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Batmanologist Kevin Smith
June 19, 2012 11:35 PM   Subscribe

Fatman on Batman, Kevin Smith's new podcast on all things Batman, so far featuring excellent interviews with Batman: The Animated Series alumni Paul Dini and Mark Hamill. (WARNING: Contains Kevin Smith. But he is knowlegable about the subject, asks goods questions and shuts up and listens to the answers. Yes I am as suprised as you are. Also you probably want to mash forwards hard for the ads at the begining. Also maybe some stuff at the end of his conversation with Paul Dini... shudder. And dear god! That picture! What the hell? Is he... is he? I don't want to think about it. But seriously, very good.)
posted by Artw (30 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
He may be knowledgeable on Batman minutiae, but when given the keys to the kingdom he produced one of the worst characterizations of Batman this side of Joel Schumacher. As much as I want to hear Paul Dini and Mark Hamill talk about Batman, I'm going to pass as long as Kevin Smith is in the room.

Also, this podcast is 3 episodes in, but is he going to actually talk to anyone involved in the comics or is this just Kevin Smith talks to people about BTAS?
posted by thecjm at 11:49 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


On one hand, I appreciate the caveat parenthetical and I'm a huge Batman fan, so maybe I'll give this a shot. But I also tried watching Kevin Smith's TV show Comic Book Men, and it was so bad that I quit before the first episode ended. So I don't know if I'm interested in giving him any more of my time.

Lots of people are knowledgeable about Batman, and Paul Dini has talked many times about the animated series. Is there any new ground covered here?
posted by cribcage at 12:05 AM on June 20, 2012


Only you can stop dudes talking about batman.
posted by The Whelk at 12:50 AM on June 20, 2012


Kevin Smith? Batman?
Two great flavours that go to... oh.
Sorry.
I wet myself.

Just. Like. Batman.

(Also, what cribcage said about Comic Shop Bros.)
posted by Mezentian at 12:58 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


He could ask Dini about the comics, since he wrote Detective Comics for a while, but he probably doesn't.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:09 AM on June 20, 2012


but when given the keys to the kingdom he produced one of the worst characterizations of Batman this side of Joel Schumacher

I haven't read Cacophony-- what's the big ol' problem?
posted by shakespeherian at 5:13 AM on June 20, 2012


When my son was learning to talk, he often produced truth from mis-pronunciation.
He called [the real] Batman (Adam West) 'Fatman'. Back when heroes were allowed to jiggle a little.
posted by MtDewd at 5:23 AM on June 20, 2012


shakespeherian - check out Chris Sims' write-up of Batman: The Widening Gyre #6 for Kevin Smith's Batman writing chops
posted by cadge at 5:37 AM on June 20, 2012


Wow, I remember when you had to read through two or three comments before the MeFi hatred of Kevin Smith reared its head. Now it pops up halfway through the FPP! Yay efficiency?



Seriously, can someone explain to me the Kevin Smith hatred? Granted, he's not perfect, and I haven't loved everything he's done. And his anti-critic stance is sort of weird and defensive. And his over-reliance on jokes about anal and oral sex can be grating. And he can come off as a bit self-absorbed at times.

But he's made some fine films that cover a fairly broad stylistic range (Clerks, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, Red State), he's managed to cleverly leverage a podcast about nothing in particular into what seems to be a fairly succesful Internet radio network, he's a reasonably quick and clever wit and entertaining raconteur, and as far as I can tell is apparently a pretty nice guy.

I mean, you don't have to love him, and there are aspects of him worthy of a bit of snark, sure. But these threads always seem to contain a lot of negativity, and in a world where Dane Cook, Adam Sandler, and Jeff Dunham are all, for some reason, successful and popular, I don't see why Kev Smith deserves that sort of hatred.
posted by DiscountDeity at 5:49 AM on June 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


DD, in my case it's a bit of pushback to the personality cult. You don't have to peg Smith as History's Greatest Monster, or even in Dane Cook's league of insufferability, to get tired of the schtick.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:03 AM on June 20, 2012


While sometimes I find Smith's schtick a little tiresome (I used to be a huge fan but following him on Twitter will wear one out quickly) I still like him and the majority of his movies and when he's just doing a conversational interview he's really great and has genuine enthusiasm. Moreover, the success he's had with podcasting is really impressive and something to aspire to with my own work (of course, the fact that he's Kevin Smith HELPS with that success just as it has with many "successful podcasters" but that's a rant for another day).

Really, I'd rather that he talked about Batman than wrote Batman so this should be held up as a Good Thing.
posted by HostBryan at 6:27 AM on June 20, 2012


Wow, I remember when you had to read through two or three comments before the MeFi hatred of Kevin Smith reared its head. Now it pops up halfway through the FPP! Yay efficiency?

Yeah, maybe I was a little over the top there. On the other hand after Comic Book Men my reaction to him was pretty much the same as our first few posters here, but the interview was with Paul Dini actually turned out to be great stuff, so there you go.


