Tag Archives: Kevin Smith

An Open Letter to Kevin Smith

An Open Letter to Kevin Smith

Dear Kevin Smith,

As a former fan of yours that enjoyed a couple of your films, I am inclined to write this letter. I’m not interested in dodging the main subject: You are not a good writer and you’re an even worse director. The problem is that because of your sycophantic followers and your lame public speaking events that you somehow think are standup comedy, you’ve tricked yourself into thinking that you’re relevant. I’m here to tell you that you haven’t been relevant in nearly 20 years.

I will never forget the first time I saw Clerks. It made me laugh, it kept me endlessly interested, and it even had a very touching relationship between two “going nowhere” 20-somethings. I was actually naïve enough to think that maybe my generation had a new voice. Maybe we had finally found a director who could relate to us in the way that Woody Allen related to his generation’s human relationships back in the 70’s and 80’s. So, I waited for your second film with baited breath wondering what brilliance could come from you after you’d been given a real budget and professional crew. So, what did we get? Mallrats. Really? Your idea of a follow-up was to take the same “2 buddies” approach, place it in a mall, and add the most unfunny slapstick bullshit ever. The great jokes in Clerks centered on every day situations being overblown and populated with great characters. Mallrats was filled with unlikeable trash assholes that couldn’t act and spoke in run-on sentences. Several “great” jokes included you dressing up as Batman and flying across a line to crash into a woman’s dressing room, a bully who likes to rape women in the butt, and Michael Rooker eating pretzels that had been shoved up someone’s ass and then throwing them up. Really? That’s your follow up to one of the great low budget films of all time? I couldn’t tell if you made that film out of sheer pressure to strike while the iron was hot and producers were offering you a job or if you had no good ideas after Clerks. You’d like to think that it has been more appreciated over time after its complete box office failure. But, no. It sucked then it sucks now. Let’s not even forget about the horrid performances all the way around. Jason Lee and Ben Affleck are the one only ones who get free passes off this turd. Everyone else is horrendous, particularly Jeremy London who has less than zero talent. I’ve heard you criticize him publicly but you’re the director. If you didn’t like it, you should have fired him before you stamped your name on that piece of shit.

Next up after that failure was to return to your low budget roots and make Chasing Amy. While a step up from Mallrats, it still contained more of the crap dialogue from Mallrats that made it so nauseating. The worst offender is your take off of Jaws where Ben Affleck and Joey Lauren Adams share stories of eating pussy. It flies so far away from any type of real conversations that it sounds fake and contrived. There really aren’t any jokes in this film. All of the humor comes from Jason Lee uttering the word “gay” and “faggot” every 3 seconds. So, without any jokes, what are we left with? A shitty romantic comedy that doesn’t work. And why doesn’t it work? First, the acting is terrible. Joey Lauren Adams has easily the most annoying voice I’ve ever heard. Anytime she raises her voice she sounds like Minnie Mouse with a head cold. I discovered she used to be your ex-girlfriend and easily figured out why she got the role. The other main problem is the story. Clerks was something that people could relate to. There are a lot of us that have worked in customer service wondering if we had any direction in our lives. But, I doubt many of us were friends with a beautiful lesbian who turned straight because they fell in love with me while dodging a sexual past where she slept with half the town and their best friend is secretly gay, in love with me, and hates my lesbian friend girlfriend. I’d say that time has taken care of Chasing Amy. It has been completely forgotten.

All of the films after this have gotten progressively worse and worse. Dogma was a complete disaster. It contained your classic run-on sentence dialogue only this time it was from Catholic Catechism. Wow! Let’s tackle the great issue of how God and people relate by having a huge rubber shit monster mixed with scenes of violence involving angels murdering people. Oh, and somehow you even manged to crowbar yourself into a starring role. After that, it was Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back. It was more unfunny slapstick mixed with movie references from all the pig shit you made before it. There’s even a reference to the great chocolate covered pretzels from Mallrats.

The shit films continued. Next up was Jersey Girl. It was a feeble attempt to break out of your boring View Askew universe by making a PG-13 romantic comedy that was so ungodly boring that it actually hurt the rise of a friend of yours in Ben Affleck. He was probably at his fame peak at the time and you managed to knock him down a peg. Despite an A-list star, you managed to lose money on a film with a modest $35 million budget. He has luckily learned his lesson and hasn’t starred in a film for you since.

You must have panicked after moving away from the View Askew crap because your next outing was Clerks II. I’ll even admit that I was interested in this project simply because of my love for the original. But, you managed to fuck up the one thing you did right in the first one. It doesn’t matter what you talk about as long as you don’t show it! You started with Chasing Amy by showing black and white “flashbacks” while people told gross stories. But, here you actually show it all. I’ll be here to tell you that a man having sex with a donkey is not funny. It’s even less funny when it’s the big comedic finale of your fucking film and it goes on for an eternity.

Your last three movies are the most pitiful of your already embarrassing career. “Zak and Miri Make a Porno” is one of the most unfunny comedies I’ve ever seen. It’s a pathetic take on a moronically stupid premise. Like Clerks II, your big finale was also unfunny and boring. This time we get to see Jason Mewes’ cock. And, yes, that’s the joke. We see him naked…..yeesh. Talk about creatively bankrupt. It’s your worst film and one of the worst I’ve ever seen by anyone.

The last two are typically horrid. Cop Out was so bad that Bruce Willis didn’t want to promote it and you responded in your typically attention whoring way by calling him a fucking dick. For someone who’s never had a big box office hit, pissing off one of Hollywood’s biggest stars isn’t the smartest move.

Lastly, you made Red State. It’s embarrassing. It isn’t scary, contains not one shred of believability(something great horror films have), and has a villian that I can’t even comprehend what he’s saying. I wasn’t surprised either that despite being a horror flick, you still managed to have a scene with teenagers making fun of each other for being gay.

All of your films since Clerks are a waste of the audience’s time. Not only is the dialogue hokey and unrealistic within any comedic frame but your ability as a director is less than limited. You frame everything like it’s a TV show. 2-shot, 1-shot- 3-shot- 2-shot, 1-shot. Your camera is almost always static and your pacing is awful. That would be acceptable if it wasn’t for the bad actors you choose film after film. The ones that are good are always better when they work with someone else. Ben Affleck’s career should give you an idea. He has been plenty nice enough to work with you, even after he became a star. He did that despite the fact that he’s better than you at every aspect of the film business. He’s obviously a better actor but he also blows you away as a writer. That was reenforced by the fact that he has an Academy Award for penning Good Will Hunting. Then, he got behind the camera and made The Town and Gone Baby Gone. Both of these are films of real vision. That’s something that none of your flicks have ever had.

Nowadays, it seems that getting attention and spouting your mouth off appear to be your only talents. You got told you were too fat to sit in a plane. Most people would take that as a hint that maybe it’s time to put down the cheesecake. But, you got excited that you actually got some press for something other than your films sucking and you took to twitter! Between that and your gloried press junkets that you actually charge your fans for, you’re rolling in the “me time.” How can you in good conscience charge people to come and ask questions so that you can then insult their personal appearance? It’s not stand-up comedy. It’s the pathetic end to a career that should have ended almost 20 years ago. I used to hold out hope that you’d eventually turn it around and make another film that the audience would be proud to pay to see. But, it has been proven time and time again that you were always a one trick pony who’s true talent is convincing people that you have talent.


A former fan,

Brian Volke


Cop Out

Jimmy Monroe (Bruce Willis) and off-kilter Paul Hodges (Tracy Morgan) are two suspended cops trying to track down a stolen and very valuable 1950s baseball card. Along the way, they encounter a Mexican beauty and countless other characters and get entangled with the mob. Kevin Smith (Clerks) directs this comedic action flick co-starring Adam Brody, Jason Lee, Michelle Trachtenberg, Kevin Pollak and Seann William Scott.

