Tag Archives: That Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith – tough on airlines, not biggest Bruce Willis fan.

Image

I make no bones about being a Kevin Smith fan.  Even if “Clerks” had been the totality of his output and he had never made another film, one could make a case for his being an original and engaging cinema voice quite unlike any other.

Thankfully, he has made more than a few films well worthy of viewing – I regularly put “Mallrats” in for a viewing, love the hell out of “Dogma” as a statement on faith and think “Clerks 2” may be that rare sequel which is better than the original instalment in the series.

Even films like “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” get regular play from me – it isn’t big, it certainly isn’t clever but its profane warmth, Morris Day and The Time climactic dance number and George Carlin cameo make it worth checking out every couple of years.  And I like “Jersey Girl” without any irony whatsoever – I think it’s a charming and oddly truthful look at being an adult and trying to negotiate your dreams and balance far-fetched notions with the demands of family.

My issues with Smith’s recent output are shared by the director himself in his new book, “Tough Shit – Life Advice From a Fat Lazy Slob Who Did Good”.

He seems bemused and chastened by the failure of “Zack and Miri Make A Porno” – which I confess to having found not very interesting when I watched half of it a few years ago.  It’s still on my Blu-Ray shelf, waiting to be watched completely and probably isn’t anywhere near as annoying as I found it on initial viewing.

Reflecting on the fact that he somehow managed to end kindred spirit Seth Rogen‘s box office winning streak when they worked together, Smith is quick to note that by the time that “Zack and Miri” came around, his films were increasingly informed by cinema as an art form itself rather than any resemblance to real life and suffered accordingly for that disconnection from the audience.

Still, at least I own “Zack and Miri” – I have yet to find a copy of Smith’s subsequent major studio Bruce Willis vehicle “Cop Out” online which is cheap enough to persuade me to buy it.  I rented the film and made my way through twenty minutes before getting the distinct sense that A) Bruce Willis was phoning it in and B) That Kevin, if not quite at the phone booth, was certainly in the queue behind Willis and making ready to do same.

Image

Reading Smith’s new book, it’s a wonder that he made it through the shoot without giving the once and future John McClane a richly deserved kick in the unmentionables.

Diva antics like you wouldn’t believe, a refusal to turn up and y’know act, and a distinct sense that he stopped enjoying his work many years ago – Willis doesn’t come over well and this negative pen portrait is only enhanced by Smith employing the same degree of lacerating analysis to himself, so as to neatly sidestep any accusations of placing the blame for an underperforming film on its lead actor in a bid to excuse his own shortcomings as a film maker – short comings which Smith is only too keen to point out at regular intervals in the book.

It’s an enjoyable read and a neat spin on the traditional self-help/motivational tome which clogs up bookstores the planet over – Smith’s central thesis is that life is so unavoidably finite and essentially devoid of meaning that any minute spent doing something that you hate is a moment too long.

Admittedly, in Smith’s case, such vocational pursuits are usually studio films with a decent pay cheque attached but the point is well made – if you’re going to check out from this planetary orbit in thirty or so years, you may as well do so having spent your life engaged in things which make you happy.

Any ideas on how to turn wearing cargo shorts, liking unhip European metal bands and tickling my dog’s belly into a mortgage-paying career opportunity will be gratefully received.

7 Comments

Filed under Films, Geekery

An Evening With Kevin Smith

The Man, the myth, the lovely baseball jersey...

The Man, the myth, the lovely Hockey jersey…

Further to Dave’s suggestion, I am more than happy to share my thoughts on Kevin Smith‘s latest visit to these shores.

He was dead funny and really cool.

You require more, perchance?

A view of the IndigO2

A view of the IndigO2

The venue was well chosen, if a little out of the way:  The IndigO2 is a reasonably sized theatre venue which nestles in a corner of the massive O2 complex in Greenwich, London (It’s the former Millennium Dome, if you haven’t had the pleasure of visiting it yet).  It’s reachable by Tube and the Docklands Light Railway, but it’s still something of a trek.  There are plenty of places to eat, but all of them operate what can charitably be described as ‘Capital Pricing’ – just enough to make you complain, but not enough that you consider going without a meal.

We sat towards the rear of the stalls, but still had a great view, room to stretch out and easy access to the bar – and Kevin’s fan base is very conversant with alcohol, if you catch my drift.  Fans were an amiable bunch – an excellently geeky and diverse crowd, with kudos going to eventual star of the evening, Kevin Latter, whose stood in front of us in the queue outside (you’ll see him on stage in the video linked at the end of this post).

The show itself was everything that I hoped it would be – Kevin started off the evening with a truly splendid anecdote about breaking an employee toilet, which embodied the blend of social embarassment, absurdity and vulgar wit which makes his movies and worldview such a joy to embrace.

After the twenty minute mark, Kevin opened up the floor to questions and fans made a beeline for the microphones set up in the stalls and circle.  I had contemplated making just such a run but thought better of it on seeing the queues instantly assemble.

We had a variety of queries, from the usual “Where’s Jason Mewes tonight?” – living his own life and doing his own thing – to questions about his writing (which, as a currently studying screenwriter, particularly caught my attention).  Other bloggers who were there have noted the only shark-jumping moment of the night, which came from an overly earnest and ultimately ill-advised fellow who wanted to discuss the tragic murder of actress/writer/director Adrienne Shelly and made an excruciatingly long five minute sojourn into the hows and wherefores of her death (Kevin has worked with the Foundation set up after her death and offered charity benefit prizes as a result).  Right cause, wrong venue.

When the only criticism you can offer is that the evening went on a little bit too long – we left at 11:30pm in order to catch a train back to the hotel, but many others were leaving much earlier – that really speaks to the enjoyment had by all.  He’s a really engaging storyteller who deserves a larger audience and the very antithesis of the egotistical Hollywood power player (by his own admission, he’s anything but that).

Leave a comment

Filed under Films, Fluffrick, Geekery