Kevin Smith turns 40 today, which makes us feel great because that means there’s plenty of years ahead for us to enjoy his work.
I remember being 15 in 1994 when “Clerks” hit the indy theaters with a buzz and I was lucky enough to have a big brother on the up and up who took me along to see it. To me, it was a revelation. It was a film about two normal guys, who drive crappy cars, live with their parents, have dead-end jobs in New Jersey and are looking for change in their lives. These were realistic characters — in a film made my a couple college dropouts who maxed out their credit cards to make it — who talked about the dumb crap we did, like the innocent contractors and painters who died on the Death Star in “Star Wars.”
Kevin Smith has always been himself — a comic book-loving nerd from New Jersey who makes films full of characters that have foul mouths and not-so-sexy lives, just like most of us. He’s also very smart and funny, even when he’s crass. This scene from “Clerks 2” is just brilliant.
“Mallrats,” “Clerks,” “Clerks 2,” “Dogma” and “Chasing Amy” were all spot on. He’s had some flicks I didn’t care for (pretty much everything not listed in the previous sentence), but I can look past those because the others were a huge part of my youth and I love them dearly. He’s taken some flack for not being able to follow up his early work, but even if that’s all he has, it’s more a legacy than most directors leave — and it’s a huge one.
I leave you with Stink Palm, a classic bit from “Mallrats.”