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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Well played, clerks

The title of this post and my previous post come from episodes of this show. As a fan of Kevin's work since college, I still find myself quoting lines from his movies, commentary tracks, Q&A's, etc. The deal is, while I still think highly of his writing and his wit, I don't keep up with his latest projects as much as I used to. Maybe because of the fact that I'm into other things other than just what he's doing. Maybe because of watching his collection of Q&A's on An Evening With Kevin Smith I grew tired of his dry delivery and the annoying spotlight of certain fans that I don't identify with. Maybe because I can't indentify with all the comic book fans that want to tar-and-feather him for not completing comic book story arcs. Maybe because of him saying he's done with Jay and Silent Bob and the View Askewniverse and then brings them back for DeGrassi Jr. High and now with Clerks 2. I just can't pinpoint to one reason.

I know that things change and you can't predict these changes, but I can't help speaking up on this topic. Seeing Jay and Silent Bob coming back again and again makes me feel like Kevin is catering to the crowd that goes to his Q&A's, not the people that appreciate his right-on commentary on life with lots of humor. I can't identify with people that enjoy talking about weed, diss Kevin's "lack of visual style" with his films, want him to tell the same stories over and over again, etc. These kind of things make the experience of being a Kevin Smith fan feel incredibly impersonal.

I get incredibly annoyed by people that say he's not a real director because he doesn't have a "visual style." Well, do people realize that Kevin is not the only director that sits the camera down and lets the actors talk? Acclaimed directors like Woody Allen and Jim Jarmusch (whom Kevin got his initial inspiration from) use something very similar. Using long, one-take shots, the characters talk, giving the writing and the performance the spolight, not the fast editing, the lighting, etc. Are we that visually challenged that we can't watch two people talking?

Yes, we are visually challenged because we are impatient with the visual arts. We expect a movie to be between 90 minutes and 120 minutes. Anything more than 120 minutes is interminable and anything less than 80 minutes is not enough.

I should say this, hearing Kevin's commentary track with Richard Kelly on the Donnie Darko: the Director's Cut DVD restores a lot of my faith in Kevin. He's funny, right-on and passes along a lot of great wisdom to Kelly. Since Kevin knows quite a few things about what it's like to have a widely-acclaimed first movie that still reasonates years after its release, he hasn't forgotten his roots.

Oh yeah, I'll definitely see Clerks 2 in the theater.

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