It’s Time for Kevin Smith to Close His Twitter Account

Kevin Smith on the set of Cop Out

Photo: Warner Bros.

I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to write an article concerning Kevin Smith’s comments regarding film criticism in relation to his most recent film Cop Out, but the more and more he was quoted the more and more it became obvious Smith was intent on digging his own hole and it was only getting deeper.

However, today Devin Faraci at CHUD has brought to my attention Smith’s latest tirade as he took to Twitter and responded to one of his followers going by the name of “coked_up_jesus” when he wrote, “I gotta say that every day I hate film theory and film students and critics more and more. Where is the fun in movies?” It was after this Smith was unleashed and had at it.

I stopped following Smith’s Twitter feed a long time ago due to similar rants, but thanks to Faraci I have it all for you directly below. I have removed some of the Twitter jargon, and formatted it so it’s a little easier to read, but just know that this was all published about 15 hours ago and 140 characters at a time:

Sir sometimes, it’s important to turn off the chatter. Film fandom’s become a nasty bloodsport where cartoonishly rooting for failure gets the hit count up on the ol’ brand-new blog. And if a schmuck like me pays you some attention, score! MORE EYES, MEANS MORE ADVERT $. But when you pull your eye away from the microscope, you can see that shit you’re studying so closely is, in reality, tiny as fuck. You wanna enjoy movies again? Stop reading about them and just go to the movies. It’s improved film/movie appreciation immensely for me.

Seriously: so many critics lined-up to pull a sad and embarrassing train on Cop Out like it was Jennifer Jason Leigh in Last Exit to Brooklyn. Watching them beat the shit out of it was sad. Like, it’s called Cop Out ; that sound like a very ambitious title to you? You REALLY wanna shit in the mouth of a flick that so OBVIOUSLY strived for nothing more than laughs. Was it called Schindler’s Cop Out?

Writing a nasty review for Cop Out is akin to bullying a retarded kid who was getting a couple chuckles from the normies by singing AFTERNOON DELIGHT. Suddenly, bully-dudes are doing the bad impression of him, using the “retart” voice. The crowd shifts uncomfortably. And you may impress a couple of low IQ-ers who’re like “Yeah, man! Way to destroy that singing retart!” But, really? All you’ve done is make fun of something that wasn’t doing you any harm and wanted only to give some cats a some fun laughs (Yes, I compared my flick to a retarded kid). It was just ridiculous to watch. That was it for me. Realized whole system’s upside down: so we let a bunch of people see it for free and they shit all over it? Meanwhile, people who’d REALLY like to see the flick for free are made to pay? Bullshit.

From now on, any flick I’m ever involved with, I conduct critics screenings thusly: you wanna see it early to review it? Fine: pay like you would if you saw it next week. Like, why am I giving an arbitrary 500 people power over what I do at all, let alone for free? Next flick, I’d rather pick 500 randoms from Twitter feed and let THEM see it for free in advance, then post THEIR opinions, good AND bad. Same difference. Why’s their opinion more valid? It’s a backwards system. People are free to talk shit about ANY of my flicks, so long as they paid to see it. Fuck this Animal Farm bullshit.

There’s a lot to be said based on everything above and I will do my best not to say everything Devin already said, but I am sure there will be some crossover.

First off, I did not like Cop Out one bit, and along with Clerks II and Zack and Miri his last three films have done nothing for me. I interviewed him back in 2008 and we talked about critics, he was excited about the reviews for Zack and Miri (which received a 65% at RottenTomatoes) and I even brought up how he linked to several reviews of the film out of the Toronto Film Festival. However, his opinion on film criticism in general seems to have shifted 180-degrees. For a man whose career began by being championed by critics it seems odd he’s become so dismissive of anyone that doesn’t like a film of his.

Cop Out has so far earned $42.8 million at the domestic box-office, a little over $11 million more than Zack and Miri, but barely topping the $34.2 million production budget. Yet, it is his highest grossing film to date. The film opened with $18 million, and an interview at the Los Angeles Times after the film opened was when I finally figured out Kevin Smith really didn’t get it.

When asked about the reviews he responded, “It’s weird — these were some of the worst reviews I ever got in my life, including work I did in grade school. But they’re completely out-of-sync with what people want to watch.” He touches upon this slightly in his Twitter rant, but he only has it half-right.

That quote above is insinuating that people want to see a film with “fun laughs” as he says in his Twitter posts. The problem is, for many people, Cop Out didn’t supply those laughs and was therefore given low marks as a result. It has nothing to do with being “out-of-sync,” it has to do with not thinking Cop Out was funny. People wanted a funny film. Yes, and they turned out to the tune of $18 million to hopefully see one. Just because they showed up to watch Cop Out doesn’t mean they thought it was funny, it means they paid money hoping it would be. It would appear Smith is the one that’s out-of-sync and the numbers prove it.

If I go by the RottenTomatoes community rating it appears 54% of the people that saw it thought it was good. Not high marks if you ask me, rotten in fact according to RT standards. At the box-office word-of-mouth didn’t prove to be too strong either as it dropped 49% the weekend after its release, another 54% after that and last week it was out of the top ten after four weeks in theaters. It opened in 3,150 theaters and was down to only 1,563 this past Sunday. It’s not a good sign and while Smith’s intentions were to make a funny film, and people wanted to see one (critics included), it appears he didn’t deliver. He insists audiences “dig” his films, but the numbers don’t seem to reflect that opinion, especially considering his films can’t seem to crack the box-office ceiling, making it appear he has a dedicated $30 million audience, but that’s about it.

As for his statement asking, “Was it called Schindler’s Cop Out?” All I can say is I didn’t read a single review comparing it to Schindler’s List. However, to see Smith openly admit he is comparing Cop Out to a “retarded kid” is just baffling. His implication here is that he made a film for the lowest common denominator and is now mad at the people who respect film to such a degree they have decided to make a living out of writing about them. He’s also implying that allowing to critics to see a film for free should guarantee they won’t write a bad review and perhaps if they were asked to pay to see early screenings it would somehow make things right.

Smith has been beaten up over his films before, and I have heard him say he’s done with the Internet as he wonders why he sits around getting in fights with people running random blogs hating on his films. So it’s strange to see him taking it to this extreme, especially considering Cop Out was his most profitable film and he has since Red State, a film he openly told me “not a lot of people want to pony up for it, it’s not a commercial movie by any stretch of the imagination.” So why is he still so angry?

To imply reading about movies and sharing opinions hurts your ability to enjoy them is confusing. I can understand how a filmmaker would be hurt when he sees his work being lambasted by the masses, but considering the way he describes Cop Out I’m surprised he can even say it’s any good.

My hope is Smith will get over this hump and find a way to progress as a filmmaker, because the cracks are becoming more like canyons.

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Weekend: May. 23, 2019, May. 26, 2019

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