Writing in Salon, film critic Andrew O’Hehir asks a question I’ve been asking myself for a while now: What’s become of “Clerks” Kevin Smith?
Smith was the first director of my generation to really make a smash, and, with “Clerks” he channeled the uncertainty that a lot of those in my generation felt as we were leaving college and starting our adult lives at the dawn of the 1990s.
His film offerings since have been wildly uneven — “Mallrats” was riotously funny and “Dogma,” for all its controversy, was a touching lover’s quarrel with the Catholic faith that Smith and I share. But for all those, there was “Jersey Girl,” and the less said about “Clerks II,’ and “Zack & Miri Make a Porno,” the better.
I should add that I desperately want Smith to make the great movie that I know he has in him. His success would be an artistic validation for my generation — the one the media used to call GenXers — and it would provide nice validation as we ease our way into middle age.
Here’s the nut graf from the Salon piece:
“But Kevin Smith has left the days when he was primarily known as the director of “Clerks” and “Chasing Amy” and other shambling indie comedies far behind. He’s arguably way better at his other job, as a relentless self-promoter and Twitter humorist, a subculture brand name and signifier of working-class suburban authenticity, a bush-league hipster blend of Bruce Springsteen and Michael Moore. Consider the performance-art masterwork that was his premiere of “Red State” at Sundance last January. Smith somehow coaxed the anti-gay fundamentalists of Fred Phelps’ odious Westboro Baptist Church — who are lampooned in the film — to show up in Utah to picket him. (Smith’s subsequent encounters with the Phelps clan have had the flavor of a scripted pro-wrestling feud, or maybe even George Bernard Shaw’s reputed practice of writing anonymous withering reviews of his own plays.) Then, having lured various distribution bigwigs to the Eccles Theatre with the promise that he’d auction off the rights to “Red State” onstage after the screening, he announced that he was buying the movie himself, for 20 bucks.”
Read the full piece here.