Once upon a time, Kevin Smith decided that he liked “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” so much that he’d copy the cliff notes and paste them on to a recycled fossil of his former glory in the shape of “Clerks” and build himself a brand spankin’ new cult classic. Instead what we get is a movie pandering to teens that is very obviously made by a fifty year old man if he were trying to write like Diablo Cody. I imagine Kevin Smith spent much of his time writing his screenplay for “Yoga Hosers” and promising to cast daughter Harley Quinn in it if she helped with the dialogue and much of the modern colloquialisms. Meanwhile he stuck to what he knew: which is stuff about convenience store clerks, and mocking Canada wholesale. There are shelves of maple syrup in the background, and boxes of cereal like “Cheeri-EHs.” Plus, our two main characters begin their work shift (almost in a subliminal apology to the audience) muttering in repetition “Sawrry Aboot That.”
With “Tusk,” director Kevin Smith completely rips off Stephen King and Tom Six, mixing together “Human Centipede” and “Misery” in to one really awful concoction that I was barely able to make it through. Serving as a simultaneous ad for his crappy podcast, this time rather than James Caan as a respected writer, Justin Long is an amoral moronic podcaster whose own celebrity status has transformed him in to a fame obsessed pseudo-Howard Stern. Much like Kevin Smith. I can only laugh at Smith’s self-congratulatory inference that today’s podcaster is the modern storyteller like the writer. But hey, at least he got to squeeze in obligatory cameos from his and Johnny Depp’s daughter.
If Red State had been the efforts of amateur filmmakers, I’d have chalked it up to being one hell of an try in the horror genre. But knowing Kevin Smith inside and out, I’m inclined to say that Smith seems almost disingenuous in his efforts to create an independent film that may or may not be independent when all is said and done. Smith knows his way around the camera and while I can’t fucking stand a single film from the man, “Red State” is a film that disappointed because the man does nothing with the genre that we haven’t already seen. And he’s working in my genre, the horror genre, so I expected big things from this considerable clunker. Rabid Christian fundamentalists, torture porn, commentary on religion, it’s all on the menu from a god fearing man like Kevin Smith who can never be sure if he’s putting religion to task for corrupting us, or merely just showing that religion has a bad side like it has a good side. “Dogma” was in fact an unbridled celebration of the mythos behind his religion, now “Red State” takes it to task and can never be quite certain what kind of message it’s trying to convey.
With Cinema Crazed gaining more and more access in to the newest films every year, we were able to catch so many movies for 2010 and even with our incessant scramble to watch every possible title out there, we still didn’t have enough time to see it all. With our commitment to reviewing indies and cult cinema first and foremost, we don’t really have the material for these lists until November or December, and then it becomes a mad panic to watch as much as possible to compile this annual list.
Nevertheless, we saw more films in 2010 than in previous years, and many movies earned our spots. Others just didn’t. Many other titles just escaped our memory. So yes, these are lists of the best and worst movies that we’ve seen. Odds are there will be a movie from 2010 in mid-2011 we think should have been apart of the list, regretfully. As with every year we have some new categories, and we hope we inspire such rage in you that you’re able to find it in your heart to leave a vicious anonymous passive aggressive comment on Rotten Tomatoes for one of our reviews. That’s all we ask. Or be ballsy and email us. Come on, we dare you. Or if you’re feeling conversational, send us your own Top 10 and Worst 10 of 2010! We can likely begin a conversation that’s human and polite.
Pardon me while I have a strange interlude: “The King’s Speech” isn’t on any of these lists. The studio didn’t send screeners, it’s only playing in two theaters in New York, and we don’t have the time or effort to seek it out and risk being bored senseless. So forgive us for that. We’re sure it’s a fine movie about a stuttering king, honest. But… we didn’t have the time to find out.
On to the show!
For The Record: This initial essay was prepared in early 2010 and held back in favor of many other articles, but in lieu of Kevin Smith’s new horror film, and the effect my thoughts on Smith had on my writing career of late, I feel this is an apt sign off for 2010, and feel free to offer your own rebuttals.
2010 has been a pretty historic year for movie buffs.
No I’m not talking about the release of “Iron Man 2” or the surge of 3D films, no 2010 will stand as the year that Kevin Smith officially lost his mind and self-destructed before our very eyes. The man who built a legacy on his love for comic books and his ability to create some of the most beloved indie comedies of all time while building a massive fan base of supporters has managed to completely destroy everything he’s set for himself in a matter of literal months. And it was quite astonishing to follow if you were been up to date on Smith’s activities online. I’ve hated mostly everything the man has made but even I couldn’t turn away from the display that is worthy of a reality show on VH1.
In spite of hating almost everything Kevin Smith has ever done, I’ve always given him the benefit of the doubt because he seems like a cool guy. But at the end of the day being a cool guy doesn’t mean you’re going to make a good movie, and “Cop Out” is proof of that. Being just a goon for hire this time, Smith has released quite possibly his worst movie to date, and the very fact that he’s continued to defend it just astounds me. I mean I’ve heard of directors defending their work, but a lemon is a lemon. “Cop Out” is a movie that had the chips stacked against it from the get go. This is not an original Smith production, and it has some of the worst casting of all time.
“Shit, now where am I going to brings girls to fuck?” asks Randall upon witnessing the video store in flames. Gee, how utterly hip, edgy, and hard rock of him to say. Oh Smith, “How doth thou sucketh”, said the lord. Hey, I enjoyed the “Clerks” animated series, but alas that’s as far as my love goes for the “Clerks” franchise extends. The first one was an entertaining albeit mediocre comedy and then movie fans proceeded, and continue to give Smith a continuous hand job in terms of his career that has continued well into his thirties, and “Clerks II” is a listless sequel with the usual cast appearances and pop culture gags that drop like a deflated balloon.
I’m not a fan of Kevin Smith’s movies. And with Ben Affleck, and Jennifer Lopez is featured on the first segment of the movie, not to mention the basic problems with the hype concerning this film, as I went into it, I have to say I was very surprised by what I saw in the end. Though Smith does goes more mainstream with a film that is allegedly based on his life with his kids (If my life was this corny, I’d have blown my brains out long ago), “Jersey Girl” doesn’t set precedent for originality, nor does it really win us over with its sickening sweetness that works against the story rather than for it.