The most famous scene in Clerks, the one that arguably made writer and director Kevin Smith’s career, is Randal and Dante’s conversation about building the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi. At a certain point in my life (when I was 15), I knew the whole thing. But even now, many (too many) years later, I can still recall bits and pieces, like the Quick Stop customer ending Randal and Dante’s argument by noting that “any contractor willing to work on that Death Star knew the risks. If they were killed, it was their own fault.”
It’s good stuff.
Clerks was released in October 1994, the same month that another titan in independent cinema came out: Pulp Fiction. (Both films even had the same distributor, Miramax.) Quentin Tarantino, a former-video store clerk, and Smith, a former-convenience store clerk, have crossed paths many times over the years (Silent Bob showed QT an early cut of Clerks 2), including Smith’s daughter, Harley Quinn, having a role in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
“Loving making #JayAndSilentBobReboot with my kid but I’m waaaaaay ecstatic to see Harley in the @OnceInHollywood trailer,” the Jay and Silent Bob Reboot director tweeted about the Once Upon a Time trailer. “As a huge Quentin geek who was inspired to write the Death Star contractors scene after watching Reservoir Dogs, seeing my daughter in his 9th Film is a trip!”
Smith has raved about Reservoir Dogs in the past, calling the “Like a Virgin” scene at the beginning of the movie “life changing” for him. “I was like, ‘We’re allowed to talk about other movies in movies now? I WANT IN!!!’ Because that was my whole world and lexicon then: movies. My friends and I didn’t have real conversations as much as we quoted RAISING ARIZONA at one other. So when I saw Q’s characters doing it, I felt empowered to do it with my characters as well. And that was CLERKS.” And now his daughter’s in a Tarantino movie.
Unlike convenience store customers, Hollywood can be pretty great sometimes.