Friday, November 24, 2006

DVD Review: An Evening with Kevin Smith

I’ve always been a fan of Kevin Smith’s writing. I know, technically he is thought of as a director, but for me it’s really the dialog that makes his movies – the things his characters say are so smart and outlandish that the true pleasure is really in listening to Smith’s movies.

So I was prepared to watch An Evening with Kevin Smith to hear the wit I have come to know, love, and admire. I have to tell you, I felt incredibly ripped off.

The Kevin Smith of “An Evening” has proven to me that Smith is smarter and funnier than any of his movies, and I take personal offense that the son-of-a-bitch and I have never crossed paths and had a cup of coffee and discussed any fucking thing in the universe.

It’s an amazing thing to watch a celebrity talk to college students, answering their throw-away and serious questions with a ready wit: mocking stupid questions, encouraging the few bright ones and creating a dialog with the questioner, and generally telling hoards of college jocks and stoners the truth.

He doesn’t hold back. When he is asked a question he doesn’t blink or blush or flinch. He tells the story. He talks about having a gay brother, and what it means to him as a filmmaker to include storylines for the gay community, because his brother mentioned early in Smith’s career that mainstream movies don’t offer much to anyone outside the boy-girl love story. He talks about his influences, his choices, his relationships – everything is fair game.

Smith is so frank, in fact, that several times I felt myself squirming over the volume of detailed information provided. Not in the length of the stories. Not in their telling –for surely Smith is a gifted story-teller. The details themselves though…my god the things this man is willing to share about his life and his penis are quite impressive.

I cannot imagine that Smith has a handler of any sort, because Smith just comes out and gives straight answers. There’s no dodging. There’s no sugar-coating. I can’t imagine any A or B-lister ever getting up on stage and telling hoards of college boys to suck his dick, or describing in detail about his first time sleeping with his wife – it would be an Oprah couch moment.

And maybe that’s a huge part of Smith’s charm. He’s a regular guy. Only he’s smarter than most of the people I encounter, and he’s damn funnier. Listening to Smith reminded me of being back in grad school, having late-night coffee chats at an all-night diner with my friends, talking about everything from 17th century literature to various sexual techniques and preferences. There’s something about spending time with an old friend who makes you laugh so hard you think you’ll simultaneously vomit and pee. Good times.

An Evening with Kevin Smith is an evening well spent. Like all Smith offerings, I give it a 5/5 on what you will hear – don’t focus on the production values.

AV Rating: 5/5 Stars


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