The Big Picture: The Fall of Kevin Smith, Part II

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The Fall of Kevin Smith, Part II

MovieBob continues his examination of Kevin Smith's film career.

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I was under the impression that mallrats was miss marketed as a typical romantic comedy, when the reality was trying to make a smarter version of Porkies? Is this something invented for the DVD commentary?

I liked Dogma, too.

Man I really liked those movies back in the 90s. My friends and I could practically quote most of Mallrats for the better part of the decade. I find most of them hard to watch now though. Which I guess is the point of this little exercise.

I stand by Amy though. I enjoyed that one quite a bit even though Dogma eclipsed it.

Dogma was great. I never watched J&SBSB, mostly because I was born in '86 and having never seen any of Kevin Smith's films at the time just thought it was really dumb from the ads.

So... next week, Clerks 2? I actually liked it, but I can see Bob using that as a point where Kevin Smith "peaked".

So Clerks II is where it all fell apart? I can't judge, I only remember watching it once and liking it.

Also, I'm guessing there will be an obligatory kick in Red State's teeth next week.

Mallrats was still my favorite of the bunch, but yeah, after Jay and Silent Bob I kinda jumped ship. Interested to see what it was about the stuff that came after that rubbed people so wrong.

I vaguely remember MovieBob saying Clerks II was a good throwback or summing up of Silent Bob's career. It'll probably be from after that point that things drop off.

MowDownJoe:
So... next week, Clerks 2? I actually liked it, but I can see Bob using that as a point where Kevin Smith "peaked".

Evonisia:
So Clerks II is where it all fell apart? I can't judge, I only remember watching it once and liking it.

After JSBSB came Jersey Girl, I think that's what Bob was hinting at. Personally I love that film, one of my favourites by KS. But overall it was received very badly, mostly due to the Affleck/JLo debacle going on at the time.

EDIT: Clerks II was ok I guess, but not great. Zack and Miri was pretty bad and I haven't seen any of his later films (film?)

so this isn't the Fall of Kevin Smith but Moviebob putting his hopes and dreams on a normal guy.... So its the Fall of Moviebob?

Huh. I thought Mallrats was fairly beloved. I've only seen a bit of it myself on TV, but anytime it's brought up in conversation people only praise it. I'll definitely check in for next week's episode to see what Bob has to say about Clerks 2 and Zack and Miri.

The problem I've seen with all Kevin Smith movies is that none of them hold up at all. I remember watching Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy and Dogma many years ago and liking them for the most part. But I've seen a couple of them lately and I couldn't even sit through the whole thing.

Maybe it's just that you have to be in a very narrow demographic to appreciate them, and now that I'm older I just don't think like that anymore. Maybe I grew up while Kevin Smith stayed the same relatively immature guy.

Heh, I didn't realise that Chasing Amy was his work. I only saw 10 minutes of it late at night but I went to bed cos I was tried (didn't see the part when that guy talked to Jay and Silent Bob).

So far I'm at least glad you haven't retroactively began not liking his earlier work which is the impression I got during past Big Picture/Escape episodes.

That said, Smith recently released his 300th podcast and even if you do not like his recent film output, he himself does not come off badly, hence why I and others don't understand why a multiple part deconstruction was necessary, More so given he is still working, possibly even more than in previous years in the near future.

bobdole1979:
so this isn't the Fall of Kevin Smith but Moviebob putting his hopes and dreams on a normal guy.... So its the Fall of Moviebob?

Yeah, that's also the impression I got - and if the comments section of last week's episode is to be believed I'm not the only one.

From what I can tell, Smith isn't so much an artist who failed to reach his full potential as he is a one-trick pony whose trick got old after a while.

I'm not sure Smith was deconstructing sexuality in the 90s with Amy. It'd be one thing if this was an Alyssa-specific sort of thing, but based on Smith's talk since then, that seems to be way he thinks gays are. Or, at least, the way he thinks lesbians are. The plans he mentions for JSBSB sounded like they went along those lines, too, if the "lesbian gang" thing is to be believed.

Eleuthera:

After JSBSB came Jersey Girl, I think that's what Bob was hinting at. Personally I love that film, one of my favourites by KS. But overall it was received very badly, mostly due to the Affleck/JLo debacle going on at the time.

I'm surprised people could forget this. Even if one considered bad (And, for the record, I do, though it has its moments), this was kind of a big deal that got mocked and ranted about for yeeeeeears. I got it bundled with another movie and was expecting something truly horrible because of the outcry and it was...MEH. I thought it was bad, but not bad enough to burn Smith in effigy.

bobdole1979:
so this isn't the Fall of Kevin Smith but Moviebob putting his hopes and dreams on a normal guy.... So its the Fall of Moviebob?

