Archive for November 26th, 2006

You all wear t-shirts, have dead-end jobs, and live in your parents’ basements
Sunday November 26 2006 @ 2:31 pm

That’s what Orlando Sentinel film critic/blogger Roger Moore thinks, at least. (UPDATE BELOW)

(Mr. Holier-Than-Thou himself)

Yes, on almost the same day that the L.A. Times gave me a nice shout-out for doing something original with new media, via the “Sucks Less” mobisodes…

(photo from the “Sucks Less” shoot, courtesy of the L.A. Times piece)

…Mr. Moore, in one of his latest blog entries (on a blog he calls “Frankly My Dear”; get it? he writes about movies, and that’s a line from a movie), described (rather dismissively) the audience that’s into my stuff (aka, you folks)…

“But the guy’s following is Grateful Dead/Liza Minelli/Ronald Reagan fanatical. The big guy (increasingly so, it would seem from his latest appearances) can do no wrong. They’re captured, in all their still-wearing-t-shirts everywhere, dead-end-job/living in mom’s basement glory in the An Evening With Kevin Smith films, documentaries shot at his long Q & A sessions at colleges, etc.”

Nice, right? Aside from the condescension that drips from painting a three-color portrait of who he thinks digs my flicks (t-shirt-wearing basement creatures like A.O. Scott of the New York Times or the father of “Auteur Theory” Andrew Sarris), Rog manages, as you read, to get in a fat joke. Class act, that Roger Moore.

But let’s set aside, for a moment, poison prose that aspires to New Yorker magazine wit but falls clumsily into Ain’t It Cool News Talkback bile: how can this clown make an unsubstantiated, easily-refuted claim like the following and still call himself a journalist?

“Harvey and Bob Weinstein were probably satisfied with the take on Clerks 2, but he’s done nothing to ensure his career with the last several films.”

Let’s analyze this sentiment: how DOES one ensure a career? Well, two factors loom largest: audience and earnings. Let’s assume Roger’s not suggesting I don’t have an audience, as his piece is predicated on bitch-slapping mine while begrudgingly admitting they exist. Roger, then, must be speaking about the financial track record of my flicks. So if we take his meaning of “the last several” to mean, say, the last three (“Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back”, “Jersey Girl”, and “Clerks II”), couldn’t the man have done a simple Google search to check whether he was on sure-footing in suggesting I’m hurting for business?

I mean, I was able to find this Variety piece (entitled “DVD Spawns a New Star System”) pretty quickly, in which the author writes

“Kevin Smith. Directors can have big DVD followings, too. ‘Jay & Silent Bob’ sold $36 million on DVD after a moderate $30 million in theaters, which may explain why Smith has become a pitchman for Panasonic’s recordable DVD player.”

More recently, as regards “Clerks II”, the other industry Bible, The Hollywood Reporter, ran these two pieces…


And even the much-maligned “Jersey Girl”, which is too-often described as a bomb, really only came up about ten million shy of its production budget in its box office run. Between the TV sale, the foreign sales, and especially, the DVD sales, that deficit was righted… and a profit was eked out.

If anything, with the last several films, I’ve ensured my career pretty well – both with the money people and the audience. I mean, he’s writing about “An Evening with Kevin Smith 2: Evening Harder”; you don’t get to a “2″ if the first edition was met with ambivalence (indeed, doing a sequel to “Evening With” wasn’t even my idea; Columbia Tristar, chuffed with the 300,000-plus units they moved on the inexpensive-to-produce first incarnation, pulled the trigger on “Evening Harder” – just as they had on “Evening With”).

This isn’t the first time ol’ Roger has spent column space puzzling over why I haven’t been banished to movie jail or something. In this August piece talking about the horror movie I’m interested in shooting next year, he wrote “Clerks 2 cost nothing to make ($10 million or so) and earned something less than $25 million. Horror doesn’t cost much. If he’s ever going to get out of the ghetto he’s had built for him (Chasing Amy and Jersey Girl were his best shots), he needs to score a hit in another genre.”

First off, the “Clerks II” budget was five million, not ten (also an easily checked – and well-publicized – fact). Secondly, why does he consider my seven film body of work a “ghetto”? The man implies that I shouldn’t be happy with what I’ve done; that I should be doing more. Why? Should HE be doing more than writing for the Orlando Sentinel? Like, say, writing for the Washington Post on a regular basis (a paper whose Jen Chaney managed to write about “Evening Harder” without looking down her nose at the audience)? No: he’s comfy writing for the Sentinel and being catty on his Sentinel-hosted blog. Why, then, am I somehow not living up to my potential by working comfortably in MY little corner of cinema?

