Hey folks, Harry here...
I don't get it. I've been watching on Twitter today in the wake of Kevin Smith's RED STATE teaser being released - and I apparently have missed the memo where it stated that I can no longer love Kevin Smith movies.
Now... Like most geeks, I know... we saw CLERKS in theaters upon initial release. Loved it. Visually it was rough, but that wasn't the point of the film. It was the writing and the character work that I fell in love with. Then I sat around as people declared Smith's sophomore effort, MALLRATS, a failure... and I laughed and loved the hell out of it.
Then he made CHASING AMY, which the world went gaga for. At least the online critic community. I loved it too, but it isn't my favorite Kevin Smith film. But it might be his best. After that came DOGMA, which alienated some, but I still was wickedly amused by it. The quotables alone make it worthwhile.
Then he made JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK, which is incredibly fun and relentlessly funny. Kevin was beaten about the head and shoulders about that film being nothing more than hilarious. Where was the social commentary, where was the "truth"? Well the "truth" was... it was meant to be funny, so if you laughed, you got the truth.
After Kevin had so much fun with that film, he got blasted - and he reacted with JERSEY GIRL. That film was grotesquely assailed by a media that came to the table with sharpened knives and a lascivious hunger for red meat. JERSEY GIRL is not the film that reviews claim it is. The performances by that little girl, Ben Affleck and George Carlin guarantee that you'll be entertained. Jennifer Lopez was fine, about what I expected from her at a time when she was beginning to really focus on her music life and less on film. I get that JERSEY GIRL wasn't a film for Kevin's base. But I could still clearly see a strong voice behind it all.
Next Kevin made CLERKS II.
CLERKS II is my favorite Kevin Smith film. I think it's because it was a film about exactly where I was. I was getting married & so was our hero. Not only that, but I fell insanely in love with Rosario Dawson, for all time & 6 weeks beyond that. Yoko is pretty much a dead on mix of Rosario in this, and Knives Chau from SCOTT PILGRIM. The scene where our heroes go Go-Karting is amazing. The inexplicable dance number was sublime. And I was ecstatic with the film.
ZACK & MIRI MAKE A PORNO was a victim of the Weinstein's continual disconnect from modern film marketing. It is hilarious. It was about the ideas that pop into our generations' heads when the economy goes to shit and we're just trying to keep the lights on. Noone has ever proposed to make a Porno with me. I have often regretted this.... as I'm totally method. But you'd have to be a humorless bitch to not laugh throughout.
That brings us to COP OUT. The low water mark of Kevin's career for me personally. When seen sober, it is very nearly intolerable... But because we all know Kevin is a stoner... I decided to get incredibly lit one night and see if COP OUT worked. It does. But man, watching that one straight - turpentine to the eyes. It hurts. Mainly, it comes down to Bruce Willis though. His character just doesn't work with the rest of the movie. It also is the least Kevin, Kevin Smith film.
Kevin Smith is never a better filmmaker than he's doing HIS thing HIS way. He's a niche filmmaker and I happen to fall into that niche. But the lunacy of my brother onliners that seem dead set on pitching a bitchfest on Kevin. It grates. It grates because it feels petty and mean. Mentioning Kevin in the same breath as the very worst filmmakers working today is complete and utter stupidity.
Critics that go into his films waiting for "truth" often times miss it when it is clearly on display. Sure there's a lot of dick and fart jokes... maybe a gay bestiality scene or two... but that has never clouded the truth for me.
Kevin Smith is very much about finding the right woman that allows you to be the grown infant that you want to be. I completely get that. That isn't to say his men can't deal with tough reality, they do, they do it with humor and with expressed emotion.
I find myself wondering how modern critics would have handled the character repetition of the classic silent & early sound comedians. Crying for them to grow up, to mature their films. But do they have to do that, to do what it is they're so good at. Ya know. Making us laugh.
What's my read on Kevin's RED STATE... I haven't a clue. I've been staying away from pretty much all information. With Kevin giving his writing a completely new genre to play in... well, I am curious to see what he comes up with.