Monday, November 10, 2008

The verdict is in: Kevin Smith sucks*

On Saturday my wife asked if I was going to accompany her and my son for some Christmas shopping. I said no, and went to a movie by myself. Cause that's just how I roll.

I decided I needed a laugh, and figured Zack and Miri Make a Porno would turn the trick. Get it? Turn the, this thing on?

-crickets chirping-

Anyway, my brief summary of the movie: on the plus side, it wasn't awful. In fact, I was actually engaged with it for the most part. On the down side, it just wasn't terribly funny.

Kevin Smith did do one thing right: hired three very likable actors for the lead roles: Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks and Craig Robinson, who kept the movie from going completely down the toilet. And there was nudity, so make that two things right. But that's about it.

Sitting there, cursing the loss of a much-needed eleven dollars, I began to ponder the question: is Kevin Smith still living off his rep from Clerks, and does he actually just suck as a writer/director?

I went to his imdb page and scanned his director's credits: obviously Clerks is beloved and shot him into the stratosphere. But then it gets iffy. Mallrats wasn't very good, but he bounced back with Chasing Amy. I didn't care much for Dogma, and have only seen half of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. It was amusing, but not great. Jersey Girl was terrible, and I didn't see Clerks 2, but don't remember it getting very good reviews. That's a pretty spotty record.

Yet for some reason, until now every time I heard Kevin Smith had a new movie coming out, I was intrigued and actively sought out the trailer online.

It always seems like I'm waiting for the risk-taking, manic energy in his movies that made Clerks what it was, but always come away disappointed.

The reason, I realize now, is simple: Clerks got a pass. When you judge Clerks, expectations are lower: they shot it on a shoestring budget and nobody knew what they were doing. And instead of being terrible, it was actually pretty good. But since "actually pretty good" was about 1000 times better than what most people expected of that movie, it got confused with actually being a great movie, when it's really not.

But now that Smith gets a decent budget and can land actors with name recognition, the bar is raised. Sadly, the quality hasn't gone up with it. Really, he peaked with Clerks and the lowered expectations, and just can't recapture that buzz.

Of course, luckily for Smith he's still going at a time when comedy in movies is on life support- if not for Judd Apatow, where would the genre be right now? Jim Carrey went off the deep end and has never made it back. Adam Sandler and Will Ferrell have made enough bad decisions between them to stall their careers.

The decline in the quality of comedy has gone down, but people still want to laugh. People will always want to laugh. So because of that, Kevin Smith will continue to make mediocre movies. I, however, won't be there for them.


*This is not endorsed by Chris, whatsoever.


Chris said...

A disclaimer to everyone out there. I do not endorse this post whatsoever. He checks on Kevin Smith and he puts Will Ferrell and Adam Sandler in the same sentence. Keep in mind that Graham is Canadian, watches hockey and likes the TV show Chuck.

Jorge said...

Clerks gave Kevin Smith that hard-to-shake cult status. He's also attracted a rabid following from interviews and lecture tours. Hell, he even has a DVD of a lecture (can't wait for the Rockin the Suburbs lecture tour, btw).

And they're all over the web like flies, those fans of his. Even rumors of a new movie causes, well, "buzz".

Looking forward to enjoying Zack and Miri, the home version in early 2009.

Anonymous said...

Truth be told i am a huge fan of kevin, clerks is a grate movie in my books and yes i do know alot of people might say im wrong, what makes a movie good or bad is all in how you as a person can vew it, anyway my point's are 1:Kevin really dont care if you hate his flims, he plays for his fans, and 2: he writes, directs, acts, and produces his movies on by todays standers low bugget and that i would say even if his movies suck is something to point out in my mind.

Dr. Health said...

But now that Smith gets a decent budget and can land
actors with name recognition, the bar is raised.

Anonymous said...

Kevin Smith is by far the worst director, actor, comic whatever he does for a living. I hope his fat bloated self will die soon so we aren't dumbed down by his attempt at film making. I just read all his stuff on the movie database site and it's all about was going to do this and that, but it doesn't have any real factual information almost like he wrote it himself and of course it sucks.

Anonymous said...

Kevin Smith is not the genius everyone makes him out to be. He compensates for his lack of creativity with vulgarity... a pretty cheap trick if you ask me. I wonder what it was like for him to play silent Bob. It must have been hard for him to shut up for once.