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:
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.