Ranking the Non-View-Askewniverse Films of Kevin Smith
Before DC, before Marvel, before Sony, there was one man who was creating a shared universe that would last more than 20 years. His name is Kevin Smith and his View-Askewniverse encompassed numerous movies, multiple characters and similar themes, all with Smith’s unique voice guiding them.
Smith’s body of work includes a handful of films that are not connected to his universe however, some better than others. There are numerous messages to be found in all of Smith’s films; things that he wanted to say and points that he wanted to make. Whether those points were raised via a talking walrus, a Nazi bratwurst or a religious zealot, Smith was able to say what he wanted to on his terms.
6) Yoga Hosers (2016)
We’re not quite sure what to say about Yoga Hosers. The premise is as follows: Two teenage girls work with a bounty hunter type guy (played by Johnny Depp) to battle Canadian Nazis who can take the shape of bratwursts. Literally, that’s the plot of the movie. One watch of the film is all we could handle. We have nothing good to say except it was a cool way for Smith’s daughter, Harley, to make some money and get some exposure. And Johnny Depp and his daughter got to act together too, which we’re sure was a thrill for them.
The rest of us? Well, thrilled isn’t the word we would use.
5) Tusk (2014)
This movie started out as a weed-induced joke on a podcast that Kevin Smith hosted. “What if there was a movie about a guy who turned humans into walruses?” It was a weird idea, made even weirder by the fact that Smith actually made it a movie.
We are not a huge fan of Tusk, but we do respect Kevin Smith for making it. Justin Long stars as a podcaster who ventures into the Canadian wilderness to interview an old man with a dark past. That past includes a bizarre friendship with a walrus that, try as the man might, he was never able to replicate with an actual human. So his solution is to turn a human into a walrus.
Really, Tusk is more of a love story than anything. We can’t fault Smith for venturing out of his wheelhouse either. Plus, both Justin Long and Michael Parks do a remarkable job with an admittedly-silly script. Plus, the return of Haley Joel Osment!
4) Cop Out (2010)
The most interesting aspect of Smith’s 2010 film Cop Out is the fact that the star of the film, Bruce Willis and Smith most-assuredly did not get along during the filming of it. It’s almost as if Willis resented the fact that he had to take on a role in this movie and took it out on Smith. We would much rather see a ‘making-of’ documentary about this film more than ever watching it again.
That being said, at least it isn’t as outlandish as the previous two entries. Willis stars as a police detective who must sell his prized baseball card to pay for his daughter’s wedding. Before he can do that, however, the card is stolen! He recruits his partner Paul (played by Tracy Morgan) to help him track down the monster who stole the card, a case that leads them down a labyrinth of deception and dark secrets. The movie sounds a lot more interesting than it actually was.
3) Jersey Girl (2004)
People hate Jersey Girl. Like, really hate it. And we’re still not exactly sure why. It’s no Clerks, it’s not even Dogma. But, taken on its own, it’s a perfectly passable film that actually shows a maturity to Kevin Smith that is not usually seen in his movies about Nazi sausages.
Jersey Girl stars Ben Affleck as a music PR guy whose wife tragically dies during the birth of their child. Now, Affleck’s character must trade his career in New York to raise his daughter in Jersey, and he has more than a little resentment about the whole thing.
No, this is not the best movie Kevin Smith has ever made. But we quite like it. Plus, any movie that features George Carlin gets a pass in our book.
2) Red State (2011)
It’s fascinating that one of Smith’s most interesting films also performed the worst at the box office. Red State is a film about religious zealots who persecute people based on their own discernment of right and wrong. It’s a thinly-veiled film that is taking shots at Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church congregation, but it could be argued that it tackles religion as a whole. While Red State is certainly more…overt with its criticisms of religion than Dogma was, it’s still an interesting look into a very real group of people with misguided views of God. We like anything that makes fun of the Westboro Baptist Church, especially if that thing includes John Goodman.
1) Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008)
When two friends, Zack and Miri, are strapped for cash, they come up with only one solution: to make a porno. It’s a simple premise that leads to lots of inappropriate and sometimes really gross humor, but it stars Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks; both of whom win our hearts with their performances. Make no mistake, though, Zack and Miri Make a Porno is an ensemble film, featuring the likes of Craig Robinson, Gerry Bednob, Justin Long and Smith’s best friend and partner in crime, Jason Mewes.
Zack and Miri is the funniest Smith movie on this list, but it’s also his “safest” film. It starred beloved actors and featured a pretty well-used trope (best friends fall in love), and most people enjoyed it. Even though we prefer this film over many of his others, we still respect Smith for making the films he wants to make and for thinking outside of the box.
But, full disclosure, we super can’t wait for him to return to the View-Askewniverse with his Jay and Silent Bob Reboot.