No, it's more like the "fall" of almost everyone in the limelight. The public elevates people unfairly quite often, and then decries their downfall or inability to live up to promises never made. I mean, that's my assumption. This is pretty boilerplate stuff, though.

Spaceman Spiff:
Huh. I thought Mallrats was fairly beloved. I've only seen a bit of it myself on TV, but anytime it's brought up in conversation people only praise it. I'll definitely check in for next week's episode to see what Bob has to say about Clerks 2 and Zack and Miri.

There's definitely a split on this movie, though I think it veers more to the negative side of things. It's not as "intelligent" as Amy or Dogma, as raw as Clerks, and runs into the problem that even as a fun comedy movie it's not necessarily any better than JSBSB. I suppose that's debatable, but most people who hated it seemed to hate it back when it first came out or in relation to movies a little closer in age.

In any case, I enjoy it.

Dogma is pretty much the only Kevin Smith movie I liked, the rest wasn't that great in my opinion.

Dogma was great. Alan Rickman as "The VOICE" was genius. XD

I still don't see where this is going in terms of how personal you make the jabs at Smith, which is by and large my problem. I don't especially care which of his films you like or don't like what, if any, talent or promise he held as a film maker. You trot him out to say, hey he's evidence that Gen Xrs are useless and led us down a bad path, stop asking this dumbass about Batman etc. and the way its framed has nothing to do with him as a film maker or his movies. You just act like you saw someone you know walking down the street and said see that guy, I fucking hate him, and I'm all like why and you respond, I thought his work would get better, so you hate his work, no I hate him, and I have to come back to why, he never hurt you.

That's a mess up there, but the thing is its just that you can't seem to separate the work from the man. The Man, a staunched supporter of gay rights and on the right side of other issues, I like. Even if I didn't like his movies, which actually I like pretty much the same ones you do. Funny how I can do that.

I do appreciate the fact that even though Bob has set this up as a tale of Kevin Smith's fall from grace he isn't shy of giving credit where credit is due and being honest about the films he genuinely enjoyed. A lot of people would explain away Smith's success or downplay their enthusiasm for his films in an effort to further their overall point. As a pretty big fan of most of Smith's movies I'm interested to see where this is all going. I can understand being down on Red State but if Bob talks shit about Zac and Miri I'll have a bone to pick.

Wow, people must have seen a different Clerks 2 than i did. I loved about half of it then there was some point where the second part kicked in and it tanked for me.

I rewatched Iron Man 2 the other day. It's much better than people say. As for Kevin Smith, you should reduce these videos into one "I just don't like this guy because we're incredibly similar but he made a career where I didn't".

This goes back to a theory I've often held about Smith:

He's at his best when he does something that matters to him, I liked Mallrats when I was 10 and I liked JSBSB when I was 14... but those are probably my two least watched of the Askewniverse movies, I dunno, I like Smith when he's taking a plain or semi-serious topic and making a vaguely good movie with pretentions to being smart but mostly is about the conversation.

Smith himself has stated many times that he can only really write dialogue and dialogue is what he excels at, Smiths talky talk movies are by far his best.

Clerks II exemplifies this, it's a great movie with tons of laughs when it's dialogue hits, but it's the point after the musical number where it tips for me, the big set piece third act just doesn't work well for me, it's half brilliant tip to what Smith does best and a half lame duck attempt to get those who vehemently love goof ball slapstick on side.

bobdole1979:
so this isn't the Fall of Kevin Smith but Moviebob putting his hopes and dreams on a normal guy.... So its the Fall of Moviebob?

Probably not even that. As noted last week and hinted at by Bob himself this time, he's not actually that old. If he was a teenager when Chasing Amy came out, how old was he when Clerks came out? 13 or 14 maybe? Despite the constant talk of "us", Kevin Smith being a "projected self image of an entire generational subculture", and so on, none of it has anything to do with Bob, who was simply far too young at the time to have any idea about any of that. Clerks, and later films like Chasing Amy, follow early 20-somethings talking and learning about life, love, etc. In a geeky way that may well have appealed to people of that age just as Bob says, but also in ways that were specifically related to people of that age. Are we really supposed to believe that a 13 year old kid who certainly didn't grow up with the same popular culture as someone 10 years older than him and who simply doesn't understand adult issues, somehow felt the same way?

It's not the Fall of Moviebob, it's Moviebob pretending to have a time machine and imagining how it might have been the Fall of MovieBob if only he'd been born a decade earlier.

Edit: And before anyone says anything, note that I'm not saying younger people couldn't enjoy Smith's films at all, but simply that they will not have seen them in the way Bob describes - as a "unification of the divded indie scene of the previous decade", for example. A 3 year old does not know what an indie scene is, so obviously they aren't going to view changes over the following decade in the same way as someone who starts off a teenager and hits their 20s and adulthood during that time.

