Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A Kevin Smith-ee Project

I've always been unapologetic of my fondness of 1994's "Clerks." It struck me at just the right time -- filmmaking was becoming more democratic again, a la the ’70s, and I was developing a taste for offbeat movies as I was simultaneously jockeying a fucking register in Dead End, Long Island. Whatever it is about Kevin Smith movies that speak to people, it spoke loudly to me. Fat bastard can go out, sell his comic collection, and shoot a semiautobiogaphical tale of complacency and ennui, sprinkled with blowjob jokes and "Star Wars" references. A tidy little project in its day...

But now, after twelve years and seven flicks, Smith's welcome is wearing thin. Whereas there has always been a chewy emotional-nougat center at the center of his movies, Smith's proclivities tend to get in the way of clear storytelling -- penchants for female denigration/punishment, homoerotic denigration, and the ubiquitous dick joke. There have been a few unvarnished instances where he's successfully conveyed a poignant moment ("Chasing Amy"... and... "Chasing Amy"), but too often, you just wind up sitting through "Clerks II."

Why, oh why, does any movie need a donkey-show scene? Is it off to say this was a totally gratuitous donkey-show scene? And what's with trying to sell the emotional climax of a movie just as a man fucks an ass in the ass?

An open letter to Kevin Smith:

Dear Kev,

Find your actual core strengths -- it's not directing, guy, and sometimes, it's not even writing. But more often than not, it's writing. You used to be described as the Woody Allen of your generation, but these days you're more like the Hal Needham of your generation. Your dialogue can still crackle, and some actors have never sounded better than when they were reading your lines.

Get back to zero. Concentrate on what you do best. Yours can be a comeback also heralding the return of Affleck, an actor I've always had some affection for, as long as he's reciting your lines.

And for chrissakes, do it before you're 40 and a footnote.


Bill Scurry