I didn’t like Cop Out. There weren’t a lot of people who did. But I honestly think it’s been one of the best things to happen to Kevin Smith in a while. The mountains of bad press that Kevin Smith has received from Cop Out (and that stupid Southwest Airlines story) and his Twitter fallout has, in a way, made Kevin Smith as relevant as he’s been in years. Granted, I thought initially that he was a little abrasive with the way he handled the situation — he was kind of being a dick — but as a movie critic, I was too close to really appreciate what he’s doing here.
The reality, I think, is that it’s revitalized him. He’s got an enemy now (critics and movie bloggers), and I think people are best when they’re working against something or someone, the way that Newt Gingrich, for instance, saved Bill Clinton’s second term. Kevin Smith is lashing out at critics and bloggers. And a lot of the reasons he’s doing so make sense. And while it’s harder to see that from inside our little insular world, the majority of moviegoers are in that same “fuck the critics” camp. We always dug Smith because he was the kind of guy to say, “Fuck the man. Fuck the system.” “Fuck the critic” seems like the right addendum to that — when I’m not being one, I often feel the same way. He doesn’t need critics, and right now — with Red State being picked up for Sundance, and his hockey movie going into production soon — Smith is not only being as productive as he’s been in a while, he’s doing it without relying on his View Askew universe. Cop Out may have given him the separation he needed to move on to the next phase.
But more than that, his go fuck yourself attitude is refreshing. Movie critics and bloggers may not yield that much real influence in terms of actual box office dollars, but it’s rare that a guy has the balls to tell them to go fuck themselves. And critics and bloggers need to be told to go fuck themselves every once in a while. That fat fuck is going to be a champion to the anti-press crowd; the shame is, he’s not going to get much press for it. At least not the positive kind.
Of course, if Red State, which debuts in January at Sundance, is received well, maybe this will all be forgotten. I’ve certainly allowed myself to move past Cop Out and look forward to it. I mean, come on: John fucking Goodman, people.
Speaking of which, here are three new images from the flick: