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January 24, 2011 7:58 AM   Subscribe

Kevin Smith brought a new film to Sundance, Red State. But he's not looking for a deal. He's going to distribute himself with no advertising. And not talk to the press. And quit making films to concentrate on distributing other indie film makers. Smith explains his plans at the screening (30min Vimeo) (NSFW)
posted by fearfulsymmetry (96 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
As soon as I read the post, I knew, I knew that that would be the first comment.

Sigh.
posted by pts at 8:08 AM on January 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I knew what the second comment was going to be, and the third (mine) and the fourth.
posted by sleevener at 8:09 AM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, good luck to him. But he doesn't have disruptive technology on his side, in the same way that, say, an online retailer does. At least not yet. Pay-per-view is run by studios. Theaters still make money by selling popcorn to the butts that go into seats.

Kevin Smith's ideas : Movie Studios :: Peal Jam's ideas : TicketMaster

You know, if he really wanted money and creative freedom, he'd be selling movies and shows to HBO, Showtime and Starz.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:11 AM on January 24, 2011


I've always appreciated that Smith doesn't particularly care to make "good" films, just cranks out whatever is interesting to him at a particular point in time and has fun with it. Yeah, it feels like the kind of cinema you'd expect from the dope dealer who lives downstairs, but that's kind of the point. He's just giving you his take on the world: sloppy, inconsistent, all over the map, and sometimes f***ing hilarious.

And good on him for the concentration on distribution. That's been the Achilles Heel of independent cinema for better part of a hundred years now. I look forward to seeing how all of this plays out.
posted by philip-random at 8:12 AM on January 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


Now if we can just make sure he quits writing Batman comics...
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:13 AM on January 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


I've always appreciated that Smith doesn't particularly care to make "good" films, just cranks out whatever is interesting to him at a particular point in time and has fun with it.

That's not even close to true. Kevin Smith seems to crave critical and financial success more than anything. When Zack and Miri had a poor opening weekend he basically quit his podcast and didn't leave his house for a good month or so.

It's sad, because I think Kevin Smith is a pretty funny guy, but this seems like him self-destructing after a not-that-well-received screening. I really don't see self-distribution going all that well for him.
posted by graventy at 8:16 AM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Kevin Smith is going to quit making films! Best news I've heard all day.

Haters. You gotta love 'em.
posted by ericost at 8:17 AM on January 24, 2011


Kevin Smith makes a film. You hate Kevin Smith films. You don't watch the Kevin Smith film.

It's not that hard is it?

So maybe turn down the grar a bit?
posted by charles kaapjes at 8:17 AM on January 24, 2011 [11 favorites]


Bring back Reaper!
posted by Artw at 8:19 AM on January 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yes, that is great that Kevin Smith has quit making films! I don't know what I'll do with that extra two hours of my life every so often when someone forces me at gunpoint to watch one of his movies. I'm glad that onerous burden has been lifted from me. Now if Taylor Swift would stop touring I wouldn't have to be dragged to her concerts anymore!
posted by marxchivist at 8:19 AM on January 24, 2011 [19 favorites]


Now if we can just make sure he quits writing Batman comics...

Wait, the bit where Batman is yelling at Robin about dicks is pretty good.
posted by Mister_A at 8:19 AM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I feel bad for all these people who are apparently forced to watch Kevin Smith movies against their will. Smith has been up to some really interesting things lately, and the film industry is due the same dismantling the music industry is undergoing. This sort of thing is how it's going to start.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:20 AM on January 24, 2011


Whatever your opinion of Smith's films might be, it is important to recognize that he has selected a particularly hard path to go down, even with his status, and that his success might mean more open doors for films which are not the latest recycled blockbuster. His success might mean the ratio of Michael Bay at your local cinema would drop, and I think we can all get behind that.
posted by adipocere at 8:21 AM on January 24, 2011 [11 favorites]


I don't know why I'm surprised, but he is STILL going on about the too-fat-to-fly fiasco! Unreal. This guy is like a walking open wound, and has been walking around wailing about his boo-boos for years. It used to be on his messageboard, and then he finally sort of cooled off on that and started his blog, and then he kind of cooled off with that and started Tweeting and podcasting, but whatever the medium, he just refuses to shut up about all the people who wrong him. And his fans just lap it all up with a spoon. Where do I sign up to get rich whining about all the people who insult me?
posted by Gator at 8:22 AM on January 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Bring back Reaper!

This!
posted by CaseyB at 8:22 AM on January 24, 2011


Primarly he'll go down in history as the bouncy castle that launched Ben Affleck to sucess.
posted by Artw at 8:23 AM on January 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Huh, I hadn't heard about this movie. A Kevin Smith horror movie. I'm actually a little curious about it. His writing is so self-aware... I can't decide whether it will detract from the scariness, or add to the typical horror movie campiness.
posted by painquale at 8:23 AM on January 24, 2011


Hey English Mefites - was the movie released as Clarks in the UK?
posted by Mister_A at 8:26 AM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


So maybe turn down the grar a bit?

