As far as I know, Kevin Smith hasn’t really seen Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen yet. It’s still filming so I wouldn’t expect this headline to come true for another few months. (But even with my dislike for the first Transformers, I’m willing to stand behind the veracity of the second half of this post’s title until proven otherwise.)
Instead, what passes for news these days is the announcement that Smith has apparently been gifted with a viewing of J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Star Trek movie, and guess what… “It was phenomenal.” He was recently on KROQ’s Kevin and Bean radio show and played coy about what he may or may not have seen.
Smith: I saw a movie last night that I cannot talk about.
Host: Was it good?
Smith: It was phenomenal.
Host: Any stars, any break out stars, and do they trek?
Smith: The stars absolutely trek in this film. It is fantastic. Anybody who was worried doesn’t need to be worried–about this film I cannot talk about…It was in very capable hands. The director did a phenomenal job–the director and his crew. Top notch cast and the guy that plays the lead is an instant star. That dude is going to be so famous. He is so wonderful. He picked up a role that I would say is pretty challenging for someone to step into the shoes of, because it is a role that has been played before many times by the same guy.
You can almost hear the sound of fan-boys and girls around the globe dropping little Klingons in their Underoos. When asked if a franchise like Star Trek is something he’d ever want the chance to tackle, Smith replied “I would not like to be the guy… it would take a really insanely talented filmmaker–storyteller. Like in the case of Star Trek, JJ Abrams. So leave it to the people who are best equipped for it. I am just the guy who should be watching those movies.”
Smith made news a week ago for the same exact reason when he was given exclusive access to a Watchmen screening where he presumably got to sit on Zack Snyder’s lap and squeeze the director’s nipples throughout the film. “The Non-Disclosure Agreement I signed prevents me from saying much,” he said, “but I can spout the following with complete joygasmic enthusiasm: Snyder and Co. have pulled it off.” Again, shrieks of gasmic glee echoed across the land. One well respected movie blogger actually said “I never doubted Snyder and his crew, but most have been a bit weary. However, this proves plain and simple that Snyder has done it.” Aside from the fact that people are probably more concerned about Watchmen than they are exhausted by it, does the writer actually believe that Smith’s “unbiased” and detail-lacking rhetoric really proves anything? The reaction to Smith’s comments was a unanimous emission of relief and fluids across the blogosphere, and it succeeded in lathering up the faithful into a frenzied and excitable state. Watching this textual orgy unfold I found myself pondering a single, already overused and paraphrased question.
Who the fuck is Kevin Smith?
I should probably preface that potentially incendiary query with a fire retardant explanation, but my ‘Back Space’ key is busted so I can only move forward. I know who Kevin Smith is, obviously. He’s made at least one great film and several other pretty good ones. Even his mediocre films shine in one respect, and that’s his writing. Smith’s ear for dialogue makes him one of the three best screenwriters working today when it comes to engaging, believable, and sharply entertaining conversations (the other two being Shane Black and Quentin Tarantino.) Add to that the fact that he’s probably the funniest goddamn speaker you will ever hear, regardless of the topic at hand. If you have the chance to see him live at Comic-Con or on on of his frequent university crawls, I highly recommend you do so. You’ll laugh your ass off, guaranteed. And yes, Smith is well-versed and immersed in comic lore and culture, he’s written some books, he’s tangled with writing superhero screenplays, however briefly and ultimately unsuccessfully, and he’s apparently an all around swell guy.
But do any of these things make his opinion on unfinished films that are seven to nine months away from release the slightest bit relevant or newsworthy? Some points to ponder… Smith provided zero details amidst his ravings, and while I understand the reason why, the lack of substance makes these reports empty fluff pieces. Both of Smith’s spontaneous adulations came at a time when the films in question were combating doubters and naysayers amongst those faithful and fanatical to the source material, but who could be potentially swayed by the glowing words of a portly geek god. Many, if not all of the news posts covering Smith’s opinions on films no one else will see for several months were sure to note that his own film, Zack and Miri Make a Porno comes out next month.
Now I’m not saying that Smith’s pronouncements were strictly brilliant promotional moves for his own film and those of his friends, and I’m not implying these were simply puff pieces light on content but heavy on “look how cool I am” ego stroking… but are his opinions really newsworthy even on a slow news day? Even if he’s being sincere, which I believe he is (with a dash of overzealous fan boy giddiness) these are still just the opinions of a fellow movie lover.
One last quote before I open the floor to comments, insults, and ass chewings… Jeopardy-style, can you guess who said the following?
“Revenge of the Sith is, quite simply, fucking awesome. This is the Star Wars prequel the haters have been bitching for since [Phantom] Menace came out, and if they don’t cop to that when they finally see it, they’re lying.”
In unison now, “who the fuck is Kevin Smith?”
The Commentary Track is a column that proves that the staff of FSR can be even more opinionated than normal. It allows them to provide commentary on growing trends in the movie business. The opinions expressed in this feature reflect the opinions of the individual, not of the site as a whole.