Kevin Smith Lashes Out at Film Critics (Again)

As many people know, Kevin Smith has just wrapped production on his latest film Red State, and although he is still a ways off from actually releasing the film (it doesn’t even have a distributor yet), he is already proving to be very vocal about his plans for promoting it. He seems dead set on handling the majority of it all himself in a very controlled, grassroots fashion… without the help of any other media. Earlier this year, as Cop Out was being raked across the coals by the vast majority of film critics, Smith condemned them for being essentially stuck up assholes who are no more qualified to talk about movies than anyone else. What really seemed to anger him the most was the fact that they get to see their movies for free. He vowed never to let another critic see one of his movies without paying for it, and he seems to be sticking to his word for Red State. Clearly he is well within his rights to do this (assuming the distributor agrees), but is this really worth taking a stand over, or is he only hurting himself?

Last week Smith appeared on The Dean Blundell Show on 102.1 The Edge in Toronto, and launched into another rant against film critics, explaining that the publicity they provide is essentially useless to him since he already has 1.7 million followers on Twitter. While it’s true that Cop Out is the highest grossing movie he has ever made despite the bad reviews, it seems a little short-sighted to think that reviews in major newspapers and on major TV networks didn’t help raise awareness of it.

Smith insists that he would rather hold an advance Red State screening for 100 fans and post their reviews than let a bunch of critics see it for free. Is it just me or does this sound a little hypocritical? He’s trading one biased audience for another. I wouldn’t mind so much if he just said, “Critics unfairly bash my movies so I’m not letting them in anymore,” (studios already do this for plenty of movies) but he tries to justify it with this idea that critics should have to pay to see movies. Who cares if they’re paying or not? It’s a part of their job. Either way, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out for Red State. Download the MP3 of his radio show appearance and see what you think.

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  • Henrik

    “arlier this year, as Cop Out was being raked across the coals by the vast majority of film critics, Smith condemned them for being essentially stuck up assholes who are no more qualified to talk about movies than anyone else.”

    Which is kinda funny, since by now he’s almost publically disowning it. From Twitter for instance:

    ThatKevinSmith KevinSmith
    Via @BigFatSucka “does that mean if your new movie blows, the Devs will win the Cup?” By that logic, they should’ve won the Cup last season.

    I mean I guess he doesn’t have a problem if directors want to attack their own films, but to get so worked up over a negative reaction to a movie that you, yourself, think is shit? He’s a weird guy.

  • Cassandra

    I love it. This is Kevin Smith, this is what he does.

  • He needs to just shut the fuck up. I’m so fucking sick of him thinking he’s God’s gift to Earth and everyone who doesn’t think that is an idiot. The last time he made a good movie was in the 90′. He just needs to go away.

  • drewsifer

    He went off on this rant when i saw him in Kitchener, i may be a little biased but he has a point. And fuck just give one filmmaker the right to do it. I’m sure most directors would prefer to show their movies to fans as apposed to showing it to critics. Fuck it, too much money is spent on promotion on movies anyways, if you’ve got a pedigree save the money and go on that.

  • Alexander

    *sigh*

    I kind of want RED STATE to bomb horribly just to see if he’s true to his new “I only care what my hardcore fans thinks” persona. Remember that this is the same guy who apparently went into a smaller depression because ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO wasn’t a big 100 million dollar grossing blockbuster.

    His stance on critics is just ridiculous. I didn’t see him condemning critics back in the 90’s? Oh yeah, because he actually got good reviews then.

  • Heaven’s Smile

    He’s right y’know. If critics want to see his movies they should wait and pay like everyone else. I feel the same way about the game industry. It’s even worse there.

  • It’s Smith’s reactions that make me admire filmmakers that I don’t like that DO have the sense to keep their mouths shut. I think those guys have more of a chance of sneaking up on me and surprising me with something I like than Smith does, because good or bad, each Kevin Smith movie seems to first and foremost be “a Kevin Smith movie”, due to the attention that he constantly brings to himself. After his horror movie fails to be a blockbuster, I’m sure we can expect a Clerks 3 within 2 years…if the Weinsteins are still around to finance it.

