Monday, November 08, 2010

Open letter to Kevin Smith

Stop being a douchebag.

Look. I've been excited about Red State for a long time. Since way back when you first started hinting about it.

I've long enjoyed your movies, but, Chasing Amy aside, I've largely enjoyed your personality and persona more than the movies themselves... especially in recent years when the movies have gotten less traction on average for me.

But along with the hope I've held for Red State, there's always been my desire to like what you do.

So, when I read things like Why Kevin Smith Hates Film Critics by Todd Brown, it's hard for me, because I think, "That guy is such a douchebag!"

I know that you have a lucrative career in large part because of critical reaction to Clerks and Chasing Amy. I know you've long credited Amy Taubin's negative but constructive review of Mallrats with pushing you to make Chasing Amy what it is.

This kind of behavior is beneath you. You're turning yourself into the Sarah Palin of Indie Cinema, spinning your own version of the world to your most extreme base of supporters.

Not to mention, the timing feels less like a moviemaker defending Cop Out against the onslaught of attack and more like someone preparing me and those like me that Red State will be the next Jersey Girl, dismissed by critics and those outside your deepest base, including those of us who may like to think of ourselves as fans.

This campaign seems dishonest, disingenuous and defensive, but worst of all, it just makes you sound like a douchebag.

I wish you all the luck in the world, I swear. And if this is the choice you wish to make with your career, and filling a smaller and smaller, but evermore passionate niche is what you want, then godspeed.

But I'll always miss the guy who seemed like a good guy we could all hang with, and won't go far to support this douchebag you're being now.


bill r. said...

Every so often, as in a series of interviews he gave prior to the release of COP OUT, Smith comes off as a decent, humble guy, and I root for him, even though I'm not a fan (although, strangely, I do like JERSEY GIRL). Then he'll just lose his mind, and his humility will wash away, and he just seems like kind of a hateful stoner prick. I'm more and more convinced that the latter is the real Kevin Smith.

Nice RED STATE poster, though.

Neil Sarver said...

Bill, I've generally liked his stuff, but I'm beginning to suspect the same.

Neil Sarver said...

Comment I left on the Facebook discussion of all of this:

I think the value of movie critics isn't advising which major release to see over the weekend. That's what kind of justifies the job of critics in major papers and such. It's a service a certain, shrinking, group of people appreciate and studios have traditionally valued as part of their publicity machine... and I think that part does work, especially considering how long they can run commercials, I think it tells some people that the movie actually is out this weekend.

Their value is in making known smaller movies or, depending on their range of subjects, forgotten movies. It's not the same as doing nothing, at least to be good, because a good critic brings critical thinking skills and persuasive writing to their work, which is what convinces people to see those things they might not otherwise have bothered with.

I'll agree that plenty of them are. Although I wouldn't bother to blame the job as much as Sturgeon's Law.

As far as paid bloggers, my experience is much the same. I have a pretty good size group of blogs I follow - or try to follow - and almost none of them are paid. The handful of times I've attempted to fold paid bloggers into my reading list, I usually end up dropping them for one reason or other.

But if this was Michael Bay, I'd roll my eyes and ignore it.

Kevin Smith, however, is famous because he made a $25,000 movie that no one would have heard of if movie critics hadn't noticed it and written generally good things about it. It may have made most of its money on video, but it wouldn't have gotten such a good video release without it minor theatrical success and critical praise.

Neil Sarver said...

I may need to write up a longer piece on movie critics... I missed a lot of points here.

Elgart said...

My most anticipated horror movie!

Neil Sarver said...

Mine, too.

What's the competition? Can we count At the Mountains of Madness by Guillermo Del Toro yet? If so, that wins.

Otherwise, definitely Red State.

Elgart said...

Quite confusing if that is the competition, but I will definitely check out Red State first.

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