Tag Archives: kevin smith

Zack and Miri Make a Porno

You don’t have to have watched any porn to enjoy Zack and Miri, but it certainly helps.  If you needed evidence that Kevin Smith can make just about anything in life both funny and heart-warming at the same time, then this movie is it.  Zack and Miri are best friends and have been since school.  They share an appartment because neither of them can afford it on their own, and they complement each other.  It’s clear to everyone viewing that they should be in love, married and enjoying life together but because they’ve been friends for so long, they don’t see anything other than that when they look at each other.

A trip to a high school re-union where Zack meets a male porn star, a few missed bills and having their power and water cut off force Zack and Miri to a rather weird solution to raise cash – they should film a porno and distribute it to their ex-high school companions.  They gather a few friends and employ a few more colourful individuals and set about making their movie.  Needless to say, it doesn’t go to plan, but eventually they get under way and the moment arrives where Zack and Miri have to do it. I’ll leave the content there, you’ll have to watch and find out what happens.

If you’d seen any Kevin Smith films and then saw Zack and Miri without knowing Kevin wrote it, you’d probably be able to spot it anyway.  His trademark dialog is strewn throughout although it’s slightly more refined than it was in say, Clerks II.  This is probably because it’s not two guys mouthing off to each other for a change, however it doesn’t detract from the humour in that dialog and there’s plenty to laugh about.  The situations are funny without being too twee, all the characters are amusing if a little flat and the story isn’t quite as straightforward as I’d expected.  There’s one laugh-out-loud and cry-for-days moment which made us both laugh so hard it hurt, and plenty of good relaxed funny moments.  While the ending certainly won’t come as a surprise, the journey is worthwhile and interesting.

Zack and Miri do indeed make a porno, and learn an awful lot about themselves, each other and the business in the process.

An Evening With Kevin Smith 2 – Evening Harder

We finished watching the second Kevin Smith Q&A DVD today (I wrote about the first one here).  This time Kevin is in Canada and Britain with the first DVD covering Canada and the second the UK.  The Canadian Q&A is really good, very funny.  The British one is ok, but I didn’t find Kevin as on-form as he seems in Canada.  Maybe the English accents sound weird to me (you don’t often hear natural English access alongside American ones), maybe I just got annoyed by some of the dumb ass British questions.

Either way, the DVD was still excellent and well worth watching for any Kevin Smith fans.  It’s not quite as revealing as the first one though, so it’s probably for pure fans of Kevin, rather than just for entertainment.

The questions cover the whole range once again, and Kevin is candid and open about his life, his wife and his mother.  I learned a couple of things I never knew about Kevin (and that his wife appeared in Playboy, Kevin took the photo’s), and found it really easy to listen to him.  Jason Mewes seemed as out of place as ever, and although sometimes he managed to answer a question he mostly looked like he wanted to be somewhere else.

Kevin is clearly a superb orator, although you have to be prepared for about a 77% hit rate on profanity, and when he has a decent story to tell it’s very entertaining.

An evening with Kevin Smith

Grete got me a bunch of Kevin Smith stuff for Christmas (I hope he enjoyed the pay cheque, and I hope Joss Whedon enjoyed his pay cheque after I got Grete a bunch of his stuff for her).  That included the two ‘An evening with ….’ DVD’s (one, two).  I’d seen a couple of short clips on YouTube and then mentioned the DVD’s to her so I knew before I watched them the kind of thing I was going to get.  I just finished watching the two discs in the first set and it’s pretty good.

I was expecting Kevin to be funny, vulgar and entertaining and he was.  But I wasn’t expecting the audience to be quite so annoying in places.  I guess I should have expected it – he visits colleges (or whatever they call them in America) and students the world over are pretty similar.  There are fans and there are obsessive fans, and obsessive fans, alcohol and meeting their hero don’t always mix.

When the radio is on in the car, I always turn it over during any bit where real people have to phone in.  I’m sorry, but there’s something about the kind of people who phone in to the radio and speak, and the way in which they speak that makes me cringe.  During at least half of the questions on the DVD I was cringing, for two in particular I almost had to forward past the speaker because they were embarrassing themselves so much it made me hurt inside.  The rest of the time though, the questions were interesting and well presented.

In every case (except the two non-questions), Kevin’s answers were interesting and amusing and in a few instances they were long, detailed, really engaging and stomach-achingly funny.  I felt sorry for the girl who asked ‘Do you believe in God and why?’ and got a couple of one line answers (yes, because I have a career).  I found the answers funny but you could tell she was hoping for something a little deeper.  On the other hand in a few instances what start as simple questions lead Kevin into pretty long stories about his career, how he met his wife, working with Prince and starting a fight of words with Tim Burton.

The DVD is a two disc set, with about 100 minutes on each disc.  In the UK it’s released as region 2, but NTCS format.  It played fine on our player.  It’s filmed in front of college audiences in 4 maybe 5 different colleges and intercut. Kevin is personal, open and honest, and vulgar.  If you’ve seen his movies you know what to expect, if not, you probably should know to cover the kid’s ears.  I really enjoyed watching the two discs, although I had intended to ‘have them on in the background’ while I did something else, I found myself totally absorbed and unable to do anything but watch, listen and laugh (and cringe).

