Tuesday, September 04, 2012
The Good, The Bland, and The Ugly: Kevin Smith
Posted by Courtney Small
The premise of this is simple: if someone, who knows little about the director/actor/etc. in question, asked you to select one film for each of the following three categories below what films would they be?:
1) The Good – A film they should seek out right away
2) The Bland – Not among the best, but still a film they should see.
3) The Ugly – If pressed for time, this is the one film that they should skip in order to squeeze in more hours for the top works.
Keeping this in mind, my three would be as follows:
The Good – Kevin Smith is a director that seems to divide film lovers. I know just as many people who sing his praises as those who detest him. Though he has turned his attention to podcasting and producing films and television shows, Smith is a director whose films I have watched more times than I can count. Chasing Amy still tops the list for me, not only is it his best film but it is one of my top ten favourite films. The film tells the story of two comic book creators Holden McNeil (Ben Affleck) and Banky Edwards (Jason Lee) who find their friendship at a crossroads when Holden falls in love with Alyssa Jones (Joey Lawrence Adams), who happen to be a lesbian. While not ground breaking from a technical standpoint, Smith’s script creates a bittersweet romance that is both hilariously quotable and deeply touching.
The Bland – Though I re-watched Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back recently, a film that is silly enough to fit this spot, the obvious choice for me is Jersey Girl. The film takes endless flack but I did not find the film to be all that bad. Sure it does not reach the heights of Chasing Amy, but I respect the fact that Smith was trying to branch out into more mature fare. The story of a man (Ben Affleck) struggling to learn how to be a good father and move on with his life, after his wife dies during childbirth, is one with universal appeal. The problem is that the film unfairly got caught up in the Ben Affleck/Jennifer Lopez backlash from Gigli. Jersey Girl may not be a film that is up there with Smith’s best works, but it is far from his worst.
The Ugly - Cop Out. I know some of Smith’s defenders will quickly point out that this is the only film that he did not write himself. However, that still does not justify how bad the film is. On paper a buddy cop comedy starring Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan may sound like a winner, but the final product is far from it. The plot is a mess and the action sequences are surprisingly dull. This is especially disappointing when you consider that the cast featured the comedic likes of Kevin Pollack, Fred Armisen, Seann William Scott, Jason Lee, Rashida Jones, and Michelle Trachtenberg. Frankly there was too much comedic talent in Cop Out for the film to turn out as poorly as it did.
What films would you select for each category? Let us know in the comments section.