So, seriously. I gotta grar. Kevin Smith made Batman piss his pants. And it wasn't even in one of the comics that Smith wrote (he saved 'Batman gives woman eleven orgasms' for that one), but instead he retroactively added the peepants to Frank Miller's Year One book.

Now as for Kevin Smith doing an independent film distribution network, that could actually work out. He's really good at drumming up attention for things he's passionate about. Does he still have a working relationship with Ben Affleck? I remember around the time Affleck became a walking punchline ("Bennifer"), he sort of retreated and started work on helping out indie projects (Project Greenlight).
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:26 AM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm glad that onerous burden has been lifted from me.

Much like the onerous burden of feeling personal offense anytime somebody snarks about Kevin Smith.
posted by kingbenny at 8:26 AM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Kevin Smith's ideas : Movie Studios :: Peal Jam's ideas : TicketMaster

Pearl Jam's problem, as much as I followed it, was that they tried to take on Ticketmaster on Ticketmaster's terms (in their big deal venues, in markets they had all sown up). A noble stand but ultimately Quixotic and, strangely self-indulgent.

What Smith has going for is that he doesn't really give a shit. He doesn't fancy himself some high-end, serious artist. He's just a guy who cranks shit out and doesn't care for the finer points. Certainly, this has been the case when he's proven successful.

And his timing might be perfect. Due to digital tech, raw production and post-production costs are lower now than they've EVER been in the history of cinema. So you don't need to make gazillions at the box office to be successful anymore. But you do need to get your small, cheap, weird (possibly even good) movies to your audience, and the independent film biz still hasn't figured out a model for this that doesn't somehow include Big Bad Hollywood.

Maybe a guy like Kevin Smith getting serious about reinvigorating the "4-Walling" concept is exactly what it's going to take.
posted by philip-random at 8:30 AM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sundance-volunteer-and-long-time-MeFi-lurker-here:

I can tell you that the crowd outside the screening was hilarious. Between the presence of Fred Phelps and the WBC being boxed in by the students of Park City High School giving them a Dadaist middle finger and the desperation of festival-goers to get in, it's the high point of the festival so far.

@Graventy: I think his Zack and Miri experience is a large part of the reason why he's decided to self-distribute. As I understand it, he blames shoddy & wasteful marketing for the commercial failure of what should have been an easy sell, to say nothing of theater chains getting cold feet based solely on the title.

Oh, and he still plans to make a hockey movie and Clerks 3 before retiring from directing, which should give the haters more chances to be snarky gits.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 8:30 AM on January 24, 2011 [13 favorites]


Am I the only one who thought he was filming Red Son at first?
posted by Eideteker at 8:34 AM on January 24, 2011


This seems like a pretty good movie to use to start up his new distribution scheme. Fred Phelps can do all his advertising for him.
posted by painquale at 8:38 AM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


"This time it's not enough to just make the movie. We have to learn how to release the movie. Because true independence isn't making a film and selling it to some jackass. True independence is shlepping that shit to the people yourself, and that's what I intend to do."

Neat little vision for what "independent" film means. Nice to have Kevin Smith have a bit of fire under his ass. The jobbing director thing clearly was not as fulfilling as it was cracked up to be.
posted by artlung at 8:42 AM on January 24, 2011


Gator -I had only a vague understand of the story-about-the-story but after hearing him recount how the airline handled the "too fat to fly" thing on Marc Maron's podcast, I'm glad he's been bitching about it.

It seems like every time anyone complains about big business or big business-friendly government, there's a pack of monkeys ready to label them a shrill, elitist crybaby.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:43 AM on January 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


Pearl Jam's problem, as much as I followed it, was that they tried to take on Ticketmaster on Ticketmaster's terms (in their big deal venues, in markets they had all sown up).

Simply put, Pearl Jam toured in non-TicketMaster venues and were only marginally successful; fans complained that the tactic only made it more difficult to attend shows.

I think Smith is going to run into essentially the same problem. He's not going to be able to sell films to, say, AMC and Lowes, if those theaters are all booked solid with mainstream films that guarantee the chains with marketing spends. He'll sell to smaller chains and indie theaters, which means making it more difficult for people outside of big cities to see his films.

There are other means of funding and distribution, of course -- his DVDs always sell quite well, for example. And he has a base of die-hard fans. But I think the TicketMaster analogy holds.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:45 AM on January 24, 2011


Anybody that can hate this much over a film-maker needs a life! Good lord, people, the world was not created to meet your own personal tastes and desires...

