An extensive all access documentary examining the life and career of indie filmmaking icon Kevin Smith. Featuring never before seen interviews with friends, family, filmmaking peers, and icons of the film, comedy and comic worlds.
What We Thought:
I first discovered Kevin Smith when I was in college. I believe I saw Mallrats first and then Clerks when someone got a hold of it on VHS (yes I said VHS, yes I’m older than people think). Here were characters that sounded like normal people, had lives like normal people, had issues like normal people because it was written by a (relatively) normal person. They had jobs they didn’t like and weren’t supposed to be at that day and talked about Star Wars and comic books. They were me. Kevin, along with Edward Burns, introduced me to independent film. I hadn’t heard of any of the actors in the films. No one had won Oscars (yet). Clerks looked like I could have made it. Needless to say I was hooked and have seen every Kevin Smith film multiple times since even Tusk!
So basically Clerk. was made for me. It’s a pretty honest and upfront look at his life in film, his highs and lows, the careers he helped create, his heart attack, podcasting and weed. It starts where it all began, Clerks. The little black & white film was a hit in the indie film scene and first put Kevin Smith on the map. He was a hot name, the film was picked up quickly and the next thing he knows he’s making a second movie with real money and studio support. Mallrats may be a classic now, but critics hated it back when it was released. The people who were charmed over by his first film didn’t know what to make of a movie with a Stan Lee cameo and mall based capitalism. It bombed and even though it’s a lot more beloved now, the documentary shows that that failure got to Kevin and his producing partner Scott Mosier. For his third film he went back to his indie roots and Chasing Amy was the result. He was back at the respected filmmakers table again!
If you’re a fan you know he followed that up with Dogma. The documentary shows some great footage of the Christian backlash against that film. It probably helped grow its buzz more than it was boycotted. Smith is funny talking about Dogma because he grew up a good Christian boy. Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back was a return to fan favorite characters and life was pretty good.
Then the documentary gets into the downfall. I don’t know if you really want to call it a downfall, but Smith’s career seemed to take a dive at this point in some people’s eyes. Because of Bennifer, Jersey Girl was not the movie it could have been. Smith’s flick got crushed because of the Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez relationship ending (the first time). The documentary shows him joking on talk shows about how people shouldn’t worry, Jennifer Lopez dies early in the film. I rewatched it last year, I still think it’s a cute film. Clerks II was a return to form, but then Kev discovered weed thanks to Seth Rogen on Zack & Miri Make a Porno. Would he have made movies like Red State, Tusk and Yoga Hosers if it wasn’t for the weed? Even he questions that in the documentary.
The documentary also gets into his love for his fans. Say what you will about the man, but he embraced technology quickly. He used message boards and interacted with fans when they first came about. He’s wildly popular on social media and has created multiple podcasts. He’s done numerous tours just talking to fans about his movies and life in general. Some fans may have left Kevin Smith behind, but he’s never left his fans behind. He’s even released a few of his films directly to audiences to watch with him. Jay and Silent Bob Reboot was old school Hollywood touring the country and showing off the film to people who wanted to see it and him. His Q&As are pretty legendary at this point.
Clerk. is the ultimate portrayal of Kevin Smith. He’s not shy about his failures and things he’s done wrong. He’s not shy about his health or personal life. Once he learned to embrace the fact he’s not everyone’s cup of tea and doesn’t need anyone else’s approval he seemed to be happier. His wife and daughter love him. His friends and castmates certainly love him too (yes even Affleck). As long as his fans keep showing up he’ll still be out there hustling and entertaining in whatever media he likes. Now bring on Clerks III.