Saturday, February 19

Pulling Rabbits: On Kevin Smith

You can say what you want about Kevin Smith, but he is one committed dude. While shooting his first movie, Clerks, he worked a day job at a convenience store while shooting and editing at night. He kept this up for 21 days straight, until he literally fell asleep on the set. Clerks, as you might know, became an enormous hit and upgraded him from just a guy with a goatee and an ambition to one of the most promising new filmmakers of his generation. But instead of taking the money and run, like so many of his peers, he decided to stay and make another movie with the same people. And another. And another. All in all, he has made 5 movies, 2 shorts, 5 comics and an animated series about a fictional town over the years. You have to really like your friends to do something like that.

But liking people is something Kevin Smith is very good at. Besides working with basically the same cast and crew over the years, he is also one of the most empathic filmmakers working today. Especially in the realm of comedy it's commonplace to royally screw over your characters for laughs, but laughs like these are very rare in Smiths films. No matter how deep the people in his movies get in the crapper, they always remain likable and often even relatable. The laughs mostly come from either the characters themselves telling jokes to each other, or the sort of uncomfortable silences that only work when we care about the people experiencing them.

Also, every single one of his movies has at least 2 people with a goatee like that

But Smith has as characteristic that's even rarer for a comedian then being empathic: he's smart, and not ashamed of it. His work has touched some serious topics (including religion and homosexuality), but even when his movies are just about two retarded pot dealers there is some genuine intellect at work. The amazing thing is that this completely fits in with the humor of the film, which is often the dick-joke based kind. It's a unique quality, making you think while making you laugh.

Kevin Smith is a unique filmmaker. He's not exactly a genius, but we already have enough of those. Smith knows what he's good at, and then does that. He doesn't feel above making fart jokes, and uses his skills to make them really funny fart jokes. You can only applaud that sort of attitude. Alternatively, you could try to sell him some weed.


The man himself is in the video. How could I not include it?

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