That said, this film seems to have Michael Parks in it... I'm looking forward to it already!
posted by HuronBob at 8:45 AM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Hollywood Reporter review is pretty positive.
posted by artlung at 8:45 AM on January 24, 2011


Best of luck with the whole 'no more films' thing. I anxiously await a future free of Kevin Smith movies.
posted by stinkycheese at 9:01 AM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


whatever the medium, he just refuses to shut up about all the people who wrong him. And his fans just lap it all up with a spoon. Where do I sign up to get rich whining about all the people who insult me?

This is flat out untrue. If anything, I give the dude credit for being pretty honest about what he's thinking. It's not filtered through pr people or publicists, and I appreciate that, even if he can be a bit negative. What I understood from his podcasts on the subject, he wasn't upset because Zack and Miri didn't catapult him into James Cameron territory. He simply felt that he had made a better movie that he usually does (which he did) and was disappointed that it didn't do better than his movies usually do. (which it should have). I also can appreciate his constant whining about the fat thing. I've struggled with my weight my whole life, and I think his take on it is a pretty realistic take on the constant nagging insecurity and doubt that comes with being overweight your whole life.

I feel like it's not that he complains too much, i Just think his complaining stands out because everything else you hear from hollywood on the subjects he talks about is mostly bullshit.

And the first 7 or 8 episodes of the Jay and Silent Bob get old podcast are amazing. Two best friends talking about one of them being a junkie. It's funny and sad and really leaves me wondering why he doesn't make that story into a movie.
posted by billyfleetwood at 9:01 AM on January 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


I am not exactly a huge fan of Kevin Smith, but even his failures are interesting. I live a short distance from a ten-screen place that at any given time has three generic rom-coms (usually starring Sandra Bullock), a generic CGI animated movie starring some animals voiced by B-list actors, two flicks with lots of CGI explosions, two buddy comedy movies (both of which star Vince Vaughan) where some chicks take their tops off, one move about vampires or a wizard school, and one inspirational biopic.

Frankly, I would rather watch Chasing Amy again than anything there.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:02 AM on January 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


That's not even close to true. Kevin Smith seems to crave critical and financial success more than anything. When Zack and Miri had a poor opening weekend he basically quit his podcast and didn't leave his house for a good month or so.

I don't know that he necessarily craves financial success - but at the same time, pretty much all of his movies make a profit, which he points out pretty regularly.
posted by antifuse at 9:06 AM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Smith seems content to continue with a career that's less about movies and more about Kevin.
posted by davebush at 9:12 AM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


He's not going to be able to sell films to, say, AMC and Lowes, if those theaters are all booked solid with mainstream films that guarantee the chains with marketing spends.

Actually, both the AMC and the Regal cinemas in this area rent out their theaters for special events all the time, for simulcast sporting events, concerts, and the HD Met broadcasts. So, as far as the roadshow tour he's planning for his film, I am certain he'll be able to get the theaters to participate in that.

As for actually distributing his film once he's done with the roadshow, we may end up with the "in select markets" issue we see for a lot of art film and independent releases, so the smaller cities may miss out on having it play, but if the word of mouth from the roadshow is strong enough, we'll see the film appear in those markets, too.

Ultimately what is going to happen from this is that a big name with a guaranteed slice of the market is going to be getting his thumb into the pie of distribution. And if he can get even a minor track record of success started, I suspect it will end up a successful enterprise.

I'm especially glad to see him doing this after IFC turned into mindless commercial-laden drivel and Sundance Channel has also started to water down and not run the same breadth of material they used to carry. I've long relied on those channels to distribute smaller independent films to me, and they're beginning to fail me.
posted by hippybear at 9:12 AM on January 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


That's not even close to true. Kevin Smith seems to crave critical and financial success more than anything. When Zack and Miri had a poor opening weekend he basically quit his podcast and didn't leave his house for a good month or so.

Aw I really liked that movie.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:12 AM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


whatever the medium, he just refuses to shut up about all the people who wrong him.

His appearance on Marc Maron's WTF podcast was definitely in line with this, and it really put me off. Especially when he addressed an imaginary film critic and said, "hey, man, I could fuck your wife. or at least buy her." And then started ranting about how many twitter followers he has.

It's not like Smith's history's greatest monster, and I do have some respect for people who go their own way on creative endeavors (even if the work doesn't really appeal to me, it's good to see people doing their own thing). But the dude bugs me, and seems to have disappeared up his own asshole in some sort of paranoid self-love singularity.
posted by COBRA! at 9:22 AM on January 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


If you're interested in horror films, you should check out the trailer. It's on his pocast site (http://www.smodcast.com/). It really looks like an interesting film.

