11 Nov

Red State: Officially my most anticipated movie of 2011.

Posted by Bryan White | Thursday November 11, 2010 | News

Red State TeaserLet it be known that I lost the Kevin Smith groove after Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. I feel like he lacks confidence in filmmaking, which is something that can’t happen when you’re making movies. He made his mark with Clerks, followed the trend with Mallrats and then broke the fuck out with Chasing Amy, proving to the world that he’s capable of writing and directing a serious picture with laughs and a distinct lack of dick jokes. Kind of. But he moved back into familiar territory and played to the crowd and drained the life blood out of his entire series. An attempt to move away and make a movie like the big kids blew up in his face and he went back to Jersey to nurse his wounds. I didn’t like Clerks 2, I thought Zack and Miri was pretty good and I didn’t even bother with Cop Out. But let me tell you something. I cannot fucking wait for Red State. I’ve called them in the past and I wind up loving them, entirely. In 2008, I called Black Dynamite the most anticipated movie of 2009 and it wound up taking my top spot for the year in my best of list. In 2009, I said Kick Ass was going to be the one for 2010 and so far this year, Kick Ass is toplining the list. Right now I’m calling it. Red State is the most anticipated movie of 2011 for me. Number one with a bullet.

I’m a real standout critic, too. Most of the critical community can’t fucking stand Kevin Smith and many of them devote thousands of words to their frustrations that he doesn’t do press screenings. I don’t care. I’m not invited or admitted to press screenings because by Hollywood and journalistic standards, I’m not a real critic. I’m just some asshole with a blog. I’m going to try again as the press machine cranks up for Red State promotions, but an attempt to interview Kevin around the release of Cop Out was dismissed outright by his publicist. So take this for what it’s worth. I’m not a member of the cult of SModcast. I’m actually really turned off by the pervasive nature of Fleshlight and Adam and Eve ads on the podcast and the SModcast site. You’llĀ  never see me at one of his spoken word gigs asking him if he wants to get high with me.

So why is this such an occasion for me? Kevin occasionally takes steps into uncharted waters and while the results have been uneven, it’s always exciting to see a filmmaker with potential take a big chance and work outside of their comfort zone. Kevin Smith, known for gay jokes and Star Wars references is taking a huge step into a culturally maligned genre with Red State. He’s making a god damn horror movie and has packed it tight with a killer cast. Kevin also does his best work when he has no money. Red State cost $4m to make and was shot quickly with one of those Red digital video cameras. In the Red State of the Union Q&A podcast, Smith plays the teaser twice and while you can’t see it, it certainly sounds gritty and completely alien in the Kevin Smith context. My recent criticism with the horror genre has been that for the last ten years it’s been playing the safe game by sticking well-trodden genre conventions and going way out into phantasmagoric fantasy substituting chills for gore. Very few of the movies I’ve seen in that time have left me feeling unsettled and actually, you know, horrified. Those that have, Inside, Antichrist and A Serbian Film, maybe did their job a little too well but did their job nonetheless. I’m hoping that Smith’s riff on the genre, said to be a 70’s style slow burner set in middle America, inspired by the exaggerated antics of Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church, will put me in the same place. Mostly I’m just excited to see what a guy long associated with low-brow comedy can do with a genre he’s not familiar with from a filmmaking point of view.

I mean, based on that podcast, it certainly sounds intense.


  1. November 11, 2010 2:29 pm

    Tony Nunes

    I’ve been looking forward to this as well. I’m not a huge K. Smith movie fan, but I feel he could do some great things in the horror genre. The whole Phelps religous angle could be brilliant if executed right, and I really liked Dogma, but feel a darker religous satire might be better-handled by Smith. And with John Goodman in the cast, I’m already lined up.

  2. December 8, 2010 12:12 pm

    E. Christopher Clark

    One of my initial Geek Force Five topics was Kevin Smith, but he lost me shortly after ZACK AND MIRI (which I liked). I’ve still not seen COP-OUT.

    Anyway, RED STATE wasn’t really on my radar until I started catching up on Red State of the Union. Everyone who’s working on this and everyone who’s seen it seems to be so damn behind it.

    How do you feel about the way he’s releasing promo material? Yesterday, for instance, he gave the rights to the second teaser poster to the highest bidding film site (proceeds going to charity).

  3. December 11, 2010 9:24 am

    Bryan White

    Kevin is among some of the most forward-thinking filmmakers working today as much as it pains me to say that. His movies lately haven’t been very good but his means of self-promotion, particularly the way that he made Red State happen, are way ahead of the Hollywood curve. I don’t think he works very well in the studio system but when he’s on his own and he’s calling his own shots he tends to really shine. He’s like Robert Rodriguez that way. Every piece of promotion for Red State that I’ve seen so far is unique and the way that he involves his fans and curious parties in general is smart. It’s going to work out well for him in the end. I think this movie will do well because of it. It’s also made on such a small budget that it can’t fail. Clerks 2 was a giant box office success because of that in spite of the usual critical dismissal of the movie in the press.

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