  • Heaven’s Smile

    “Who cares if they’re paying or not?”

    I do because it will affect their overall opinion of the film. If they see a movie for free, they may be more lenient towards it.

  • Heaven’s Smile

    BTW, I’m not a Kevin Smith fan. I don’t like any of his movies. Not even the “good” ones like Clerks & Chasing Amy.

  • More than anything Cop Out was a disappointment and I want Red State to be good.
    I want him to prove critics wrong this time.

    Let’s just hope he’s back on track.

  • Oh, and what is Smith going to come back with if critics agree to his terms, if they agree to not see the movies for free? If they say “OK, since I have to pay to see your film, I’m choosing to just save my money and not do a review”, is he going to complain about THAT? I don’t think their publications or websites will be hurt by it, and they’ll just be acting like the majority of the moviegoing public that already chooses not to spend their money on Smith’s films. If he goes after them for basically accepting his dare, he may as well just start bitching about mainstream moviegoers in general.

  • Jsin

    So tired of Kevin Smith. So very, very tired. Has anyone seen a pic of him lately? He’s (un)Silent Blob, and from what I seen the airlines were justified in asking him to purchase two tickets.

    Notwithstanding, he comes up with the most sanctimonious pieces of shit that liberal Hollywood and critics should be eating up with a giant wooden spoon, and yet they hate it. That should tell him to get into a different profession, and getting high and recording himself for podcasts isn’t it.

    As for Red State, I’m sure M. Night Shamalan could get 1.7 million followers on twitter, too. That has no bearing on whether his films recently are good or not, and whether those twitter followers will result in box office success.

  • Captain N

    I enjoy Kevin Smith films, but recently it just seems he’s been almost aimless in his goals and films. It started with Jersey Girl, and while it seemed that he was starting to get back on track after Clerks 2, it just seems he derailed once more. He seems to over saturate himself everywhere now. Podcasts, speaking engagements, message board forums, interviews. It’s great to see a filmmaker interacting with his fan base (and those who hate him), but maybe pulling back a bit would be beneficial for him.

    As for not showing his film to critics, well, to some degree he has a point. At this point he has a built in fan base, and each new film of his tends to do around the same in B.O. Those fans are going to go to the movie regardless of what critics say about it.

    I look forward to Red State and am glad to see Smith take a new turn as a filmmaker. I hope it turns out good.

  • Jonny Ashley

    Wait… how does a story like this get spun so far out of proportion? This is hardly what I would call lashing out. People seem to get sensitive when a celebrity raises his voice slightly. A lot of what I’m reading in these comments sounds like they were written by people who haven’t even listened to the clip. Listen to the clip for yourself, it’s at about 30 minutes through.

    Should a podcast or Twitter account be judged by the same criteria with which you judge an official interview or an article in Time magazine? People don’t seem to understand that he speaks in upward of 3 to 4 of these different podcasts a week. He’s not trying to make a press statement when he goes on these rants, and they shouldn’t be pulled out of the original context in which he says them.

    Smith gets criticized for catering to his fans. His twitter feed and his podcasts are MEANT for his fans. These little stories get pulled out of the single odd moments when Smith lets his guard down and says something incriminating—and then publications spread the quotes like wildfire. By that time, the quotes become so far removed from what he actually said that they’re just quoting the other publications without listening to the source material.

    If you listened to this rant in the context of his other podcasts, there’s a good chance that he’s already made the same argument infinitesimally more eloquently on another show, and he’s just speaking with the understanding that he’s recapping for his fans.

    Give the guy a break. If you write off Red State because of this then you’re a fucking idiot.

  • Rick

    Jonny Ashley I agree with you 100% nice job to bring some rationality to the table. Were on here sharing our thoughts, why cant he do it?

  • Matt

    I read his rants from his Twitter account which I found rather amusing. He should just focus on making a good film rather than paying attention to what critics are saying.