I recommend them to anyone who likes movies, Kevin Smith, or overweight bearded guys making college nerds feel bad.

The DVD description on Amazon says “DVD Description: Director Kevin Smith hits the college circuit with a series of humorous lectures. Through questions from the audience he discusses the pros and cons of movie making.” which is essentially tosh.  It’s “Kevin Smith answering everything from the stupidly inane to the blistering inciteful questions, from fans, stoned college nerds and people who wandered in lost from the cold”.

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

Yes, it’s totally narcissistic.  Yes yes, it is Bill and Ted and Wayne’s World.  Yes, it’s a movie about movie characters made by people who play movie characters in their own movies.  Yes it’s a chance for a bunch of Hollywood buddies to get together and make a movie about Hollywood buddies.

But it’s in a long line of films which did that, and it evoked memories of Blazing Saddles, Animal House and a bunch of stuff I really enjoyed.

And so I enjoyed it.  And it made me laugh.

Dogma

We’ve finished watching our Kevin Smith DVD’s, this evening was Dogma and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.  Dogma is clearly an intelligent movie, the material is interesting and I really enjoyed the last 20 to 30 minutes.

But the start of this two hour movie was really slow, and it took me a long time to arrive at my enjoyment of the end.  I’m not sure if it was the mood I was in (post dental cost distress) or the fact that I was feeling physically weird.  Whatever it was, I found the start slow and the story a little more contrived than it needed to be.

However, I found the end compelling and cute.  I should think some folk might find it overly twee, but that’s not how it struck me.  Anyway, Dogma is a story of faith and religion and the differences between the two.  It’s a story of fear and hope and joy and sadness and how belief is the sauce that makes the world float.

Really.

The least enjoyable of the Kevin Smith films I’ve watched so far, but still better than an awful lot of shit I own.

Chasing Amy

Well well Mr Smith.  Chasing Amy isn’t as entirely comic as Kevin’s previous movies, but it’s far, far deeper and emotional.  It has comic moments and plenty of laughs, but it delivers a sophisticated and intelligent look at relationships, gender and sexual choices.

Jay and Silent Bob are in evidence but far less prevalent, as the more mature material dictates, and while the backdrop is essentially ‘two guys who are life long friends and who’s friendship is strained when one of them gets involved in a love relationship that is complex’, and so almost the same as Clerks, the details of the relationship and the depth of the material is much greater.

Chasing Amy is intelligent, funny, incisive and emotional.

Kevin Smith made me watch another love story (in which a girl kissed a girl), and I liked it.

Mallrats

I’m sad.  I’m sad that it took me this long to see Mallrats.  I’m sad that I didn’t realise before what I was missing.  I’m sad it didn’t do too well in the cinema.  I’m sad I wasn’t there to support it.

Mallrats is an honest to goodness homage to John Landis and John Hughes and the movies of a generation.  It pays tribute and builds upon movies many people my age grew up with, including Kevin Smith.  It’s quirky, it’s truly funny, it’s heartwarming and it’s well worth watching.

Some of the acting is a little stiff, I’m not sure all the actors were as onboard as they could have been especially in some of the early scenes with Claire Forlani, however that smooths out and what we get is a classic comedy of teen angst.

The movie tells the story of two newly dumped guys who finally realise what they’re missing and work to gain back the girls they discover they love.  Jay and Silent Bob ensure everything goes to plan, no matter how crazy the plan, and chaos ensues.  But, funny chaos.

It’s not sophisticated, it’s not deep, but it evokes a memory of movies that I lived with and loved deeply, and it made me laugh and laugh.  I loved it, I’ll love it again, and I’m glad I own it.

Kevin Smith – wow

So, wow.  Apparently I’m a dick for ignoring all the Kevin Smith stuff I’ve heard over the years, and dumb for never managing to catch any of his flicks in the cinema.  I mean wow, I sorta knew, but can’t believe I missed it.

Fantastic.  We just watched Mallrats and Chasing Amy (reviews for both soon).  Superb.  I love the dialog, the style, the control and the pitch.  I can’t believe a single director has so far gotten me to watch four love stories and love them all (clerks, clerks ii, mallrats and chasing amy).

Kevin Smith wrote this in a reflection on Mallrats,

See, I grew up on those movies; all through the eighties, it was stuff like ‘Porky’s’, all the John Landis flicks, and the twisted classical tragicomedy ‘The Last American Virgin’.

And John Hughes movies.

I was there, right next to him, watching that stuff with him.  National Lampoon’s Animal House, The Blues Brothers, Ferris Bueller, Stripes, Weird Science.  It’s part of me too, part of my love of cinema and movies.  I can watch Animal House a hundred times and never get tired.  I can watch John Belushi a thousand times and never get tired.  I can watch John turn around on that ladder and waggle his eyebrows at the camera and laugh, every, single, time.

Kevin Smith’s Mallrats is a brilliant homage to those movies, his performance at the end of Mallrats is a brilliant homage to Belushi in Animal House.

Kevin Smith – I’m sorry I missed your previous movies in the cinema.  I’m sorry this blog post reads like a wet fanboy love letter.  I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you man, when you needed me.  I’ll try harder, I promise.