Or you know, continue to spout bullshit in ignorance.
posted by lumpenprole at 9:25 AM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I applaud this goal, and hope it succeeds. I humbly suggest that his first step should have been to pay someone with, I don't know, a cookie and a latte, to hold a fucking camera steady to record his announcement.

Perhaps there's a better copy somewhere?
posted by odinsdream at 9:29 AM on January 24, 2011


Actually, both the AMC and the Regal cinemas in this area rent out their theaters for special events all the time, for simulcast sporting events, concerts, and the HD Met broadcasts. So, as far as the roadshow tour he's planning for his film, I am certain he'll be able to get the theaters to participate in that.

I've referenced 4-Walling already in this thread, but it's worth getting back to as it's very relevant to what's being discussed here. From the wiki:

Four wall distribution is termed after the four walls of a movie theater.[2] In this process, a film company spends at least one or two weekends renting a movie theater from the facility's owner (for a flat fee), and paying for every seat.[3][4] The company receives all of the box office revenue, while the theater keeps sales from popcorn and concessions. By contrast, ticket sales are shared between theaters and distributors on normal releases.

Key point: it's been going on since pretty much the beginning of the film biz as there's always been somebody frustrated enough with the status quo to go DIY. And it's worth noting, there's some pretty serious anti-monopoly legislation in place that prohibits the BIG studios from just overtly tying up all the theaters with their product, much as they'd like to.

4-Walling a movie theater
posted by philip-random at 9:32 AM on January 24, 2011


I've been forever scarred; any movie that is Red Noun just makes me think of Red Dawn.
posted by Bovine Love at 9:38 AM on January 24, 2011


I've never been a fan of Smith's films, but I've always enjoyed him as a public figure. Red State intrigues me, if only because it's outside of his safety zone.
posted by brundlefly at 9:41 AM on January 24, 2011


I'll watch anything with Melissa Leo and John Goodman. And at least Red State is unlikely to feature a whiny drug-addicted busker. Wait.
posted by Beardman at 9:44 AM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey English Mefites - was the movie released as Clarks in the UK?

Scriveners.
posted by DNye at 9:44 AM on January 24, 2011 [11 favorites]


Hey English Mefites - was the movie released as Clarks in the UK?

Start-rite
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:51 AM on January 24, 2011


this seems apropos.
posted by Dr. Twist at 9:55 AM on January 24, 2011


Can somebody please tell me where all the hate/criticism of Kevin Smith comes from? Can somebody break it down, with a time frame, examples, etc? Is it a certain slice of the population who have a problem with him? I'm not a fan of Kevin Smith although I like the 5 or so movies of his that I've seen so this question isn't about trying to defend him. I really just want to know.
posted by ashbury at 10:02 AM on January 24, 2011


ashbury: "Can somebody please tell me where all the hate/criticism of Kevin Smith comes from? "

As someone who doesn't like his work, I think most of the extremely vocal criticism springs from the fact that he was so well received at the start of his career. So, instead of merely being a "shitty filmmaker", he's a "shitty filmmaker that most of my film nerd friends love and I just don't understand it".

As far as specific criticisms, I just don't find his movies funny. Plus they're shot like bad TV shows.
posted by brundlefly at 10:14 AM on January 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Actually, both the AMC and the Regal cinemas in this area rent out their theaters for special events all the time

Virtually all of those special events are a) one-time only; b) appeal to micro-niche interests, like classical music; and c) are not scheduled during prime movie-watching time, like weeknights and weekend nights.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:17 AM on January 24, 2011


Can somebody please tell me where all the hate/criticism of Kevin Smith comes from?

I don't have a time-frame or anything but my two-bits are pretty simple:

I think there's a lot of "professional jealousy" out there. He comes across as an all too normal slacker dude who eats too much, watches too much TV, reads too many comics, surfs too much internet -- just like some guy we all know (big brother, co-worker, dope dealer). How dare he have a career in big deal Hollywood essentially making whatever-the-fuck-movies he feels like, and then, being the normal guy he is, talking it up, rubbing our faces in his non-specialness? Why can't he at least be perverse in geekness like Tarantino?

And so on.
posted by philip-random at 10:17 AM on January 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


Can somebody please tell me where all the hate/criticism of Kevin Smith comes from? Can somebody break it down, with a time frame, examples, etc?

