It may seem hard to believe, but Kevin Smith’s seminal debut film, Clerks, was released 26 years ago! The 1994 movie, which chronicled a day in the life of a couple of convenience store (and video store) clerks, was shot for a reported $25,000 and wound up grossing $3 million and made Kevin Smith a player in Hollywood.

From its humble beginnings (shot at the real convenience store in Leonardo where Smith worked in black and white), the film became such a cultural touchstone that last year it was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” It kickstarted Smith’s career as he established the View Askew Universe, subsequently producing such films as Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, and Clerks II, among many others. Clerks also introduced us to stoners Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Smith himself) who had recurring roles in later Smith films.

The two main characters in Clerks are Dante, the convenience store clerk (I’m not even supposed to be here today!), and his best friend, Randall, the slacker clerk at the nearby video store.

Much of the plot centers on a love triangle Dante has with Veronica (his current girlfriend whose sexual history bothers him) and Caitlin, his former girlfriend who has an awkward encounter with a corpse in a bathroom. Dante and Randall also have a fight regarding their lack of advancement in the world, a theme that was the focus of the sequel Clerks II.

If you have never seen Clerks, I highly recommend it.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.