Yes, Kevin Smith is polarizing, but the only reason you even know Kevin Smith started with Clerks. His explosion onto the stage with a low budget almost plot-less piece of art proved to an entire generation that Hollywood was no longer a closed-door affair. The price barrier to making a movie had dropped with tech getting smaller and cheaper. This movie showed what you could do with a group of friends, a decent script, and a modicum of effort.
Many have said that Kevin Smith should branch out in his style, then when he did people berated him for not sticking to what he knew. Ultimately his first film was a wake-up call to a generation of indie-directors, and on the whole that's been a good thing.
The sad part? A story about early 20s hipster geeks that have delusions that they're somehow superior then the customers they help. In the end, the revelation is that they're not better at all. This is a tough pill to swallow, especially for those of us that have self-esteem issues. One of the ways to make yourself feel good is to think that you're special and destined to be great. That's a crutch that makes us wait for greatness to come to us instead of actively seeking it. this movie highlights that lazy approach to greatness, and that this approach doesn't yield results. Tough love.
5. The Matrix
Don't think that these are in order. The Matrix isn't necessarily the most game-changey of all the game-changers. That being said, you can't say the idea that the world around you isn't real won't forever be attached in some way to this movie. Had it been released a little later than 1999, the internet probably would have spoiled the big plot idea. Luckily it found that sweet spot between a generation that felt oppressed by the one percent, and a technological revolution that made the ideas in this film plausible. The visuals were stylized and unique, the music was techno and cool, and like it or not it kinda defined the 90s and part of the 00s. Even Equilibrium a film that came out three years later with Christian Bale, was compared and marketed as similar to The Matrix.
The part that makes me sad is an easy-to-miss moment when Neo is in a car being driven to his next action scene. He comments that he used to eat noodles at a passing restaurant, the subtext is his realization that none of his life's memories actually happened. Consider all the small moments that make up a person's identity, suddenly and mathematically proven to be untrue. How he was able to function as a human being after that realization is beyond me, but perhaps speaking like Keanu Reeves is the worst of all possible fates.
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