My comment upthread pretty much sums up my reasons for disliking him. To be more specific and kind of put a timeframe on it for you, I actually used to be a big fan of his -- and then I started buying his DVDs (this was, I think, back in 2000 or 2001). When I started listening to the commentary tracks on those DVDs, it started to become very clear to me what a colossal [NOT SIZEIST] whiner he is. Waaaaahhh, Gramercy screwed up Mallrats, waaaaaahhh, ABC "didn't get" my brilliant cartoon show. And as I said above, he does this constantly, changing mediums as the technology permits. He never stops, and he burns bridges. The fans seem to love him for this because they see it as the underdog "sticking it to the man" and not kissing butt, but if you're actually trying to get the Hollywood machine to take you seriously, you do have to play their game to a certain extent. Lately he's been publicly dissing Bruce Willis for being "unhelpful" on the set of Cop Out. He did the same thing with Linda Fiorentino on Dogma. He made a fool of himself when critic Joel Siegel walked out of Clerks 2. And (unrelated to filmmaking) the airplane thing happened almost a year ago, the airline apologized and tried to make it right (after his lengthy public tantrums), and yet he still refuses to move on! This all makes for fun gossip, but it's unprofessional and he's only hurting himself.
posted by Gator at 10:17 AM on January 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


I came in here to make a Penny Arcade joke but I sorta think someone with as big a cult following as Kevin Smith going this route could really do some good. So this seems neat!
posted by NoraReed at 10:18 AM on January 24, 2011


Actually, both the AMC and the Regal cinemas in this area rent out their theaters for special events all the time

Virtually all of those special events are a) one-time only; b) appeal to micro-niche interests, like classical music; and c) are not scheduled during prime movie-watching time, like weeknights and weekend nights.


Well, Kevin Smith's planned roadshow tour of Red State is a series of one-time-only events. And I don't know about where you live, but most of the simulcast concerts and sporting events that have been carried here have been nighttime events. The exception is the Met HD series, but they've always chosen Saturday matinee performances for broadcast, going back decades.
posted by hippybear at 10:44 AM on January 24, 2011


Not a fan of his films, but he seems like a nice and genuine guy. He's got alot of fans and if he figures out some new micro-niche distribution scheme I would forgive him for inflicting Dogma on me (I didnt even watch it, I was trying to sleep and my roomate at the time, being a huge Kevin Smith fan, watched it at full volume guffawing like a jackass at every insipid "joke") because I would love 10 or 12 more Firefly movies.

Clerks 2 was embarrassing. I actually felt bad for Kevin Smith. He is either trapped by his own lack of talent, or his need to be loved by his fans.

Seems like a nice guy though and a good storyteller, maybe better for his own ego if he makes money some other way and gets his approbation through his stand up comedy storytelling
posted by Ad hominem at 10:45 AM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


And as I said above, he does this constantly, changing mediums as the technology permits. He never stops, and he burns bridges. The fans seem to love him for this because they see it as the underdog "sticking it to the man" and not kissing butt, but if you're actually trying to get the Hollywood machine to take you seriously, you do have to play their game to a certain extent.

Not that I'm a huge Kevin Smith fan, but one could have said the same thing almost verbatim 50 years ago about Orson Welles. Or any number of other cranky, feisty, persnickety Hollywood types, whether they stick it to the man or play the game or not. Crying loudly and for public consumption is as much a part of "the game" as anything else is.
posted by blucevalo at 11:05 AM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sure, but look at what happened to Orson Welles. Beloved by fans, indeed, but he ended up having to offer sexual favors just to get a job selling frozen peas.
posted by Gator at 11:10 AM on January 24, 2011


I don't deny that. All I'm saying is that calling Kevin Smith some sort of uniquely atrocious whiner -- when Hollywood is full of them and always has been -- is a little overmuch.
posted by blucevalo at 11:11 AM on January 24, 2011


I don't really want to see independent film in theaters anymore. Streaming these films to my tv or computer within a month of release would be something I'd be very interested in signing up for however.
posted by longdaysjourney at 11:16 AM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Some how I knew the latest comment would be this and the last comment would be mine.
posted by joelf at 11:16 AM on January 24, 2011


I think that for a lot of us, it's not really hate for Kevin Smith as much as frustration. I like a lot of his movies, and even find something to like in some of the movies that I don't like overall (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, for example), but the combination of a small but devoted group of hardcore fans and some bad reviews seems to have turned him into someone who, as Gator notes above, complains constantly about his bad treatment and yet keeps going back to Hollywood again and again because, you know, that's where the money is. (See also: Joss Whedon.) This latest movie has already sold me on the participation of Parks, John Goodman, and Stephen Root, and if Smith can make that work his way, then bully for him, but I'm not holding my breath. (Besides, if he leaves the Hollywood craziness behind, then where will he find new grist for his monologues at comics conventions?)
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:20 AM on January 24, 2011


