Nine Reasons I Don’t Like Kevin Smith Anymore
Towards the end of the 1990s I finished high school and went on to study cinema at university, and for the first time in my life I was surrounded by people who were equally infatuated with the silver screen. Even better I’d found people who’d heard of the film makers I’d heard of – like Kubrick, the Coens and Kevin Smith. We had a particular love for the works of Kevin Smith. Why? Because he did it in a way we could do it.
He didn’t use studio backing, he didn’t have the friend of the friend to get him into the biz and he wasn’t beholden to financial backers. He’d sold his comic collection, used his minimum wage workplace as a setting and made a cult hit. Clerks was edgy, true to life, backed with memorable characters and darkly funny – basically it was the movie we all envisioned ourselves making. Off the strength of his indie film he launched himself into the film business. These days we look at Peter Jackson as the director who pulled off this trick with real success.
These days…well…I don’t like him. And it’s not just that his current movies suck. But I suppose that’s as good a place as any to get started…
#9 – His New Movies Suck
Sure you may have been able to find something to enjoy about Red State. We didn’t, as you can find out by clicking here and here. It was an original and topical concept poorly executed. If you feel that the level of humour and story that was present in Mallrats enough to carry another entire movie then you may have found Zack and Miri Make a Porno worth the time it took to watch it. Other than that we have a muddled big budget sequel to an indie starter film from more than a decade previously, Jersey Girl and Cop Out. If you think you can defend the last one on the list then you are provably wrong.
Most film makers will improve over time. Kevin Smith doesn’t. There’s a reason for it.
#8 – He Can’t Accept Criticism
Every film-maker, no matter how good they are, will face criticism from fans and critics alike. Even if they produce a smash hit there’s going to be some people who don’t see it the same way as the masses or some nits that people will pick. There really are two adult ways to deal with criticism when working in the public arena. You can turn a blind eye to it, ignore it entirely and rely on your own judgement and that of those you respect, or make a genuine effort to learn from the criticism and take on another person’s point of view.
“Writing a nasty review for #CopOut is akin to bullying a retarded kid who was getting a couple chuckles from the normies by singing AFTERNOON DELIGHT … All you’ve done is make fun of something that wasn’t doing you any harm and wanted only to give some cats a some fun laughs.
If you don’t want to take an adult approach you can routinely argue with members of the public over the internet and try and point out why their criticisms are wrong. For bonus points you can feature a sub-plot in a movie that shows you responding to online criticism by going around the people’s houses and beating them up. And the people you are beating up are children.
#7 – He Can’t Get Over Himself
Narcissism takes human form in Kevin Smith. Everything he does is worth of public attention. Jason Mewes joins him for a live show that features the two of them having a conversation? DVD release! He spends half of every day sitting on the toilet reading about himself on the internet. Publish his journal! Rarely an interview or cameo appearance will go by without requiring some kind of special edition DVD and action figure tie-in. Only the most die-hard fan could possibly find any of this interesting, and only the most adamant ego-maniac could think people would want to see it. He’s still under the impression that he’s the main selling point for any project he’s involved in. The tagline for Red State runs along the lines of ‘a surprising movie from that Kevin Smith’. Because people are so enamoured with him and his unique style they’d be downright shocked by any variation from the norm.
Pay money to watch conversations between a washed up indie film director and a recovering drug addict!
#6 – He Airs His Dirty Laundry in Public
Not every meeting in Hollywood leads to a movie being greenlit. More often than not they’ll not be able to follow through on a project with the intended people involved. One reason this may happen is that some people, such as a writer and director or producer, couldn’t see eye-to-eye on the film. Naturally most people don’t take their grievances into the public arena.
Kevin Smith does. His writing job of Superman falls through so he starts blasting Tim Burton in public, likewise with producer Sonnenfeld. He doesn’t work well with Bruce Willis, so he turns it into a public issue. If he thinks this makes him sound anything other then petty he is sorely mistaken. Sometimes he takes it to an extraordinary level of pettiness.
#5 – He’s Extraordinarily Petty
As said in the introduction to this piece Kevin Smith was seen to be something of a hero to us young film students. The fact that he was so accessible to his fans made him even cooler. But then we saw the way he responded to his fans. Responding to criticism from professional critics is one thing…spending your entire day personally arguing with comments made on fan forums is another matter entirely. Then you have the really over-blown events like his issue with Southwest Airlines.
