Pat Coston Movie Reviews

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Kevin Smith at the Orpheum

This is not a movie a review but I posted it here because Kevin Smith is a movie maker. Plus, shows like the Q&A show I saw can be seen on DVD on 3 other movies he made in 2002, 2006 and 2008.

I saw the first two of the three of Kevin Smith's Q&A movies which were An Evening with Kevin Smith (2002) and An Evening with Kevin Smith 2: Evening Harder (2006). The live show was more of the same but of course he's talking about things that are relevant and interesting to him now. A few years ago, Kevin left NJ and moved to Beverly Hills and now lives in Ben Affleck's old house. I was shocked that he would leave NJ because I thought he a hard-core Jersey boy. But then I thought it about some more and realized that it made sense. It helps to be at the center of the entertainment universe (Hollywood) if you're trying to be successful. There is more opportunities to be great out here.

BTW, Kevin's middle name is Patrick, same as my first name. While waiting for the show to start, they played music exclusively from Rush which is my all time favorite band. I got there very early since my ticket said it started at 6:30 pm but it really started at 8 pm. It seems half the people got there at 6:30 pm and the other half arrived at 8 pm. Strange. The two guys I was standing in line with just happened to sit next to me (assigned seats). I ended up sitting between two large guys like myself so it was quite uncomfortable. I leaned forward most of the time so we could all have shoulder room. It was a full house. Most of the audience was large nerdy looking guys like myself and yet half of them had girlfriends although they were large nerdy looking girls. There were also random packs of hot looking girls at the show.

In his first two Q&A's on DVD, Kevin used the F-word every third word but I don't recall him saying Fuck a single time last night. It may be that I'm desensitized to the word at this point but I did notice he over-used the expression "that being said". I'm personally annoyed when someone overuses an expression for example there was a guy at Disney that would include "at the end of the day" every other sentence. Kevin's third Q&A movie is called Sold Out: A Threevening with Kevin Smith (2008). I just rented that on NetFlix.

A Kevin Smith Question and Answer show is hard to describe to those who have never seen it. I don't know of anyone else who does what Kevin does. He stands in front of an audience for 3 hours and takes questions non-stop letting his audience direct where his rambles go. A single question can lead to a 45 minute rant or amusing story. His mind seems to get side-tracked again and again but somehow he manages to bring it around and tie it all together. Recently I watched the movie Swimming to Cambodia where Spalding Gray gives a monologue about working on the movie The Killing Fields but that's a performance which includes music, sound-effects, special lighting and props. Kevin does not perform. He's just himself.

I was just telling my wife that I try not accept all fashion I see even if I think its ridiculous but Kevin's pant legs are getting wider every time I see him. He was like a big cartoon character up there with pant legs wide enough to wrap around my hips. I know he's a fatty but these pants just make it worse. They are funny pants and if he's trying to funny, then perhaps this is a costume and he's making fun of himself. I wonder if he normally wears those pants in public.

Kevin is a laugh-a-minute literally. He really is funny and entertaining as well as informative and inspiring. I'm a huge fanboy of Kevin Smith and part of the reason is that I'm inspired by his success. When I worked on my dot com startup, I had a go-for-broke attitude and I did go broke ... literally. Certainly if things had worked out and I was rich right now, I'd be saying that was the right thing to do but even though it hurt me financially, I try to stay positive about the experience even though I'm still recovering from it 8 years later. Before Kevin started on Clerks, he knew it would he would go broke but it was something he had to do.

I gotta admire Kevin's honesty and willing to share intimate details of his life including sex, masturbation, pooping, raising a daughter, exchanges with his wife, smoking pot, getting inspired a Wayne Gretzky documentary as well as his professional life like writing Batman for DC comics, working on the script for Ranger Danger, working with actors like Seth Rogan, Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan, directing A Couple of Dicks, working on Zack and Miri Make a Porno and seeing Jason Mewes dick (filing "Porno"), etc.

Wayne Gretzky's father told Wayne at a young age to "go where the puck will be" and Kevin was inspired by that. He talked about how Judd Apatow is now doing these movies like The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up and Superbad and how critics say Judd makes Kevin irrelevant. At first Kevin thought his career was over but after thinking about it, he realized that there is a line of bad-taste that Judd will not pass but he himself has no problem stepping over that line.

Kevin says that making Zack and Miri Make a Porno was "going where the puck is" which is what Judd Apatow does so now he's attempting to go where the puck will be. His next major project he is writing is a hockey movie. He's half-way thru writing the script for Ranger Danger but he's putting that project on hold for a while. When he mentioned he'd be doing a hockey movie, the crowd stood up and applauded him. It was the only time the audience gave him a standing ovation besides when he arrived and left. In case you didn't know it, Kevin has a passion for hockey and all things Canadian. Hockey was prominent in Clerks for example.

Although Kevin is film maker, his true passion is for writing comics. He talked about writing for Batman. He also loves to do the smodcast where many of the stories he told tonight were already told on this podcast. His stories were obviously well rehearsed and refined which is fine. The cool thing is that nobody has any idea which way the stories will take us. Even so, he managed to fit in important info about the things he is currently working on now which is part of the reason I went to the show.

Toward the end he would often look at his mobile phone checking to see how much time was left. Someone asked him what it was like directing Tracy Morgan and at first it sounded like he had nothing to say on the subject but little by little, he started wandering from one thing to another until he fixed on his final story of the night about trying to direct Bruce Willis and how Bruce cannot be directed. This was the first time he directed a major star and he was trying to give Bruce some direction and Bruce was not having it. He quickly realized that Bruce is in control of his own performance. It was a long great story and suddenly he ended it with a punch-line and the night was over and he was gone.


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