How I Got to Kevin Smith's Films
For twenty five years now, Kevin Smith has spoken about his love of geek culture. In the 1990s, it was his films and his comics. In the 2000s, he held court during live events where he could entertain an audience just by talking about the things that he--and they--loved. When podcasting became a thing, Smith effortlessly moved into that field, broadening his brand and reaching an even wider audience.
Somehow, I missed all of it.
As I look back on it now in 2019, I still can't figure out how. I’m in Smith's wheelhouse. We like the same stuff. We’re basically the same age, so the pop culture we consumed matched. Star Wars changed our way of thinking. Batman is our favorite comic book hero. And we both tear up seemingly when the wind blows a certain way.
But he didn’t land on my radar until 2012. Even then, it was only a side mention on a separate podcast and only because Mark Hamill was a guest on a then unknown-to-me podcast Smith hosted called Fat Man on Batman. I listened to the Hamill episodes and I was hooked on the Fat Man podcast. So hooked that for these last seven years, I’ve known Smith as a podcaster and occasional director of DC's television shows on The CW. In fact it was his directorial debut on “The Flash” that serves as the first visual medium thing by Smith I saw. I've written about him rather frequently here on the blog. Heck, I've even seen him live and had a wonderful time.
But I've never seen any of the movies.
Why Not Start?
One of the main things Smith has been talking about this year is his new movie Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. It's coming out in the fall, according to his most recent interview with the Empire Film podcast. The hosts--and just about any audience member in his live podcasts--cheer with glee at the prospect. So, like I did with Harry Potter in 2007 (I had not read the books and decided to read the first six leading up to the publication of last novel), I decided to watch all of Kevin Smith's movies so I'll be able to watch Reboot when it lands in theaters.
How I Prepped
I didn’t. I did no research. I didn’t read up on any Wikipedia entry ahead of time. There are a few mentions in these reviews about stopping the process of reading Wikipedia while watching the movies, but I stopped cold with Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Heck, I didn’t even watch any of the trailers until after I watched the film. I wanted the movie-watching experience to be as pure as possible.
And I never went back into an older review and revised anything I'd written in the moment on an aspect of a character or situation that a later film touched on. These are all reviews I wrote after viewing one movie and completed before I started watching the next.
But even I knew about Jersey Girl bombing. I knew Tusk tanked. Smith talks about Tusk and Yoga Hosers so much in all of his podcasts that I’ve got a general idea about them. But I’ll wait to weigh in when I get there.
With my days filled with the day job, the other job (I’m a writer and publisher of my own books), being a husband, being a dad, and everything else, I found myself watching these films here and there. On lunch hours for fifty minutes, then at night for the next fifty or so. A few I couldn’t wait to get back to. Others were different.
One of the things I would have loved to have done was watch all the movies before I started posting—to avoid outside influences—but the time table didn’t work out. I always envisioned this series to have weekly installments. Sure, I could have dropped all of them twelve days ahead of Reboot, but I wanted to start a conversation with these posts. I want to be able to watch the DVD extras during these next couple of months to get a better insight on the films, the characters, and the actors. I'd love folks who have seen these movies over and over to anticipate what I might say about their favorite film.
I started in the middle of June 2019, but then on 18 July 2019, Smith dropped the trailer for the new film. More importantly, he and Jason Mewes are going on the road to show the movie and talk about it. They land in Houston on 30 October (and I’ve already purchased my ticket). That’s twelve weeks from now. The new movie is Smith’s thirteenth. I think you see where I’m going.
Starting on 7 August, and going for the next twelve Wednesdays, I’ll post my review of each Smith film to date. The last review will be for Yoga Hosers on 23 October. A week later, Smith and Mewes will be in H-Town and I’ll see the new flick. Naturally, I’ll review it, too, on 6 November.
Here is the order and date of review:
1. Clerks (1994) – 7 August
2. Mallrats (1995) – 14 August
3. Chasing Amy (1997) – 21 August
4. Dogma (1999) – 28 August
5. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001) – 4 September
6. Jersey Girl (2004) – 11 September
7. Clerks II (2006) – 18 September
8. Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008) – 25 September
9. Cop Out (2010) – 2 October
10. Red State (2011) – 9 October
11. Tusk (2014) – 16 October
12. Yoga Hosers (2016) – 23 October
13. Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (2019) – 6 November
As of today, I have watched and written reviews for eight movies, so that means I've already seen Zack and Miri Make a Porno. I have only four more to go until Reboot comes out.
And that bit about being able to watch the extras on DVD? Already started. Actually ordered one on Amazon, but picked up others at Half Price Books. I'll probably either do a separate review for the behind-the-scenes material or do bonus episodes.
There might also be a video component.
I want to reiterate what I hope will happen. I'd love to have a conversation about these movies. A back and forth. I mean, I have twenty-five years of chit-chat to catch up on.
But we have to begin where it all started, twenty five years ago, at a convenience store in Leonardo, New Jersey.
Come back Wednesday for Clerks.