerks, which will be screening at the Indianapolis Museum of Art on July 15, 2011

This Friday night is the perfect opportunity for customer service workers all over Indianapolis to unite. Clerks will be shown at the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s amphitheater at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, July 15, 2011 as part of the IMA’s Summer Nights Film Series. In case of rain, the film will be shown in the Indianapolis museum‘s Toby Theater. The Summer Nights Film Series has been running since June 3, when the museum screened Mommie Dearest. Other films that have been shown in the 2011 Summer Nights Film Series include Poltergeist, Zoolander, and Blue Hawaii; this year’s series will end on August 26, 2011 with the original Superman. Co-presented by the Indianapolis International Film Festival (which will be holding a “Secret Screening” next Friday, July 22 at the IMA), tickets to see this Indianapolis event are 10 for regular Indianapolis people and $5 for members of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. If you’re downtrodden, forgotten, and working for minimum wage, respond to Kevin Smith’s call to arms by checking out Clerks in downtown Indianapolis this Friday, July 15, 2011.

IMA Summer Nights Film Series Presents Clerks
Friday, July 15, 2011 at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets: $10/adults, $5/members
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Indianapolis Museum of Art

4000 N Michigan Rd
Indianapolis, IN 46208

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