When geeks collide, sparks go a-flyin’. Here at Panels On Pages, we settle our differences like men… in the Fanboy Thunderdome.
In this installment, PoP! founding fathers Jason Knize and Lee Rodriguez duke it out in response to Jason’s scathing BLAARGH! on fan-favorite funnyman Kevin Smith.
Rodriguez: Seriously, what the hell? We’ve been over the midget and his script many times before on the PoP!-Cast, but you’ve got no love for Clerks II? That flick OOZED heart, man!
Knize: Motherfucker, I OWN Clerks II, but I’d put it as the weakest of the Askewniverse flicks. Heart? Grown, co-dependent losers? And how the fuck does Dante land all of these women? He’s butt ugly, and his personality and station in life are garbage. What a whiny fucker! Oh, and don’t get me started on the “straight from 1996″ soundtrack. Way to phone it in, Big Kev. The only reason he did Clerks II is because he was butt-hurt after the reaction to Jersey Girl, which actually DOES have heart.
Rodriguez: The entire theme of the movie is the growth of the main characters and the progression to the next stage in their lives. It’s fitting given the context in nearly every way. And let’s not forget this is the movie that gave us Pillow Pants. Win.
Knize: It also gave us the piss-break-worthy Go-Kart sequence, and Schwalbach (Smith’s wife) as the 2nd female lead. Smith and Rob Zombie need to stop using their wives in their movies. And they could both similarly use some follow-through. What’s your stance on Smith’s reputation as being…well…a fuck-up?
Rodriguez: When it comes to movies, I feel like Smith has always delivered what he said he would. We haven’t seen Red State yet, but that’s a money thing from what I understand. When you start talking comics, on the other hand, that’s a different story. I’ve openly criticized Kev’s comics work ethic in the past. Whether it’s a three-year break between issues of The Evil That Men Do, the year-plus gap between issues of his own Jay & Silent Bob mini-series or the completely abandoned Daredevil mini-series, the man’s track record with comics isn’t exactly great. For what it’s worth, the deadlines on the latest crop of Batman books have stuck by and large and I’m hopeful for Green Hornet. It’s entirely possible he’s learned from his mistakes.
Knize: Don’t forget the way he totally bailed on the Green Hornet flick. The thing that irks me the most about Kevin Smith is his station in life compared to his output. He won’t read the midget’s script, but who knows…maybe the MIDGET would actually hit comic deadlines, or wouldn’t puss out on writing/directing a huge action movie, and might actually put out more than 1 flick every 3 years. I may be a procrastinator, but when I see an opportunity, I pounce. Kevin Smith is lucky he still gets his calls returned. Seth Green, on the other hand, has the work ethic that Kevin Smith SHOULD have.
Rodriguez: The Green Hornet thing was years ago (and now the story is seeing the light of day in comic form). I don’t know; on some level you almost have to appreciate that he knew his limitations enough then to not churn out what he felt may have been an inferior product. And now here we are some six years later and he’s made Cop Out, which has some decent action sequences. Maybe Green Hornet was a case of “right project, wrong time.” And as far as his station and attitude, I’ve always found him to be completely genuine in nearly every interaction I’ve ever seen him in. From his wonderfully self-deprecating live Q&A’s to the Smodcast, he’s always struck me as the real deal. He knows exactly who he is. I find it endearing. He’s honest. Hell, he was honest with the midget. Can you imagine the maelstrom of crap that would been flung his way had he been filmed taking that script? The friggin’ levy would have busted wide open.
Knize: Or, he could’ve easily exploited the midget, in turn giving the guy a career, talented or not, just like he did Jason Mewes. It’s the whole Hollywood In-Crowd mentality that Smith claims to not be a part of, yet he’s all about keeping his inner-circle paid no matter how many grams of black-tar they are shooting into their arms at any given time. Smith got a shot at stardom because SOMEONE gave him that chance. Sure, he paid for Clerks with his credit cards and used mostly his friends for cast and crew…but SOMEONE with some pull gave him the chance to get his work seen by those that matter.
Rodriguez: Maybe, but he hustled for that shot. Of all people, we gotta respect hustle. As for putting his buddies in his movies, wouldn’t you be inclined to do the same thing? And let’s be honest, it’s not like Mewes doesn’t have a raging movie career. Homeboy does indie roles and such, and that’s fine. Smith DID have something to do with launching the careers of Ben Affleck and Jason Lee (and to a degree Matt Damon), I think, but those guys are good enough that they would have gotten their shot one way or another. And can you really hate on him for that? Lots of directors pull from the same pool time and time again. Hell, Scorsese just made his fourth picture with Leonardo DiCaprio in Shutter Island. No venom for Marty? It’s pretty common practice.
