At the Sundance Film Festival, Kevin Smith’s Red State is finally getting released if not into the wild, at least into a zoo. There are a couple things of note to come out of the screenings.
First, the reviews have been mixed at best. CinemaBlend put together a sort of miniature Rotten Tomatoes, listing the wee little twitter reviews of what they call “established critics.” Other than a handful that amount to “OMG so awesome,” most of the tweets are something along the lines of “tries hard, not terrible, not great.”
Personally, I feel that posting 140 character reviews on twitter should be an automatic disqualification from being “established,” if only because I feel there should be standards of taste. And yes, I did check the Pajiba twitter feed to make sure that Dustin and Seth weren’t doing exactly that before I filed this piece. Can’t be too careful with film critics, they’re an unstable bunch.
Of course, Dustin and Seth didn’t actually get to see Red State because they only allowed 25 members of the press in to see it. Since I can fit more people than that in my living room to watch a movie on my television, I assume this means that they’re screening Red State in a bathroom on Smith’s iPhone. Either that or most of the screening room was reserved for more important people than the press, like members of Congress and Nobel Prize winners. I understand those two groups make up most of the attendance at Sundance. But come on, Kevin, buddy, we’ve always been honest with you, and we’d give you a thousand words, not 140 characters. They might have been bile-filled explosions of rage, but they would have been nuanced and honest, while containing not a single text message acronym or punctuation smiley face.
Second, Kevin Smith confirmed the rumor that Hit Somebody, his hockey movie that seems like it’s been in pre-production since before Clerks was released, will be his last film. Since he’s listed on several other upcoming projects, it’s unclear whether he’s skipping out on those projects, whether he intends on doing the other projects first, or whether this is just more hyperbole. Smith did indicate that he planned to dedicate his time to helping other filmmakers.
Third, Kevin Smith announced at the beginning of the screening that at the end of the film, he would be publicly auctioning off the rights to the film right there in the theater. Instead, once the auction began, Smith bought the rights from himself for $20. He then announced that he was taking the film on a road trip across the country, screening it personally for fans. Presumably some sort of charge will be levied for entry. Ass, grass, or cash, no one watches Red State for free.