Sometimes people come off as being disagreeable just for the sake of being disagreeable. Maybe they don’t mean to be; maybe they ought to just take a good look at themselves before doing an interview. As a person who (in hindsight) has found herself being contrary for no good reason and later, realized how it can come off to other people, I’d like to tell Kevin Smith it’s time to stop being such an asshole. Just about every Red State interview I’ve read since Sundance has been full of the filmmaker whining about how he’s perceived and what he’s had to go through, but both of those things are somewhat under his own control.
In a new interview, Smith asserts that he’s quitting film after he makes his next feature (Hit Somebody), saying that he wants to go out on top. But I’m not sure who, other than Smith, thinks he’s on top. If he really does quit, I think it will have more to do with self-doubt than going out on a high. The interview reads like a session with a petulant teenager, certain he is smarter than anyone else and defiant for no reason other than to be defiant. I do admire the reporter’s restraint.
You really have to read the whole interview to get the full effect of the director’s contrariness, but to sum it up, “No,” “No, never” and “No.” After various reports of Smith “imploding” at Sundance because his film wasn’t necessarily well received and he didn’t get the support he was looking for, the director is overly defensive and doesn’t even seem to understand when the interviewer is being complimentary. While anyone can understand disillusionment with the movie industry and a filmmaker’s need and desire to do something his own way, Smith has been around too long now to not realize he is in the game. And being in the game means that when you don’t win or things don’t go your way, you don’t revert to five year old behavior, throw your stick and stomp off. After all this time, you can’t still be playing naive. You can’t still be standing there saying, “It’s my way or I quit!” You can’t still be thinking it’s everyone else and not you. Kevin Smith, it’s time to pull up your big boy pants and act like a man. You don’t have to schmooze up every dickhead in Hollywood, but you just might need a few friendly faces. While some people might admire your tenacity, trying to go against the machine and get your movie out to the people in a new way, your pissy attitude could cause just as many to turn away. If you really want to say something, you still have to have someone on your side willing to listen. And at this point, if they read anything about you, I’d guess that’s difficult for even your most fervent fans.
Kevin Smith is currently on his Red State prescreening tour; the film will be released October 19, 2011.