Knize: So, what is he, Lee? A hustler, or a lazy-fat-ass? You say he hustled to get his shot, but once he got his break, he shut the hustle off and decided that he need not help anyone outside his inner circle, nor improve upon his craft? As for launching the careers of Affleck, Damon, and Jason Lee, that’s the truth, but have you noticed that the three keep as far away from Kevin’s movies as possible these days? Marty Scorcese and Leo Dicaprio as a filmmaking team makes sense. They create films that not only garner critical acclaim but actually make money at the box office. The same cannot be said for the tour de force duo of Smith and Schwalbach. I’d like Kevin to gain back my trust, my respect…to actually earn the adoration that he has received from the nerd community. I’d love to see him on stage at the Oscars in an un-ironic manner. In the 90′s, he was a revered indie filmmaker in the same class as your Tarantinos and Rodriguezeseseses. Now he’s a punchline…and not a self-depricating punchline, either. He’s a Hollywood joke, and he’s lucky he still gets work. It breaks my heart that Cop Out of all things might be his saving grace.
Rodriguez: You’re damn right he had to hustle to get his break. They don’t exactly give that type of thing away. And I would argue against the fact that he hasn’t improved upon his craft until I turn blue in the face. Sure, he’s nowhere near Oscar territory, but you can NOT look at his body of work and not see a steady progression. And honestly, until you see Cop Out, any argument against it on your part can’t be anything BUT fallacy. Case in point, Jason Lee has a great cameo role in that flick opposite Bruce effing Willis. His movies ALWAYS make money in the long run and he’s nowhere near the Hollywood joke you so want him to be. Were that the case, no way in Hell would Warner Brothers have put him on a Bruce Willis vehicle.
Knize: You can claim Cop Out is a great flick all you want, but it’s not helping Smith’s rep as a Hollywood joke. He’s the go-to-guy when Entourage wants to shit on a director. I’ll probably see it, eventually, but I certainly don’t want to. That should be my thesis for this entire Thunderdome. I own Clerks, Clerks: Uncensored, Clerks II, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, 2 versions of Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Jersey Girl, and [two of the three] An Evening with Kevin Smithseses. I have a set of Bluntman and Chronic action figures. I have a View Askew mousepad (now replaced by a PoP! mouse pad). I have a framed, signed-by-Bryan Johnson movie poster of Vulgar. I bought the super-special edition gift set of Clerks II that includes the Mooby Meal box and Mooby visor. I own 2 copies of the Chasing Amy/Clerks screenplay, and used it as a bible when writing my own screenplay. Sure, my opinion of Smith has been clouded by my own “experience” with the man, but I should be able to separate the man from his work. Except, Zack and Miri left me complacent. Cop Out makes me want to gouge my eyes out. If the guy can’t get one of his (formerly) biggest fans in the world to see his hunk-of-shit action movie, yet $18 million non-Smith fans will, has he truly succeeded? Or has he compromised himself for the good of a paycheck? I highly doubt you’re in the majority of Kevin Smith fans in regards to Cop Out. The movie title is a commentary on Smith’s career, as well as his excuse for not reading the midget’s script.
Rodriguez: It’s so weird to me, because I don’t know that I’ve ever done such a 180 on something. I won’t even shit-talk Heroes like this. I don’t get it. And truthfully, it seems to me like you should be the guy who would WANT to see Cop Out if Zack and Miri left you complacent. It’s a pretty radical departure from his typical fare. And honestly, aside from the critics bashing it, all the reactions I’ve seen from people who’ve actually seen the movie (and this includes Smith die hards) is mostly positive. Sure, you can’t please everyone, but people are digging on the movie, and yes, that does indeed include the large “new” audience this one is finding. In two weeks, Cop Out has made nearly $30 million in the US. That’s a pretty good feather in the cap of a “joke,” in my opinion. Clearly, we’re going to agree to disagree, but I would implore you to see the new flick. At least then you could form an objective opinion of it. And you seriously just might like it in spite of yourself.
Knize: I’ll freely admit that even if I do see it, I’ll hate Cop Out on principle alone. Read the Midget’s Script.
Filed Under: Fanboy Thunderdome