Clerks 2 was embarrassing

My impression was that it was fairly well received--I watched it just the other day, it wasn't great but it wasn't as awful as Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. I just don't care much for his dialog. I think I get what he's trying to do--it's supposed to be like how the "dudes" he hangs out and grew up with talk, but something about it just seems so unnatural. When you listen to his podcast for example, Smith and his friends actually talk about the same sorts of things as his characters do, but when they actually talk about it for reals there's way more laughing, way more riffing on the same thing over and over, including plenty of stuff that just bombs or sounds really stupid. In his movies, it's like he takes what he finds to be "the highlights" of those types of conversations, which makes it sound rehearsed and contrived when the characters deliver the lines, instead of what a natural convo-with-your-dumb-highschool-friends-over-beers actually sounds like.
posted by Hoopo at 11:26 AM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just last weekend I went to see Crispin Glover screen his new movie, It is Fine! Everything is Fine. He also did a slideshow/performance art type thing before the movie, and a (too) long Q&A session afterwards, It was a great night, Crispin seemed very appreciative that we were supporting him directly, and was honestly probably the only way I would get to see a movie that bizarre in theatres. Am I right in interpreting Kevin Smith's plan to be something similar? ie. don't see the big deal here..
posted by mannequito at 11:29 AM on January 24, 2011


calling Kevin Smith some sort of uniquely atrocious whiner -- when Hollywood is full of them and always has been -- is a little overmuch.

I can't think of anybody else (contemporary) off the top of my head who's as vocal and indiscriminate in openly slagging off his colleagues and employers in such a way. I don't mean the occasional drunken ranting in front of the paparazzi that we see from various celebrities, but a creator like Smith who deliberately and constantly blogs, Tweets, podcasts, and rants on DVD commentaries and speaking engagements and mainstream media interviews about how much other (specific) people and companies in the industry suck, openly burning one bridge after another. Who else in Hollywood does that, to such a degree as this? Who's as big a whiner?
posted by Gator at 11:32 AM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


His stories about Bruce Willis yelling at him on "too fat for forty" were pretty good though.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:41 AM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey English Mefites - was the movie released as Clarks in the UK?

Nope. You guys only pronounce it differently, the spelling is the same.
posted by djgh at 12:00 PM on January 24, 2011


Kevin Smith fans are like the Tea party of mediocre pop culture.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 12:01 PM on January 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


I think I get what he's trying to do--it's supposed to be like how the "dudes" he hangs out and grew up with talk

Maybe that's why it was embarrassing for me. I get that guys talk that way, I do sometimes as well. But it's a little iffy for me making a movie that is one long joke about anal sex when you are going on 40.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:11 PM on January 24, 2011


Hey English Mefites - was the movie released as Clarks in the UK?

"Costermongers"
posted by Jofus at 12:54 PM on January 24, 2011


I love kevin smith, though his movies aren't usually my cup of tea. His comments about the blogosphere on the mark maron podcast a few weeks ago were intriguing, and definitely something I've thought about criticism, even as a sort-of critic myself.

Meanwhile and unrelated, goddamn I love sundance and wish I was there again this year to cover it. Stupid real job.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:02 PM on January 24, 2011




Can somebody please tell me where all the hate/criticism of Kevin Smith comes from?

Sometimes, he makes bad movies.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:06 PM on January 24, 2011


I live a short distance from a ten-screen place that at any given time has three generic rom-coms (usually starring Sandra Bullock)

Not to derail, but she hasn't been in any movies in about two years, and her last one was IIRC a well-received drama, neither rom nor com. A quick check shows maybe 5 romcoms in the last decade.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:12 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I dunno. I like Smith because he seems at least a little bit real. The fact that he slags off people is refreshing, because there seems to be a hell of a lot of emperors with new cloths in that business, and where interaction with the public is mostly limited to carefully scripted, "look at how charming and normal I am!", 5-minutes-per-interviewer publicity junkets. And everything else is kept hidden behind the curtain.

I have a picture in my head of Smith smoking a blunt and sitting in his house cutting a film while his dog barks at the door, occasionally taking a break to abuse Twitter's 140-character limit or grab a Twinkie. I don't have any image in my head of what anyone else in Hollywood in his position does, thinks, or believes. And I certainly can't think of any who would deign to shoot the shit with the fans so openly and frequently.
posted by Jimbob at 2:23 PM on January 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Hm, I'm surprised to have found myself hating on Kevin Smith in one of Gator's links to a past Metafilter thread. It turns out I hate Kevin Smith! I just forgot.
posted by painquale at 2:26 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just a note about 4-walling: my GF runs theatrical sales for an independent studio; she sometimes 4-walls a theater for a short run to fulfill an obligation to release a movie in a town where she can't get a deal, e.g. because they're releasing something on video-on-demand too soon or the film is not rated.
posted by nicwolff at 2:57 PM on January 24, 2011


I'm done with Kevin Smith. Partly because of his movies (Clerks 2 was abysmal) but mainly because since Zack and Miri bombed he started smoking weed everyday, started telling everyone about it and became a rangy angry dick head that repeats himself.I'm also wary of people who repeatedly talk about how much they don't give a fuck and then rant about all the thinks they don't give a fuck about.

