Kevin Smith: Sold Out- A Threevening with Kevin Smith (2008? really?)
Synopsis? Kevin Smith talks to/at thousands of admirers in large auditoriums.
have you seen an evening with kevin smith? or whatever the second one is called? same thing. i enjoyed it. i like to think fondly of his supposed honesty and wit. i like hearing those little stories that go on for 40 minutes in response to one question. it's his style and i can dig.
This particular piece is a significant contributor to my recent reviewing procrastination. I still haven't decided exactly how I'm going to write what I want to say here, so we'll see how it goes.
I think I'm over Kevin Smith. It pains me to say that--and I'm NOT saying that I will avoid his future works--as a prophet he's gradually waned in my esteem as I've aged and matured. I was first exposed to him with Clerks, as so many of my generation were, and I really felt that he spoke to me. I thought he was raucously funny and made salient points that, even though I was a little younger than the characters in the movie, I found to be applicable to me. In some ways, as shitty as those lives were, I almost hoped that one day they would be applicable to me.
Where this really hit me in the gut was Chasing Amy. I remember the experience of watching this movie quite clearly. I remember being glued to my seat despite being full of TWO large movie theater sodas. I could not escape his message and how he delivered it. I recently heard some criticism of him relating to this film and I felt that the reviewer really didn't understand his message, that love is not about the body. That's a great message and it was framed in a way that eloquently validated my own opinions. And while I don't agree with Dogma--I discussed this recently--I still found it to be funny and well built as a story.
Fast forward now to the "Evening" series. This review is about the "Threevening," but we also recently watched "Too Fat to Fly," so I'm covering that here as well. The thing that really hit me about "Threevening," finally, after having watched three other 2-4 hour exercises, is that his schtick is EXACTLY THE SAME. For as long as I've been exposed to him, it doesn't seem that he's grown up at all. His attitudes haven't changed; his demeanor hasn't changed; his friends haven't changed. It's cool when you're 18 or 19 to talk about naming your kid after a comic book character, just like it's funny to talk about naming your kid about subatomic particles or Star Trek characters; but is it actually mature to do so? Is it something one does when one's 30? Is it a burden with which a mature adult would actually want to saddle their child?
The other thing that struck me as I was watching the most recent one is that at least some of his stories are not true, beyond the part of hyperbole. It came to me during one of his stories about weed. He vacillates widely in his various pieces going from "I NEVER smoke in real life" to "I have weed around the house sometimes" to "I've smoked more times than anyone can count." That was one example, but it was enough to give me pause. If you look at some of the other stories in that light they make a lot more sense as fabrications to sound cool in front of a pile of college kids (still his core audience) rather than heartfelt personal anecdotes.
(I tried, as I was writing that, to convince myself that this is merely a character he plays on stage and that he's an adult person in his personal life; but one thing that he says which I DO believe is that there's a reason Silent Bob is Silent: Dude can't act.)
These are just examples of his overall attitude, and likely the most extreme ones. But they're there, and I can no longer ignore them. Goodbye, Mr. Smith. You've served me well. Shut up and go make a movie. Maybe if you get out of your own way it'll be good.