Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith. Plain and simple. That's the only title I can give this post. You'll see why.

When the current poll expires tomorrow, I'm replacing it with a Kevin Smith poll, because I have a question and I'm genuinely interested in seeing it answered. Come back to see the question and vote, please do. I have no idea what the answer will be.

At Comic-Con this weekend, Tim Kring announced that Kevin Smith will be writing and directing one of the Heroes Origins episodes. My immediate thought was: Who will care? Now, that's not a statement that nobody will care but a genuine question. Who will care?

Maybe I'm being blind, but Smith seems to have suffered a serious drop-off in interest over the last few years. Emphasis on the seems. Maybe its just in my circle, or the areas of the web I frequent, but it looks to me like nobody has anywhere nearly the amount of interest in Kevin Smith that they used to. Nobody likes him as much; nobody dislikes him as much.

Is Kevin Smith now just part of the geek furniture? And is this furniture getting unfashionable as well as slightly uncomfortable?

I didn't much care for Clerks 2 at all. It struck me as somewhat forced, overly familiar if not exactly cliched, and smacking of amateurism. I was tempted to buy the DVD because, for whatever reason, I absolutely love DVD special features and Smith and Co are really pretty good with those. In fact, I still might. I'm far more interested in seeing the special features on a Smith DVD than the film itself - and I'm also not entirely sure that's a bad thing.

While Zack and Miri sounds rather uninspiring, and the much-distributed script excerpt didn't so much wash over me as wander past me, on the other side of the street in a crowd of anonymous, faceless passers by, I do have some hope for Red State. Forced to step out of his cinematic comfort zone much more than usual, Smith might actually deliver soemthing fresh (though still quite undernourished in many ways, I'd expect, and hardly perfectedly crafted in any audio-visual technical sense).

Judd Apatow is delivering more of what Smith promised in each film than Smith has managed in four of his films combined.

Chasing Amy is, for my money, Smith's best work - it has his voice, it sustains an interesting argument, it has a argely untroubled narrative flow, the cast are, on average, the best he's had. Clerks I definitely enjoyed - though I felt it suffered from a Christmas every-day disease, where you could loop it, have a mobius strip of Clerks, and no matter where you started watching, you'd find it very funny for twenty or thirty minutes then find, in fact, it was grinding you down somewhat. Score another point for Smith on DVD - Clerks in small doses is all the more viable.

And my next favourite of his films? Jersey Girl. Not a popular choice - it is somewhat underrated. But mark my words - my selection wasn't going to be any of the others. Least favourite: Dogma, which is barely a film, but an illustrated radio play and a droning, unsubtle one at that, perfunctorily illustrated and not making full use of the wonderful potential of radio at all.

Let alone the potential of film.

So, are you excited that Kevin Smith will be 'doing' Heroes? Why? And should I be?


Mark said...

As if to prove your point, I couldn't be arsed formulating a defense for Smith.

Loved MALLRATS, though. Jason Lee's finest, pre-MY NAME IS EARL, moment.

Anonymous said...

If you read any of his superhero comic writing(Daredevil, Green Arrow), you would see why it makes sense, and why i am excited.

J. Kyle said...

I'm kind of ambivalent about Kevin Smith. I thought he was funny when I was in high school, but as I get older the less I enjoy his movies. The Jay and Silent Bob film is one of the few that I actually wanted my money back after seeing.

I appreciate what you say about Jersey Girl. I think it's his best work. And for what it's worth, my wife has always sung the praises of Chasing Amy.

Oh, and I think his superhero comic writing is very disappointing. I'm a huge Daredevil fan, and I thought the story he wrote was very mediocre.

Trevor said...

A friend of mine once said: "Kevin Smith is like Red Dwarf, you grow up." Kind of sums it up in the geekyest way possible.

Spot 1980 said...

The problem with Smith is that he completley ruined all his geek good will by billing Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back as his last "Dick and Fart Jokes Movie". He defended how truly jouvenile the movie was by continually talking about how he was now going to become "a real filmmaker" and how he was "done with this universe". Basically, he suddenly presented himself as too good for his own fan base, people who he characterized as liking fart jokes instead of real cinema. Then, Jersey Girl completely bombs, and what happens? He makes Clerks 2!! After a couple solid years of talk about how he had left that stupid universe behind and how he was becoming a real filmmaker, the first thing he does after his first real bomb is run back to the freakin well. The well he had been pissing in for the last few years. Sorry, you can't tell your fan base to go f*ck themselves, and then come running back to them when you realize there is no one else out there to support you.

droidguy1119 said...

Clerks II is ok. I think the one moment near the end in the jail between Dante and Randal, the scene Smith cites as the reason to make the movie, is brilliant and affecting. The jokes in the movie, not so much. Some of them are great, some of them are corny. Still, I like him and I will continue to see the films he makes.

Anonymous said...

Glad you agree with me Brendon that Dogma sucks.

I think his films are personal in some way, the truth of modern suburbia. That is interesting maybe twice. Time to move on. I agree that Apatow is much more funny, and more promising to continue that funny trend a little longer.