Kevin Smith's movies: What am I missing?

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Gary->dee, Jul 6, 2004.

  1. Gary->dee

    Gary->dee Screenwriter

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    Ok I've tried to watch Kevin Smith's movies and each time the first word that pops into my mind is "sucks", the second being "overrated". Yet he has a following and respect as a filmmaker. To me he's an inept director because some of the concepts are somewhat clever, yet the execution is rather poor. What is it about Kevin Smith? Is it because his movies are generally considered as being good? Is it because of all the pop cultural and movie references in his movies? What am I missing and am I the only one that thinks all his movies pretty much suck?(and is Jay going to come over and kick my ass? [​IMG])
     
  2. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    Nothing. [​IMG]
     
  3. Richard Kim

    Richard Kim Producer

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    I agree that Smith's films are overrated. I enjoyed Clerks when it first came out, but have been unimpressed with the rest of his films. In fact I find it ironic that Smith criticizes Magnolia as being self indulgent when he himself made Jay & Silent Bob Strikes Back, the most self indulgent film I've even seen.
     
  4. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Never mind.
     
  5. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    An appreciation for dick and fart jokes. That's really the critical trait a KS fan needs. Sure it gets tiresome at times, but most of the time the guy can make me laugh like no one else.
     
  6. Haggai

    Haggai Producer

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    Ricardo makes a salient point there. I think Smith's movies vary in quality by quite a bit. I can't stand Mallrats, I get a lot of laughs out of Clerks, and I enjoy parts of Dogma and J&SB Strike Back, while not thinking all that much of them as a whole (but, come on now, Good Will Hunting 2, Hunting Season? Classic. "Affleck, you were the bomb in Phantoms!")

    But I really admire Chasing Amy, which I think has the funniest stuff he's ever done in (mostly) the first half, as well as the only genuinely successful non-comedic stuff in any of his movies, with the relationship themes. Plus some classic humor that didn't relate to bodily functions:

    "Lando Calrissian is a strong role-model for the African-American community!"

    "Man, FUCK Lando Calrissian--Uncle Tom n%^ga..." [​IMG]

    I would definitely recommend that movie even to people who don't like other KS that they've seen.
     
  7. Ray H

    Ray H Producer

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    I actually didn't like Clerks too much though I'm willing to give it another viewing in case it takes a second to appreciate. Chasing Amy's a solid movie. Haven't seen Mallrats and only found parts of Jay and Silent Bob funny.

    He's good with dialogue and there's some good wit and humor in his writing but his only film that I really enjoy is Dogma.

    I did like that Clerks animated series though. [​IMG]
     
  8. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Im a fan of Kevin Smith, i really think its just the Dick and Fart jokes :p) As for overrated, i never really heard of kevin smith until i caught Jay and Silent Bob strike back on TV once. Prolly only one movie buff friend has seen any other Kevin Smith movies.

    But i can see how people would NOT like his movies.

    My favs are probably Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and Mallrats. Then Clerks, then Chasing Amy, then Dogma. THough ive only seen dogma once, while seen J&SBSB probably a dozen times.
     
  9. David_Blackwell

    David_Blackwell Screenwriter

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    Clerks was OK. Mallrats was good. Chasing Amy is meh. Dogma is good. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back sucks.
     
  10. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Producer

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    "Ok I've tried to watch Kevin Smith's movies and each time the first word that pops into my mind is "sucks", the second being "overrated". Yet he has a following and respect as a filmmaker."

    He has a following -- respect as a filmmaker is another kettle of fish. Even his fans realize he is no Steven Spielberg, but they do appreciate the VOICE of Kevin Smith. Smith is a unique VOICE in American film, and that's what his fans love about him. They could give a crap about crane shots or chorepgraphy on the order of the Spider hunt in Minority Report -- people go to a Kevin Smith film for the dialogue and the recognizable geekwad characters.

    He is almost the anti-Lucas...his use of film language is admittedly average at best, and yet his dialogue sings to his chosen people.

    If you're missing Kevin Smith, he's not singing to you. No big deal.
     
  11. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    Exactly. He speaks to a specific crowd. I've never thought of him as that talented of a "film-maker" but think he writes brilliant dialog. That is, of course, because I'm a geek who often argues over the minutia of comics, movies, music, etc... [​IMG]
     
  12. Anthony Clifton

    Anthony Clifton Stunt Coordinator

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    Kevin Smith is the Dave Matthews Band of filmmaking. Showed lots of promise at the beginning and has slowly declined into a fanboy/fratboy joke.
     
  13. Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm

    Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm Supporting Actor

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    Ernest puts it very well.

    I think Smith writes amazing dialogue in the Aaron Sorkin vein--it's not realistic, but it brings out the heart of his characters better than realistic dialogue ever could. I actually also like his direction sometimes; it's very no-frills and character-centered. Much like James Cameron, though, the fact that he insists on directing his own screenplays hamstrings him because that process skips a step of creative collaboration.

    I'd really like to see someone else direct a Smith screenplay, and I'd like to see Smith direct a screenplay by another writer. Then we can really see if he's any good.
     
  14. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Ernst pretty much said it for me too.

    My real problem with his movies is his vision. The cinematography in his movies (at least the ones I have seen) is uniformly uninteresting to the point of being pedestrian. No matter how clever the dialogue or funny the joke, the uninteresting visuals drag the movies down for me.

    Also, much of the acting in his movies hovers around average, with some performances coming in well below.

    He does write some very funny bits and has constructed some interesting situations. I usually buy into his world quite easily.

    And I am enormously respectful of his ability to get his movies made.
     
  15. Kevin Grey

    Kevin Grey Cinematographer

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    This was much improved in Jersey Girl. Admittedly its hard to screw up the visuals when your cinematogropher is Vilmos Zsigmond. You won't mistake it for a Scorcese picture but I wasn't distracted by the extremely pedestrian visuals that have bothered me in all of his other movies.
     
  16. John Doran

    John Doran Screenwriter

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    man. i'm not sure if anyone says things as well as ernest.

    beautiful.
     
  17. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    Well, the former hasn't come up since he doesn't trust anyone with his vision. That may change with Green Hornet, if it ever gets made. He's said himself that he's not too sure he's the right guy to direct it, since he's not an action guy.

    The latter probably will never happen, since he only directs to put his screenplays on screen.

    Personally, I love the guy, but I can understand why some people don't like him. You either get him, or you don't.

    Jason
     
  18. Bradley-E

    Bradley-E Screenwriter

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    Thank You. I thought I was the only one who does not get it.
     
  19. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    Gary- i've had the same reaction to his work going back to the first critical darling of his- Clerks.
    based on the premise and what looked to be an attractive, fresh cast, i expected to love Chasing Amy, but came away as i usually do from his movies- somewhat amused and a little annoyed.

    execution is very amateurish- and i disagree that he writes brilliant (or even good) dialouge.
    he overwrites in a very bad way, and when actors mouth his dialouge it sounds like what it is- an actor reading from a sript done by a writer that needs considerable editorial oversight but isn't getting it.

    his comic book writing is equally bad.
    i slogged thru about 10 overwritten word ballons in one of his daredevil comics and finally gave up.


    as much as i hate his work, i will give him credit for some very amusing dvd commentaries.
    the one on Mallrats was very funny.
     
  20. Jordan_E

    Jordan_E Cinematographer

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    CLERKS hit me all the right ways because I was a video store clerk and it was almost all right on the money, if even a little tame compared to stuff I saw! And "you're not allowed to rent here anymore!" is my favorite part!
     

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