An Evening With Kevin Smith Movie Review
Love him or hate him, Kevin Smith (writer/director of Clerks and Chasing Amy) is a terribly engaging guy and an unpretentious storyteller, qualities that are affirmed in An Evening With Kevin Smith, a two DVD set featuring highlights Smith's Q&A sessions at several colleges. Then again, what kind of attitude what you expect a guy who dresses like he's about to mow your lawn?
Like Smith's movies, there's nothing flashy about this Evening. It resembles a far longer, much less snooty version of Inside the Actors Studio. Wide-eyed college students (one of whom resembles Smith's famous character, Silent Bob) ask questions, and Smith provides thorough and frequently entertaining answers.
It's easy to understand why Smith has such a strong rapport with young adults. Steeped in pop culture, he's a writer who relishes long, articulate passages coming from characters struggling with adulthood but getting by with attitude and Star Wars references. And his deliberate lack of style, both in public and in his films, gives him regular guy appeal. Not only is it cool to like his films, you won't feel like an art house snob.
Of course, Smith's blunt viewpoint means that he has little tolerance for celebrity blowhards. The best parts of this gabfest come in Smith detailing his confrontations with spider-friendly Superman (then Superman Lives) producer Jon Peters and Prince. To his chagrin, Smith discovers while making a documentary about the petite rocker that he has been living in "Prince World" for quite some time. Smith's candor also works in his favor, when describing his courtship and first sexual encounter with then USA Today reporter and future wife Jennifer Smith.
The only problem with the material is that it caters to such a limited audience. If you're a fan of Smith's movies or from central New Jersey (where Smith gets more press than John Sayles), you're in great shape. You'll hear stories about Jason Mewes, discover the impetus behind Chasing Amy and bear witness to lots of tomfoolery. But if you crave insights on moviemaking or the creative process, there isn't a lot to be found. Smith tells anecdotes, which he's great at, but he offers very little detail on the director's life.
In all honesty, there really isn't a pressing need for Kevin Smith's educational antics to be preserved on DVD. We can all think of directors who are more deserving for face time, but would they be half as engaging? I just hope Smith doesn't warp into a multi-media whore, between his comic book writing, love of the press, acting appearances and directing/writing duties. I'd hate to see him wear out his welcome before he's 35, but as this DVD indicates, I think he's having too much fun to notice. Or even care.
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