  • Steve L

    Regardless of who he is, critics can make or break a movie with their reviews, many films have bombed the box office on bad reviews but were saved by dvd sales I applaud him for taking this stance.
    I havent seen Cop Out so I can’t comment on it… but I do like most of his films, and do listen to some of the podcasts at work.
    I do hope Red State does well.

  • cuebert

    I don’t see why anyone is making a big deal about his stance on critics. It’s old news, he brought all this up a long time ago (around Cop Out and somewhat beforehand as well).

    I think Smith is on the right track, and he knows that his movies are going to be viewed by his core audience. He’s no longer going for the wide audience, as he has come to terms that his fan base are the ones that are going to give his flicks a chance regardless of reviews/critics.

    It’s a case of knowing and pandering to one audience. Red State being a horror flick is definitely a new genre for him to tackle, but he knows his core fan base is going to see it regardless. If he hits any numbers outside that fan base then good for him. If not, well, he’ll probably still turn 20-30 million on a 4 million dollar project.

    And, there’s something to be said for trying out new things, especially in such an old industry as film. Breaking out of the box a little bit, going a little indie, but with an industry audience.

  • I support his idea. get Kevin Smith, Uwe Boll and Robert Rodriguez all off the critics list so I never have to hear about any of their movies again.

  • This article is very inaccurate. “Smith insists that he would rather hold an advance Red State screening for 100 fans and post their reviews than let a bunch of critics see it for free.”

    He really said 100 random people. Point being that random opinions are no more valid than critics. Critics often slam films that have a lot of fans, and turn people off from going to see things who might be open minded. Critics say “don’t go see this” when they have no idea who their readers are. They’re saboteurs.

  • Pretty sure he said 100 random followers on Twitter, who I think it’s safe to assume are mostly his fans.

  • Assume nothing.

  • Rick

    you know what they say about people who assume
    you only make an ass out of u and me

  • Tomoo

    As a person who listens to SMODcast regularly I don’t get it when he goes nuts like this. He seems like a very laid back and cool guy on SMODcast, and I’m not sure how I feel about this. Also if I remember correctly at one point on SMODcast he said he felt like his favorite thing to do was to do the podcasting/public speaking thing and he made films lately so he could do that.

  • /\/\/\/\/\his only need (favorite thing) is to stay the focus of your attention and pawn crap (including his movies) on to you.

    “another dashboard Jesus please, oh add that book that is a list of Smith’s tweets.”

    He is just another Rachel Ray or Judge Judy at this point.

  • cuebert

    rus in chicago : oh noes! someone trying to make money, say it isn’t so!!! He’s like everyone else sir, he wants to make a living. So what, if he’s managed to market himself as a commodity, as well as his films.. why’s that make him a bad person?

    He’s not forcing himself down your throat by doing appearances on all your favorite shows. He’s pretty low key when it comes to that, he puts himself into venues where his fans will get to enjoy him.

    Wow.. he’s such a horrible person by being so non-intrusive.

  • dude, the post is about him trying to defang the people publishing that his movies are POOR and not WORTH the MONEY. I find it amazing that people like you don’t see hypocrisy in his actions. Making money is fine, just don’t sell me a lame widget and blame it on the people that review widgets for me. And don’t get all sensitivity when people call you “overhyped” when you are known, and claim, to be a “hype-machine”

    and if you don’t see the different set of “value” between a writer/director/hype-machine like Tarantino or Hitchcock

    and Smith and M. Night…well I can’t help you

  • Steve

    The thought of Kevin Smith furiously jamming his messages onto Twitter is too hilarious for me.

  • Kurei

    Why is he even complaining about critics? Is he that immature? You produce art, you lay it out there, then it will be criticised, is he that dumb that he cant accept that fact?

    If he hates being criticised so much, he should stop making crappy movies, but then that wont stop people from criticising anyway since some of the best movies gets run over by some people. He’s like a big baby that wont shut up.