For those out of the Kevin Smith loop (and who could blame you) in 2010 he was expected to fly on Southwest Airlines but was asked to leave the flight by the pilot who saw his level of obesity as a safety hazard. They offered him compensation, which he turned down, before unleashing an unbelievable amount of bile onto the internet. He used twitter to attack the airline for maintaining safety standards, dedicated two hour long podcasts to the issue and released a ridiculous TWENTY-FOUR video responses on youtube. After that he should go to the hardware store, buy some timber, build a bridge, and get over it.
#4 – He doesn’t Finish his Work
Nobody likes it when a writer or film-maker puts a story out into the public but doesn’t finish it. Sometimes it’s out of their hands, such as Twin Peaks and Firefly, which were taken off the air before Lynch and Whedon (respectively) could finish them to their satisfaction. Sometimes it’s just because they writer is lazy, and in this case it is by the writer’s own admission that laziness is the cause here.
Considering the disdain I have for Smith in this feature you’d think that I wouldn’t care much about such an issue, but here’s the rub: there was one project that still generated some respect for the man. He’d written a Batman story and it was pretty decent (except that weird bit about The Joker accepting cash to bang a dude) and then he wrote a sequel that was better. The sequel ended on a cliff-hanger with the promise of a concluding volume. It never turned up. Two years have passed and nothing is on the horizon. Seriously uncool. Maybe he’s just run out of ideas.
#3 – He’s Got a Bad Attitude Towards Parenting
Being a parent is a great thing. If you’ve tried it you’d know. Kevin Smith is a parent and I’m sure that he loves his daughter very much. But what the hell was going on in Jersey Girl?! The movie was released in the years following the birth of his daughter and much of the humour in that movie is about how horrible parenting is. The main character goes from being a high-powered business-man to a poor blue collar schmoe who has to live with at his parent’s house because he has a child. His sex life goes to a complete zero and he sneakily rents porn because he has a child. Changing a nappy is the most horrific thing a person could face. Smith has based much of his early work off his personal life. Hopefully this wasn’t the case here.
#2 – His Autobiographies Paint the Picture of an Unpleasant Person
For some reason Smith felt the need to publish his personal journal. Reading it will tell you the following things about Kevin Smith. He feeds himself and his family fast food for three meals every day. He spends several hours each morning sitting on the toilet with a laptop. He spends so long sitting on the toilet every morning that he developed an anal fissure and had to be told by a medical professional to stop spending so much time sitting on the toilet. He may also spend so much time sitting on the toilet because he eats fast food three times a day. He also complains about being fat and claims that he his so self-conscious that he keeps a shirt on during sex. Not so self-conscious that he published a book in which he reveals to the public that he put his junk in his wife’s butt.
Plus there’s all the issues of being petty listed above, they come through pretty strong. He complains at length about anyone who criticizes him. No doubt he did this from the toilet
#1 – He’s Not Going to Make Another Good Film
There’s quite a few things standing in the way of Smith making a good movie. For one thing he can’t work with anyone other than his friends. Whenever he’s tried to make a movie with people outside of his personal circle of stoners and buddies it’s backfired on him.
A key example would be the fallout from Cop Out during which it got out that Bruce Willis had clashed with Smith over his style of (or lack thereof) directing. Willis’ gripe was that Smith wouldn’t actually direct the actors but get stoned and sit behind the monitor all day. Smith countered by saying that being stoned makes him more creative and work harder and that the actors didn’t need his direction. One could further counter this by pointing out that the movie showed little in the way of creativity, effort or direction, so whatever he was smoking, it didn’t work for him.
The second barrier between Smith and a good film is his inability to handle anything new. Occasionally he’d claim that he was moving past his ‘Jay and Silent Bob’ universe stories, but then he’d go running back to them the moment he staggers while taking a new path. Even with Zack and Miri Make a Porno the Jason Mewes character was Jay in everything but name.
After the lack of success seen by Red State and Cop Out he’s declared that he’ll retire from directing, focusing on recording his nonsensical conversation and charging people money for them. At this point it’ll be best if he sticks that one out.