With his new film “Red State,” Smith continues to march to the beat of his own drummer, buying his distribution rights for his own film, allowing him to decide exactly when and where “State” will be released. With Smith detractors stating that Smith is “imploding his career” by his D.I.Y. attitude, the real answer could be just as simple as Smith finally having enough with the current studio system. And justifiably so: Smith has been burned numerous times by major studios.
While “Clerks” is the film that ultimately goes down as Smith’s debut, the idea for “Dogma” came first. Smith, having a personal crisis of faith at the time, decided to take his frustrations out on paper, crafting an incredibly clever and funny screenplay. By the time “Dogma” was set to be released in late 1999, religious groups such as the Christian Coalition went into a fury demanding that Touchstone Pictures, owned by Disney, drop the film from their release schedule.
Disney caved and “Dogma” was without a home. Enter little-known releasing company Lions Gate Films, who had the foresight and courage to put the film into limited release in November 1999. “Dogma” was a moderate success but didn’t receive the major breakthrough success Kevin Smith deserved.
And for more recent history, while Smith won his appeal to make sure “Zach and Miri Make a Porno” was R-rated, theater owners and advertisers refused to run a film with “porno” in the title. The film ended up as a Hollywood anomaly; having two different titles, making sure the film would fail.
Why has Smith had this much trouble?
The hate his genius and the fact that although his films lack any real technical flair, his ability to write characters as real people with real emotions make “better” filmmakers quiver. If you want technical flair without any intelligence, rent a Michael Bay film. If you want neither, rent “Twilight.”
If you want to be entertained, rent “Clerks,” “Mallrats,” “Chasing Amy,” “Dogma,” or “Clerks 2.” Any one of those films has more heart and passion than any piece of garbage Hollywood produced this summer.
So, there it is. Kevin Smith is one of the elite screenwriters in Hollywood today. After all the wrongs committed against him by major studios, Smith has decided to stick up the middle finger at normal conventions and do things his way.
And as far as I’m concerned, that’s what audiences need more of in the desert of stupidity that is Hollywood.