The SmarK DVD Rant for An Evening With Kevin Smith
– As has been established, I’m sure, a million times over by now, I am a huge Kevin Smith nut of the highest order, having been introduced to Mallrats by my friend Jae years back and never looking back since. Smith has a weird kind of cult of personality around him, sort of like Quentin Tarantino except with more stoners, making him into a kind of pop culture dictator for the slacker generation. But unlike Tarantino, who made hundreds of millions on his movies and became a Hollywood hanger-on, Smith has remained on the margin, making movies that are decidedly counterculture and still true to his visions of what he wants to put on the screen. Well, except for Mallrats, but he was young and foolish.
For those unfamiliar with Smith, his movies are filled with burnout slackers and comic book readers who have dialogue that goes on forever and is filled with enough pop culture references to choke Dennis Miller. All of them take place in New Jersey, and generally focus on a pair of drug dealers named Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (played by Smith himself). That being said, if you’re not a fan of Kevin already, then stop reading and find another DVD to buy, because this isn’t going to be interesting for you in the least.
Shot at a series of colleges in 2002, this is a 2-disc, 4 hour compilation of Q&A sessions where Smith takes questions from a rabid audience and generally gives rambling and hilarious answers that sometimes (but not always) have something to do with the original question and frequently turn into hilarious back-and-forth insults with particularly stoned, weird or drunk questioners. The chapters are broken down into the stories told by Smith in the course of answering the questions, and here’s the highlights
– Kevin talking about his lack of acting ability
– A funny story about trying to get Ben Affleck to do the upcoming Jersey Girl movie, only to have the producers of Daredevil steal him away.
– Jason Mewes joins him onstage for some questions and gets into arguments with stoned audience members.
– The origins of Jay & Silent Bob
– Kevin has a surreal conversation with a gay fan who’s in love with Jason.
– Kevin details the story of Jason’s near-miss with marriage and the unexpected result of the proposal.
– Kevin talks about his history with Scott Mosier.
– Why the movies aren’t based on his real life.
– His parents and what they think about the movies.
– The whole Dogma controversy and a hilarious story about protesting his own movie.
– Kevin gets into a rather interesting conversation with a lesbian fan who didn’t like Chasing Amy.
– Run-ins within the industry.
– The epic and hilarious story of what happened to Smith’s Superman script, and what it’s like to deal with hairdresser-turned-producer Jon Peters. This is one of the absolute must-see segments of the DVD if you’re a fan.
– This segues into his “legal battle” (tee-hee) with Tim Burton over Planet of the Apes and how their feud started.
– Kevin talks about how his lack of style defines his style.
– The origins of Snoochie Boochie, thus making you realize what a loser Jason Mewes used to be.
– Marijuana discussions, including the photo shoot with High Times.
– Kevin’s first date with future wife Jen, including a painfully true and funny story about how sex isn’t always as glamorous as the movies.
– The show is interrupted by five guys trying to get in via the side-door, who are then made to entertain the audience for their tickets.
– The absolutely amazing Prince story, which pretty much brings the house down, as Kevin details meeting Prince and trying to make a documentary for him, before discovering what a nutjob the guy really is.
– Kevin & Jason do a cameo on Scream 3, and Jason gets overly excited about the pay.
– And finally, Kevin talks about the future of Jay & Silent Bob.
That’s just the highlights. There’s way more here, with Kevin going on for 10 or 20 minutes per question sometimes. I can’t even do justice to the stories told by Smith, so all I gotta say is that if you’re a fan and want to hear all the inside stories on the death threats surrounding Dogma and money problems with Chasing Amy and TONS of funny stories about Affleck and Mewes, this is an easy recommendation. Kevin has an easy manner about him and keeps the audience in his hand the whole time (with the occasional argument with the audience keeping things entertaining even when the morons step up to the microphone), although it’s a bit jarring to switch from one college to another via editing between questions.
Shot in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, although it’s not really necessary, this is a great looking transfer compared to what would normally be required. I would have been happy with full screen shot on video, but this is filmed and presented in all his hi-def glory.
Plain 2.0 Dolby stereo. Again, unless you’re desperately interested in hearing the audience mixed to the rear speakers, that’s all that’s necessary and 5.1 would have been a total waste of time. Kevin comes through loud and clear.
Officially, you get trailers for Dogma, Spider-Man, the Stan Lee DVD (another great pickup for Smith fans, by the way, as he interviews Lee in a fascinating two hour interview) and Mr. Deeds. Unofficially, there’s a few Easter eggs, which you can find by selecting the sub-menus for languages and chapters and arrowing down and/or over until you’ve highlighted objects on the screen that look conspicuously placed. These unlock additional clips of audience questions to Smith, such as one hilarious question about advice on avoiding how to get screwed in the back seat of a Volkswagen (Mallrats fans will immediately get that one). For a full list of the accessible extra footages, check out DVD Review here: http://www.dvdreview.com/eastereggs/collect/454.html
The Film: *****
The Video: ***
The Audio: ***
The Extras: ***