DTWolfwood:
Dogma was great. Alan Rickman as "The VOICE" was genius. XD

Let's be honest, Alan Rickman as pretty much anything is genius.

Watched Clerks and Chasing Amy. Didnt care about Clerks, though Chasing Amy was quite good though after watching it once ive got no real interest in watching it again. Not watched Dogma yet, though its on my rental list. But then i dont get the obsession with him. Im 37 so not like im to old or to young to appreciate his screenplays. But then i have that same thought about Tarantino.

Honestly this sounds like a case of unrequited fanboyism from someone who read to much into clerks, I mean honestly people raved for it because it was chic to do so at the time but other than being a realty good generational independent comedy there was no real indication that Kevin Smith was some kind of messiah. His movies all still have merit but you just have to take them at face value, I mean it seems like everyone that has similar thoughts about Smith as Movie Bob seems to have been waiting for smith next movie to be the "one" for some time now...where is this longing coming from? I just don't see it.

you really should have called this the rise and fall of Kevin smith.

I'm waiting for the movie that really speaks to my generation of nerds, and even more specific my generation of autist nerds.

02.14 didn't you like that movie?

02.40 what movie is that? It kind of looks like high school musical.

Huh... okay then, so a slightly uneven filmography with some high points and low points, not bad overall, but heading into some event that would keep him stuck in a rut...

I've never seen any of his movies, so I'm fairly indifferent to him as a whole, I was a little young for Clerks when it came out, so I think I entirely missed the boat on that fandom and never heard much one way or the other to get me into it.

1981 is gen X? I was born in 1980 and have always considered myself the first of Gen Y. Though maybe time and generations move up faster out there on the coasts.

A lot of people have asked on this thread/previous thread why there's such a pile-on with Kevin Smith (and indeed MovieBob even asks in this video why we're even still talking about him). I think people are underestimating just how much anger and resentment Kevin Smith engendered with the Red State/Sundance auction. A lot of people in Hollywood, from critics to producers and agents, were furious about that episode, and some well-known critics called Smith a liar. Drew McWeeny, aka Moriarty of AICN(hardly a bastion of objectivity and professionalism) went so far as to vow never to write about Kevin Smith again. In short, people were PISSED that he said he was gooing to auction the film, then pulled the rug out, and then went around the studio system. This led to "sources" leaking word to the press and blogosphere that Kevin Smith was melting down, imploding, losing his mind, running up river with Col. Kurtz, insert whatever hyperbole you'd like.

I think between a couple of flops like Jersey Girl and Zack and Miri (which I love, for the record), the Red State auction backlash, the Southwest Airlines episode (yes, this is often used against him), and the fact that he can, at times, be a bit of loudmouth when it comes to criticism, have led a lot of critics and industry folk to turn on him and question why he even has the kind of deep, passionate fan following that he enjoys, which then leads his deep, passionate fan base to retaliate against said critics, and then those critics get pissed again and write/Tweet some more negative stuff, and so on and so forth.

Basically, it's just like the Mooby scene in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. The part where Jay unleashes on the critics, not the part with Shannon Elizabeth.

Burnouts3s3:
I liked Dogma, too.

Yeah, me too. Now I wonder if Bob will talk about his comic work... Maybe not :P

Evonisia:
So Clerks II is where it all fell apart? I can't judge, I only remember watching it once and liking it.

Also, I'm guessing there will be an obligatory kick in Red State's teeth next week.

I've never seen any of these movies and quite frankly when I started to really get into geek culture I had no idea who Kevin Smith was or what his significance was. I just thought he was some random jock that likes to wear hockey jersey's that isn't really into that stuff but they always have him report on it for some reason. That was how he always came off to me.

Still yeah Red State is definitely a sign of him flaming out. Though, even if he did, I doubt it was as bad as say a certain filmmaker who just pushed Last Airbender 2 into production. :( God help us all.

I myself have no strong feeling towards Kevin Smith. I've only seen glimpses of Mallrats and Dogma.
image

DTWolfwood:
Dogma was great. Alan Rickman as "The VOICE" was genius. XD

The short time I had with his character I found it funny. Also Severus Snape.

themilo504:
you really should have called this the rise and fall of Kevin smith.

I'm waiting for the movie that really speaks to my generation of nerds, and even more specific my generation of autist nerds.

02.14 didn't you like that movie?

02.40 what movie is that? It kind of looks like high school musical.

The two cheerleaders? That would be Glee and that would also be, a part from the soundtrack, one of the worst shows I've ever had the displeasure of seeing. i.e. The most fun character has Pikachu syndrom when it comes to her development and any actual interesting plot stuff is stuffed and gagged in a closet while romantic angst dominates the season until they decided "Oh we need to resolve this. Better do it in one episode out of the blue."

Part 1: The rise
Part 2: The peak
Part 3: liberate tute me ex inferis

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