Rating: 4 out of 10

I love Kevin Smith, but I’m not in love with him. We put Kevin Smith on our most overrated directors list for good reason.

When he makes a great movie, like “Clerks,” “Dogma” or “Chasing Amy,” he really nails it. But he makes a lot of turds, like “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” “Jersey Girl” or “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.”

“Cop Out” is somewhere in between. It’s not as awful as “Jersey Girl” but it’s nowhere near “Mallrats” or “Clerks 2.” There are a couple funny parts — Morgan’s character uses dialogue from action movies when playing the “bad cop” to intimidate witnesses. Morgan and Willis have good chemistry on camera and there’s a handful of funny parts. But all in all, most of the humor is so moronic it hurts your head to watch. If you want a really funny cop comedy, check out “The Other Guys.”

Top 5 overrated directors


I’m going to preface this by saying that James Cameron didn’t make my list. He’s not an overrated director. If anything, he’s an overrated to below average writer. I’ll also say that Spike Lee and Oliver Stone didn’t make my list because they have made at least two great films (JFK and Wall Street for Stone and Malcolm X and Do the Right Thing for Lee). There’s no way I can name a director with at least two films of a 9 or 10 quality overrated because you can catch lightning in a bottle once but not twice. For example, George Lucas is not on my list despite some people’s grumblings about the prequels. The guy directed American Graffiti, THX 1138 (one of the most underrated sci-fi masterpieces of all time), and Star Wars. You can’t be overrated if those were the only good films you ever made. Anyway, I just wanted to explain my logic going into this. So here we go:

5. Ang Lee: Other than Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, this guy is the master of the good but not great and sometimes awful. Sense and Sensibility was OK and got nominated for seven Academy Awards, Brokeback Mountain was decent but got too much attention because of its controversial subject matter (including a directing Oscar for Ang Lee), and Hulk was horrible. I never get excited for his work because he’s very inconsistent and never amazing.

4. Kevin Smith: Kevin Smith is a very good writer and an extremely overrated director. If you watch any of his films, they are devoid of any sense of style whatsoever. He actually shoots them like a sitcom. It’s a 2-shot, 3-shot, 1-shot type of approach that I’m very familiar with working in the TV business. His compensation in making films has always been that he’s very smart and writes some great dialogue. He also has an adamant cult following that few filmmakers enjoy. I’m a big fan of Clerks but the rest is full of his filmography is very hit or miss and the hits are never out of the park.

3. M. Night Shamylan: He’s actually starting to get exposed as a fraud. After The Village, Lady in the Water, The Happening, and The Last Airbender, he’s proven that he no longer has any good ideas. I was actually a fan of The Sixth Sense, Signs, and Unbreakable but none of them are great. I’d give Sixth Sense an 8, Unbreakable and Signs a 7. The rest are 4 and below quality. A lot of people forget that he was once thought of as the next Spielberg. I’d say those voices are mute now.

2. Ron Howard: Ron Howard movies are generally stuffed with way more emotion than is needed and very little ground that has never been tread before. Most of his style is derivative of other, more talented directors, like Zemeckis and Spielberg. He has one great film in his entire 30 year resume and that would be Frost/Nixon. And, as far as that film goes, the main engine is the performance of Frank Langella, which is spellbinding if you’ve never seen it. The rest of his work is average. Beautiful Mind is horribly overrated, Backdraft is OK, Grinch, Davinci Code and its sequel were horrible, and Splash has been forgotten. A bad director? No way, but very overrated.

1. Baz Luhrman: This guy nearly squeaked into my top 5 worst directors list. He should thank his personal God that there are people like Uwe Boll and Roland Emmerich out there. He has been nominated several times for Academy Awards and I don’t get it. He has never made one film that would qualify for better than shitty in my book. Strictly Ballroom was awful, Romeo and Juliet was an incoherent mess, Moulin Rouge was absolutely horrendous, and Australia was a critical and commercial flop despite two A-list stars. He has a visual style that I would actually classify as annoying.

Happy Birthday Kevin Smith


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.”

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