An Evening with Kevin Smith (2002)

One thing Ive always admired about director Kevin Smith was his guerrilla style of film-making. Clerks, Smiths first film, cost only $27,000 to make and was funded entirely by his own personal credit cards. The success of Clerks opened Hollywoods doors for Smith, and soon his View Askewniverse came alive in such films as Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. And despite writing and directing all of these films, Smith is probably most recognized for the character he plays all in them Silent Bob.

Despite Smiths Hollywood success, he has remained extremely accessible to the general public. Smiths website and blog are updated daily, and he regularly interacts with fans and fellow filmmakers on his sites forums. In 2002, Smith hit the road, taking his launching a multi-college speaking tour (Cornell University, Indiana University, Kent State University, University of Wyoming, and Clark University). Throughout the programs, students were allowed to ask Smith unscripted questions. All of the performances were filmed, and the result is this 2-disc, 345-minute DVD release, An Evening with Kevin Smith.

The audience for An Evening with Kevin Smiths is his fans, people who have seen and enjoyed his films. Most of the films dialogue is not general filmmaking advice, but rather specifics about Smiths films and experiences. Thats not to imply that its boring; Smith is a fascinating individual, with an overall outsider-looking-in view on filmmaking. Smith tells the audience how elated he was when his budget for Mallrats (his second film) was $250,000, almost ten times the amount he spent on Clerks. Smiths oblivion as to how the Hollywood cog turns makes for interesting stories and explains his tiffs with fellow directors P.T. Anderson (Magnolia) and Tim Burton, both of which are well documented in the program. Smith also discusses meetings with Hollywood executives about the development of a new Superman movie (which didnt go so well) and his interesting encounter with Prince.

Smith has previously referred to his movie Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back as his $20 million dollar dick and fart joke. Anyone even remotely familiar with his familiar self-admittedly juvenile humor should not be surprised at the filthy language contained on these discs, strong enough to make Richard Pryor blush. Smiths constant stream of f-bombs is matched only by audience members requests to perform sexual acts on him or do drugs with him after the program. Kevin Smiths world is a fascinating one, but its also very R-rated.

Throughout the program youll see the characters from Smiths films slowly begin to pour out of him; the smart-assed Randall from Clerks, the comic book collecting Brodie from Mallrats, even the desperately-in-love Holden McNeil from Chasing Amy begin to emerge as Smith tells his tales. Those tales will not only make you appreciate the films that much more, but also appreciate the humor and drive of Smith himself. Every fan of Kevin Smith and his work must see An Evening with Kevin Smith.

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