First of all, let me just say that I’m back. Full on. I’ll do news. I’ll do reviews. I’ll do Leaks and Graboids and whatever seems apt. I’m probably not going to do many interviews because I kinda suck at them though it looks like I might have a chance to chat with Oliver Stone, one of my heroes and that’d be a nice exception to the rule. Hopefully, the new readers will accept my old ass and the old readers will feel a little warmer about the place. Since The Steady Leak is my baby, I’m going to use it more diversely, such as with targeted columns like this. So, without further ado…
I like the guy. I like most of his movies. I love the way he works a live audience. I like talking to him as I did HERE for this site. I also get a little angry with some of the stuff he does, but he’s definitely the missing link between people like you and I and people like James Cameron and Woody Allen. I mean, look at him. He’s not a man, he’s a genre.
Clerks II arrives this Friday in theaters and I’m planning to see it with an audience Friday night after a few rounds of pool and some whisky. Not to prepare me for a bad film, but because I have been playing a lot of pool and drinking a lot of whisky these days and I like to combine pastimes. Clerks is my 2nd least favorite of Smith’s movies (Dogma being the least, sue me) but I appreciate it. Clerks II looks to me like an opportunity to laugh at some dirty jokes and get a nice mixture of the Clerks vibe and the Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back vibe without feeling too sorry for myself in the morning. That said, my favorite Smith product is the Clerks animated show so I am either bipolar or without much merit as a critic.
One of the priviledges of CHUD’s new backend (I wish I meant THAT backend and the thing is well over a year old so new probably isn’t the right word) is the ability to read articles before they run and I already know that Devin isn’t a big fan of the new Clerks and that’s OK. It may not be my cup, but I’ll support Mr. Smith all day long.
Even against movie critics, a group I used to sort of almost call myself a part of. Not a card carrying member, mind you. That’d be the New York editor of this site. He literally carries a card. He’s proud of it. It gets him into AMC movies for less than cheap.
So when Kevin Smith ambushed Joel Siegel on the radio (audio) recently for not only walking out of his flick but causing a ruckus as he did, I grinned. It was a follow-up to Smith’s response on MySpace (mine, CHUD’s, 11 Colonels ATTACK’s), originally posted here. In the clip, Smith and the guys from Opie & Anthony pretty much give Mr. Siegel all of the tools to make an ass of himself and wouldn’t you know it, Joel’s a handyman!
I’m of the belief that many of the old-school film critics are batshit. Most of the young ones too, but it’s a different kind of guano the new breed deals in, more of a diversified mix. The old timers are dealing with their legacy and the heyday of film criticism when people liked to identify with easy to digest sound bytes and harmless and inoffensive talking heads. I also know from experience that some of these champs like to hold up screenings by being late. I also know some of them collect the foreskins of the mentally challenged, but that’s for another day. New critics have to deal with the notion that there are dozens of thousands of people with blog accounts challenging them for eyespace. New critics have to deal with the fury and power of what’s come before and have to have a schtick like Mr. Cranky or Two Fat Chicks Review Movies or The Guy With Jerk-Off In His Hair or whatever.
There are few things scarier than demons who you can’t see that wait until you sleep and then flay you while making loud noises. The fact that there are these mainstream critics who are name brands people seemingly trust isn’t that scary but it’s at least creepy.
Joel Siegel is whitebread, Middle America pleasing film criticism, so when he gets up and makes a ruckus and leaves a film it is sort of a gift to someone like Smith. Some people just aren’t your target audience and that’s OK [Shamless Self Pub: I say that very thing here about my own comedy]. What is dangerous is that Siegel might actually influence someone. Have you seen people gang up on whisperers, cell phone users, and baby bringers in theaters? It’s like Cro-Mags sitting around the lack of fire, one person insults Klaymor and then next thing you know they’re all eating Klaymor and they’re eating him cold because no one has the common courtesy to discover fire.
He should have known that by attracting attention himself in that instance was the worst message he could have possibly sent, aside from a handwritten one that read "I have kidnapped Charles Napier. The ransom is six Charles Napiers".
Siegel fucked up. Smith gave him his medicine. Shit happens.