Calling all denizens of the View Askewniverse! Your coffee table is boring! I hate to be the one to tell you this but I’d rather you heard it from a friend. I know you tried to spruce it up with that colored glass bowl that you throw your keys into, but you need something with a little more flair and street cred. You’re in luck, ‘cause I’ve found just the thing!
David Gati has painstakingly compiled this impressive collection of anecdotes, photos, and fan art to celebrate the catalogue of cult icon Kevin Smith’s films as well as the (genuinely) record-setting fervor of the fans he’s garnered throughout his thirty years in the business. After exhaustively combing through hours and hours of Smith’s own words from spoken word concerts, Q&A’s, interviews, and podcasts, David has cherry-picked the best bits about each of Kevin’s films to give wider context to their conceptualization, casting, filming, and reception.
Starting from his humble beginnings as a clerk, himself, Kevin recounts his inspiration from Richard Linklater’s SLACKER that drove him to make a small, personal film starring his friends and their tedium, which went on to become a tentpole of the independent film renaissance of the 1990s. Inadvertently transforming the way we tell stories, Smith went on to make fifteen films (so far), each tackling different perspectives on existence in America, one’s sense of self, our interpersonal relationships, and our roles and responsibilities as fans. Gati’s delightful book finds its brilliance in the inclusion of perspectives outside of Smith’s, with fan art, testimonials, film reviews, and a nod to his Guinness World Record. Yes, in case you’re not aware, Smith holds the Guinness World Record for Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Jay & Silent Bob on August 5th, 2017 in Red Bank, New Jersey.
The book held a few revelations for me (David Schwimmer in CHASING AMY?) while mostly serving as a time capsule of sorts for the concurrent years Smith grew as a filmmaker and I grew as a person. There is plenty of insight within, as even those with passing interest know that Kevin Smith is the Chattiest of Kathys. Gati, himself, was able to “interview” Smith about the production of 2019’s JAY & SILENT BOB REBOOT, which makes up the entirety of the book’s entry on Smith’s thirteenth film. I use “interview” in quotes because Gati gives Smith one prompt and, like a string pulled on Malibu Stacy, Smith goes on for NINETEEN PAGES. One prompt, no additional questions or probes for elaboration; nineteen pages. Proof that no one can interview an open book.
But you, dear reader, you can open this book and bask in the warming glow of Smith’s films, his adoration for his fans, and their devotion to him and his work. I noticed while reading that there was little mention of the Smith films that weren’t or almost were, nor much on his work in front of the camera, but I realized, selfishly, that the book never promised such extra fat. This is KEVIN SMITH: HIS FILMS AND FANS, and it delivers just that, and in spades.
If you’re not a acolyte you might not find much to convert you in these pages, however, if you’re a true fan, a flag-waving member of the View Askewniverse, you’ll find plenty to adore in these pages. You’ll see another perspective on your favorite films, beautiful artwork created by like-minded individuals, and you might just see something of yourself within.
KEVIN SMITH: HIS FILMS AND FANS is available now through Schiffer Publishing, and can be ordered on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or wherever you buy quality books. Until next time, stay weirdly you! You’re the only one who can!
-McEric, aka Eric McClanahan-