Red State Blues

I won’t delve too much into the latest Kevin Smith blogosphere  drama — I mean, a Moscow airport was blown up with over 30 dead, so let’s get some perspective here — and I’m not even a big fan of his work, though I’ve paid to see DOGMA, JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK and ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO in the theaters. I do think he’s a great ranconteur, and CLERKS is certainly part of 1990’s independent film DNA, so he’s okay by me. The weird, vitriolic overreaction to Smith pulling a William Castle by announcing he would auction the rights to RED STATE to his own production entity, The Harvey Boys, and distribute through the Tom Laughlin-perfected technique used for BILLY JACK (1971) of “four-walling,” basically renting the theater out yourself, doesn’t make sense to me, though I don’t follow Kevin Smith’s tweets nor most of the extant gossip. I would think any filmmaker taking a commercial risk by foregoing studio distribution to cut down outrageous marketing costs should be celebrated and commended. So what if the few distributors at the screening didn’t get to bid on the film? Some have accused Smith of turning his screening into “a circus.” A circus at a carnival! Irony! And he just sold a ticket.


12 Responses to “Red State Blues”

  1. It’s an interesting idea. He’s a name filmmaker, so people will turn up to see it for that reason or because they’re fans. But enough for it to at least break even? I heard it cost $4 million to make.

    I have to say I’m not a huge fan of Smith’s either. Many of his films I’ve yet to see, like Chasing Amy or Mallrats. His last film, Cop Out, looked like a complete dud so I avoided it like the plague (plus Tracy Morgan was in it).

    I can’t really tell WHAT this new movie is from the trailer. Diatribe about religion? Police/hostage drama? Horror film? It’s kind of all over the place. Hopefully the film itself will be a bit more coherent.

    • You should see CHASING AMY for its sexual politics. MALLRATS was unbearable. COP OUT looked generic, but Smith recounts some hilarious stories about working with Bruce Willis on his TOO FAT FOR 40 show on Netflix streaming…

      RED STATE looks like all of what you mentioned. We shall see…

      • “Chasing Amy” is fantastic, really funny and packed with real emotion. It’s easily my favorite Kevin Smith movie. A really niece work.

        I’m with you on “Mallrats”, too, Christian. I guess I made it about 10-20 (at the most) minutes through it and then my inner spirit yanked me up out of my chair to rip the tape out of the VCR. I may have drop kicked the tape off the back porch, too. Wow, “Mallrats” was too depressing to ever take another look at.

        Clearly Kevin Smith is hit or miss. I like about half his movies (I haven’t seen “Cop Out, either). I’m looking forward to “Red State” just from the one trailer.

      • The only way to watch MALLRATS is with the freakin’ hilarious audio commentary on. It actually made me almost appreciate the film. Plus, Smith rags on Ben Affleck throughout. heh.

  2. I like Smith’s early films with CHASING AMY being the best thing he’s ever done, IMO. I think he would have better a career as a screenwriter with someone else directing his scripts. Oh yeah, and CLERKS still holds up. Watched it a few weeks ago and it is still funny as hell.

    • I like his ideas and dialogue but haven’t really clicked with his films. I’m still surprised a smart guy with so much knowledge of comics can’t figure out how to put imagistic scenes together, but he’s honest about what kind of filmmaker he is. I think he’s doing the right thing here and I’m always on the side of somebody trying to liberate film from overzealous marketing.

  3. christian Says:

    I should state for the record that I find Jason Mewles HILARIOUS. I thought he was best thing about ZACK AND MIRI — he’s fearless.

    • Agreed. He was so good in that film and I really felt that ZACK AND MIRI was a return to form for Smith. Shame the Weinsteins bungled the release of that one. It could’ve done better at the box office, I feel.

  4. DakotaFanningRulesAll Says:

    CLAIRE FORLANI in Mallrats =



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