Typical Kevin Smith interview/podcast

'cock joke
Ass joke,
Comment about Fleshlight,
Comment about being fat,
Comment about smoking weed,
Comment about having a hot wife (usually followed by a comment on how he licks her ass)
Comment about smoking weed,
Comment about Fleshlight,
Rant about critics,
Comment about weed,
Comment about how he doesn't give a fuck,
Another rant about critics,
And what not.

Dudes losing it. He's slowly surrounding himself in a protective weed bubble (he smoked during the WTF podcast!) which will only leed to disaster. I haven't had the heart to listen to the Nerdist interview with him because if it's a carbon copy of the WTF one I'll smash my laptop.
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 3:03 PM on January 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Two Stephen Root comments in five minutes. Triple woot for Stephen Root!

Official Teaser Trailer (YouTube)

I like Kevin Smith. I like horror. I look forward to this one.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:22 PM on January 24, 2011


Not that I'm a huge Kevin Smith fan, but one could have said the same thing almost verbatim 50 years ago about Orson Welles.

Except that Kevin Smith did not make Citizen Kane.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 3:25 PM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]




The Faraci piece that brundlefly linked makes the really incisive point: Smith has no idea what real indie distribution looks like.

Last quarter my GF's company released a hilariously weird Christmas horror movie, an Oscar-nominated drama about Iraq war vets, a lovely picture about two poor Irish kids having an adventure in Dublin, a movie about a Beat poet with an amazing performance by a hot movie star, and a much-discussed movie about a graffiti artist that may be a total hoax.

They have practically no marketing budget. No ads except little ones in local papers. No PR except press releases. They make 30 or 50 prints of a movie; Smith says he'll make 1000 of Red State. They make a little money for their producers, and enough for themselves to pay a few salaries and acquire new movies.

As Faraci says, what Smith's doing may work but only because Harvey Weinstein has spent many millions of dollars promoting his previous movies; it has nothing to do with indie film distribution.
posted by nicwolff at 3:42 PM on January 24, 2011


I have a picture in my head of Smith smoking a blunt and sitting in his house cutting a film while his dog barks at the door, occasionally taking a break to abuse Twitter's 140-character limit or grab a Twinkie.

You're in luck, Jimbob, Smith just finished an epic two-hour, 69-tweet apologia pro vita sua. Apparently he enraged both distribution executives and film journalists by earlier promising to "auction" the distro rights to Red State but instead announcing that he had bought them himself: "Ladies and gentlemen, I came here seventeen years ago. All I wanted to do was sell my movie. And I can't think of anything fucking worse, seventeen years later, than selling my movie to people who just don't fucking get it."

Some movie reviewers are not amused and are ready to retire from writing about his movies before he retires from making them.

On preview: Curse your fleet typing fingers, Kittensforbreakfast.
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:43 PM on January 24, 2011


It's like the recent trend of once-popular musicians handling their own distribution and recording, you can make it work sustainably if you have already built up a reputation under the previous system.
posted by subdee at 3:45 PM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I loved Clerks. It inspired me to make films (even though I never actually did, but hey!) and it was something new in American film at that time. Mallrats was OK. Chasing Amy was so-so. And it seems that each movie after that was worse then the one before, which was disappointing. Combine that with his public appearances, twitter rants, horrible comic book writing (in my opinion) and he's just become annoying. It's not that I'm forced to watch is movies, it's that I'm disappointed that he takes up space earned by older, superior films that could be used by some other filmmaker.
posted by cell divide at 4:14 PM on January 24, 2011


Not to derail, but she hasn't been in any movies in about two years, and her last one was IIRC a well-received drama, neither rom nor com.

This may come down to a definition of what exactly constitutes a rom-com, but The Proposal and All About Steve were released in the last two years and look to be both rom and com (I've seen the first one, it wasn't too bad as these things go...).
posted by robertc at 4:36 PM on January 24, 2011


My take is, Kevin Smith is just very insecure about his own value and really, really wants people to like him. He has a habit of bringing up his own faults when he feels vunerable as a way of disarming his critics (he calls himself fat before anyone else has a chance to, etc). I think this is partially an extention of that strategy, where he is basically saying, "Before anyone can judge the value of my movie, I'm going to do this with it, and if it fails it was because I was trying to do something different, not because of the quality of the movie."

I feel for him, because I think at heart he is a pretty nice, thoughtful guy; and yeah, he's got faults, but who among us doesn't? Sometimes in less noble moments he deflects blame to others because he's so hungry for approval, which is sad, but he's basically just trying to make things and do things to entertain people because all he wants is to feel liked.
posted by Menthol at 7:08 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Can somebody please tell me where all the hate/criticism of Kevin Smith comes from?"

