Let 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’ll 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.