He could ask Dini about the comics, since he wrote Detective Comics for a while, but he probably doesn't.

Guess what?
posted by Artw at 6:28 AM on June 20, 2012


Also I laugh at the notion of "just" BTAS.
posted by Artw at 6:29 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seriously, can someone explain to me the Kevin Smith hatred?

I don't know about Kevin Smith hatred in general, but the derisive comments are pretty explicable when talking about Kevin Smith on Batman. Is there anyone who liked what he did with that character?
posted by painquale at 6:30 AM on June 20, 2012


shakespeherian - check out Chris Sims' write-up of Batman: The Widening Gyre #6 for Kevin Smith's Batman writing chops

oh dear
posted by shakespeherian at 7:07 AM on June 20, 2012


DiscountDeity: "Seriously, can someone explain to me the Kevin Smith hatred? "

There's a pretty apt line by Jesse Thorn. Something to the effect of, "There are only so many words about Kevin Smith that can be said in a day, and Kevin Smith uses up most of them."

I like most of his movies. And none of them are bad, even Jersey Girl. I'd put Clerks and Chasing Amy up there with my favorites.

But there's something about his career arc that I find utterly baffling. As he's gotten more famous, his artistic output has been stuff with a smaller and smaller audience. Jay and Silent Bob was his largest theatrical release by far; why was it so full of inside jokes?

And now, he's been saying for awhile that he's done making movies. And in his attempts to rebrand himself as a storyteller and raconteur-type guy, it's obvious that something is off. He doesn't have the slick stage-presence to be that kind of guy. Try watching one of his talking shows and taking a drink every time he says "whatnot." Hardcore fans will still go to his shows, but it's diminishing returns from here on out.

Having said all of that, I just watched Burn in Hell on Netflix and found it surprisingly good. The bits about his interactions with the Phelps family, his refreshingly open discussion of his own religious beliefs, the parts about his dad -- this was a Kevin Smith I'd pay to see. With a little more editing and rehearsal, it could be a very good one-man show.
posted by roll truck roll at 7:48 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm beginning to realize I missed a trick by not waiting for him to interview Frank Miller and watching the resultant head detonations.
posted by Artw at 8:03 AM on June 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


As he's gotten more famous, his artistic output has been stuff with a smaller and smaller audience.

Perhaps that was his goal all along, that's what he wants to do. Clerks and Mallrats and Chasing Amy really did appeal to a very niche audience, it's just that that niche exploded around the same time those movies came out. And you can't really blame the guy for making Jay & Silent Bob because A) that's what his audience sorta wanted, B) that's what the film execs (read: $$$) wanted. (Yes, I know he's an independant production company in and of himself). You can't really blame the guy for doing exactly what he did because those decisions made sense, both financially and artistically.

One might even think that the financial independence of doing those things is what allows him to delve into the minutiae of these niche markets. Most of the people who start off with the niche markets end up in obscurity, sorta like the hundred or so other people who did that one documentary that was great but you don't remember who they are and can't be bothered to look up whether or not they've done anything else since.

The confusion from myself and many others, revolves around why people despise him for not following the same played out path that many other independent producers went on. The fact that he's not sold out to the corporate world would at face value seem to delight his target audience. Yet, here everybody is, belittling him for it.
posted by Blue_Villain at 8:04 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I belittle him for making Batman pee his pants.
posted by painquale at 8:18 AM on June 20, 2012


I saw Kevin Smith here in Chicago just last week, thanks to a free ticket I almost turned down. The last time I saw him I was a regular listener of his podcast, but the show he put on was mostly full of stories I had heard from the podcast and ramblings about hockey, I was disappointed. I stopped listening to the podcast a while ago due to finding myself wanting to fast forward over large portions of it, I grew to find Kevin's pot induced fits of laughter tiresome. It's not that I didn't find the content funny, but there's only so much time you really want to commit to listening to one guy laughing at his and his buddy's jokes.

But like I said, I did go see him again and I really enjoyed it. I don't know if the stories were simply rehashed things that I would have heard from the podcast, but they were at least new to me. And he kept his mentions of hockey brief and on point. The sense I got from him was that while he loves telling stories (and if you don't think he's a good storyteller find the clip of him talking about his script work for an unproduced Superman film), he's found that the the film industry isn't rewarding enough on an emotional level. It takes years from an initial idea to having a finished product on screen. He find making the podcast to be much more immediate. He's also become disillusioned at how film financing works. For a movie that costs him $4 million to make, to be considered a success it needs to make almost $50 million at the box office
posted by borkencode at 8:35 AM on June 20, 2012


I've gone back and forth about Kevin Smith ever since Clerks came out. At the time, I thought it had a lot of problems as film, but that the story of its making and the time that it appeared in independent film history was more important than it's shortcomings. I also thought he showed enough potential as a filmmaker and screenwriter that he would overcome those shortcomings. But as he got further into his career, it didn't seem like the things that bothered me about his movies ever went away. If anything, they became more pronounced: the tendency to use ten words when two would do, the palpable need to prove "yes, yes, I'm an intelligent guy," the endless fascination with nerd culture minutiae and adolescent humor. I've liked some of his movies in the past few years (Zak and Miri Make a Porno, Red State), but at some point, they too have those patented Kevin-Smith-can't-edit-himself moments. And yet, I always enjoy his one-man shows. The stories are great, he has a strong sense of comic timing, an eye for details that really sell the story, and he has an interesting, looping sense of narrative where digressions fall back on the main story in illuminating ways. It's as though film doesn't let him expand enough. Bottom line, I think Kevin Smith films fall short because he's not a good filmmaker, but he's a great monologist.
posted by ga$money at 8:57 AM on June 20, 2012


I started as a huge Smith fan in high school and early college and became disillusioned with his movies about the time he got annoyed by the business. I think the product was still good but not revolutionary like Clerks was. But I love him as a storyteller. I adore the Evening With DVDs and was in attendance at the marathon session for his 37th birthday in Jersey. That thing went 8 hours and never got old.

The podcasts are hit or miss, depending on the cohost. I really enjoy Hollywood Babble-on because Ralph Garman is great, though I wish they would vary their targets a little beyond the traditional big-entertainment people. I stopped listening to Smodcast more than a year ago because it encouraged his pot-addled ramblings too much, and while I found Mosier funny, it was too disjointed to listen to anymore.

So I guess I'm saying I'm in the pro-Smith camp, but understand where a lot of people have problems with him.
posted by moviehawk at 9:01 AM on June 20, 2012


The podcast is exactly what it "says on the box." I enjoy it very much. I'm intrigued to see where he goes with it, beyond these introductory episodes (which yes, do focus a lot on BTAS, which is fine by me considering that's hundreds of hours of footage and a very influential part of the character's universe).
posted by trackofalljades at 9:53 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seriously, can someone explain to me the Kevin Smith hatred?

I used to be a big Smith fan, until around ten or twelve years ago when I started buying his DVDs and listening to the commentary tracks. He is a HUGE whiner, constantly complaining about how other people "don't get" his brilliant crap and messed everything up. It wasn't his fault that Mallrats sucked, or that his cartoon show didn't work out, all that. He burns bridges, openly slagging people off on his messageboard/blog/twitter/podcasts. Some people think this is "keeping it real" but it just makes it harder and harder for people in the industry to want to work with him. What kind of moron director complains about Bruce Freaking Willis being impossible to work with? Linda Fiorentino was another one he complained about, and nobody really cares about her, but seriously, how unprofessional can you get? If you actually want to be taken seriously and make movies in Hollywood, you have to learn to play their game to some extent.

And the FAT thing. He can't shut up about the fat thing! He's still talking about the too-fat-to-fly fiasco with Southwest! Every time he talks about himself, which is ALL THE TIME, he brings up his fatness! When he guested on Talking Dead, the first thing out of his mouth was something to the effect of "As a fat guy..."! The title of the linked thing in the OP is Fatman on Batman, BECAUSE HE'S FAT IN CASE YOU HAVEN'T HEARD HIS OH-SO-CHARMING SELF-DEPRECATING COMMENTS ABOUT IT A MILLION TIMES ALREADY.

He can't take criticism of any kind. (Remember how he reacted when Joel Siegel walked out of Clerks 2?) He walks around whining about his boo-boos all the time and has been doing it for years. It's baffling to me that anyone would want to talk to him, considering the way he acts whenever a perceived slight comes his way, but I suppose his passion for the genre is what keeps people coming back.
posted by Gator at 9:58 AM on June 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Absolutely, Harley Quinn and Iceman being big examples of that - both discussed at length in the Dini interview.
posted by Artw at 9:59 AM on June 20, 2012


(that being in response to trackofalljades)
posted by Artw at 10:00 AM on June 20, 2012


I think one of the conundrums he faces is that he's usually at his most entertaining when he's talking about his experiences in the movie industry. If he stops making movies and / or slags off enough important people that he can't get movies made or distributed, what does he have left to talk about? I think this thread has established, if nothing else, that listening to a stoned Kevin Smith talk about Batman is nowhere near as interesting as hearing about what Bruce Willis is like on set or kooky Hollywood producers who want Superman to fight giant ice spiders.
posted by ga$money at 10:28 AM on June 20, 2012


"What kind of moron director complains about Bruce Freaking Willis being impossible to work with?"

I took that whole bit as more of a self-deprecating schtick. The story as presented showed Smith as being starstruck and overly intimidated by Willis and showed Willis as being impatient with Smith for being unprofessional and ignorant of the basic technical skills expected of a Hollywood director. The whole thing was doubtless exaggerated for comedic effect, but I didn't get a sense that he was really denigrating Bruce Willis.
posted by tdismukes at 11:11 AM on June 20, 2012




Bruce Timm
posted by Artw at 5:24 AM on July 17, 2012


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