He's a raging misogynist who happens to think he's the only dude in the room who truly "understands" women.

I just can't watch his movies or his appearances any more. Look at how he treats his producer in this clip -- "she didn't suck any dicks for this job HURF DURF!" And the end of Chasing Amy was pretty much a creep stalker fantasy masquerading as a "sensitive" take on male-female relationships.

Not to mention the fact that he simply isn't funny.
posted by bardic at 7:45 PM on January 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


The idea that he can recoup almost half his budget from this kind of limited run is wonderful, but it seems to me that, just like In Rainbows, this works for an artist doing it the first time with an already established fan base. The idea that a film from a new director could do this with no marketing is sadly untrue, as I know from when a friend tried it (through a normal distribution company, but releasing the film like a band tour, playing a lot of theaters for single nights, one after the other). Sadly in that case the audience numbers were small, people just didn't know the film there.
posted by ciderwoman at 4:48 AM on January 25, 2011


Coming to Ann Arbor in March at $50 to $75 per ticket... I'm thinking I'm waiting for the DVD...
posted by HuronBob at 8:30 AM on January 25, 2011


On the surface, I find it easy to agree with the notion that what works for a big deal established filmmaker/musician/etc doesn't for an unknown. But Techdirt's Mike Masnick would say I was wrong, as he does in this half-hour talk from 2009's Leadership Musical Digital Summit. It's called "How Trent Reznor and NIN Represent the Future of the Music Industry" but it doesn't limit itself to discussion of established artists in the digital realm.

Good stuff. Worth a few moments of your time if you're an artist in pretty much any medium.
posted by philip-random at 8:47 AM on January 25, 2011


I generally like Kevin Smith, because most of his movies gave me laughs, and Dogma is really great, and I do like how the dude is bluntly honest about every damn thing that wanders through his brain. There's not a lot of famous people who do that.

That said, I uh... kinda think he's starting to lose it in the last few years. Maybe pot doesn't agree with him as much as he thinks it does, or the plane thing really did him in, I dunno, but he's just more and more pissed the fuck off and erratic and ranty, and this whole Red State thing made me think, "Uh... dude...?"

Also, I can't even listen to SModcast any more because between the constant Fleshlight advertisements* and the constant "Hey, Malcolm, tell us what it's like to be gay again" (honestly, Kevin, have a talk with your wife and go bicurious already if you're that fascinated by the topic) and other drama, I'm just burned out.

* I know they're the sponsor** and all, and yes, I get that it's marvelous, and if I had a dick I would totally have bought one by now! But hearing about it constantly IS GETTING OLD.

** Can someone explain to me why a millionaire needs a sponsor for a podcast?
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:18 PM on January 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Answering jenfullmoon: podcasts, like some other media outlets, sometimes subsidize their costs by selling advertising. It's rather common on planet Earth, regardless of how rich the media outlet is.

A more nuanced take on what Smith is doing with Red State and his distribution experiment. It rather reminds me of another thing I saw just the other day on IT Conversations: Scott Sigler: Who Needs You, Big Publishing?
posted by artlung at 9:31 AM on January 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


The ScriptShadow link references Ed Burns, who has also taken the studios completely out of the loop for distribution - he's gone all video on demand / iTunes. Listen to an interview with Burns here where he talks about his rationale for distributing it this way.
posted by artlung at 9:38 AM on January 26, 2011


The last few paragraphs of that ScriptShadow post are pretty insightful. I was thinking the same thing the other day, specifically the part about how Smith is "effectively becoming the low-budget version of George Lucas" by trying to insulate himself against criticism and the word "no," though I was hesitant to share that thought here.
posted by Gator at 9:43 AM on January 26, 2011


I was thinking the same thing the other day, specifically the part about how Smith is "effectively becoming the low-budget version of George Lucas" by trying to insulate himself against criticism and the word "no,"

Well, except that he's already announced that he's only making two more movies and then he's going to devote himself full-time to helping independent film makers find ways to distribute their films outside the regular channels.

Lucas, on the other hand, keeps saying he's going to make more movies and hasn't announced retirement from directing.
posted by hippybear at 4:11 PM on January 26, 2011


Lucas retired from directing between about 1977 and 1999 to focus on a lot of other things. I think the comparison is apt, well, as apt as any completely unique career can be compared to another completely unique career.
posted by artlung at 5:41 AM on January 27, 2011


Lucas retired from directing between about 1977 and 1999 to focus on a lot of other things. I think the comparison is apt, well, as apt as any completely unique career can be compared to another completely unique career.

Maybe Kevin Smith will return in about 2032 with "Special Editions" of Clerks, Mallrats, and Chasing Amy.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:00 AM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


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