But the closing line of advice in his fan-slamming blog really blows my mind: “Quit wasting your time with the folks who don’t need convincing that you’re the bomb. They’ll buy the video, anyway (as cheap as $20).”

Setting aside the cynical notion that keeping in touch with the audience is all about a quick buck (or even a slow buck) for me, what the fuck is this dude saying? I should be reaching for a different audience than the one that’s supported me and my work for a dozen years now? Why? Doesn’t every filmmaker play to their audience? Doesn’t Spielberg play to his audience? Granted, his audience pushes his flicks to 300 million while mine push my flicks to a tenth of that (at best); but, shit – I’m happy there’s one person watching what I do, let alone a few million. And in terms of the folks who dig what we do at View Askew, I’ve met many of you, and you’re all really cool, really wonderful people. Why should I be courting an entirely different audience, as Roger chides? If I’m happy with my audience, what the fuck’s Roger Moore’s problem with that?

Ask him yourself at Rmoore@Orlandosentinel.Com

Meantime, if you’re one of those t-shirt wearing, dead-end job having, parents’-basement-dwelling cats that Roger poo-poos, you might wanna join us for this, on Tuesday…

Just remember: the last signing we had (on the east coast) was a fourteen hour affair, and the line to get in looked like this.

So if you’re not into crowds, you can simply order Roger’s favorite DVD right here…

(Mention “Roger Moore sent me” and receive a FREE GIFT!)


Roger Moore. The retarded one.

So Roger responded in his blog, now no longer dancing around the topic and instead just flat-out calling folks who’re into what I do “losers”…

“So many angry folks claiming that, hey, I have a good job, teach college, am getting a degree in this or that, and I LOVE Kevin Smith. So much wasted profanity.
All because I trashed their hero’s onstage ramblings in yet another ‘Evening With Kevin Smith’ DVD. And pointed out how they come off in said videos. As losers. Or words to that effect. That’s how they come off. Seriously.”

And for a guy who looks down on “fan-folks”, he proves he’s about as clever as the biggest AICN Talkback troll by including an image of Comic Book Guy from “The Simpsons” – either to represent me or you. This coming from a guy who carps about movies for a living. Give a few of his negative reviews a read and tell me you can’t hear “Worst movie ever” in your head.

According to his bio, “I studied journalism at Radford University and started writing reviews for the college radio station, just as Kael had done at the beginning of her career. ”

And the Pauline Kael comparisons begin and end there. Kael was a master with words and cinema deconstruction. Roger’s a wannabe, cracking wise in a paper with a circulation of about 220,000 (perhaps the paper’s recent drop in circulation has less to do with hotel distribution drying up and more to do with an audience that thinks their paper’s film critic is fucking hapless). In sheer numbers, that means more people will read this blog than will read any one of Roger’s reviews. But, y’know – my “rep” and “hip cachet” are “dwindling”, so what do I know?

Roger writes “But he spends an awful lot of his energy on the radio, or on the web, or sitting in for Roger Ebert and making Richard Roeper look smart, defending his dwindling rep, drawing his adoring masses (not that many hate emails, Kev-bo) near. And doing the college lecture tours. And losing his hip cachet.”

First off, this non-entity (who’s, no-doubt, now doing cartwheels over the notion that someone… ANYONE… is writing/thinking about him, thanks to my blog) is just pissed and jealous that he’s never been asked to sit in on “Ebert and Roeper” once, let alone three times (I’m heading back to Chicago this week to co-host their annual “Worst Of” show – consistently the highest-rated episode of the year). You don’t get invited back unless the reaction from the audience is favorable (thank you “adoring masses”).

Secondly, as for “not that many hate emails, Kev-bo”… well, that’s because they’re all over at the MySpace posting of the blog, Rog. Click on that for 500 responses from all these “losers” you love to shit on.

Thirdly, when folks refer to someone else’s “hip cachet”… that’s a pretty clear indicator that they’re not the person who should be passing judgment on said subject. It’s like those people who will insist to you “Me and my friends are crazy, man! We do crazy shit all the time! We’re nuts!” If you’re telling people you’re wild, then you’re not wild. If you’re telling people that someone else is losing their “hip cachet”, you have no clue what “hip” is or isn’t. Case in point: last year, TV fucking Guide also told me I was losing my “hip cachet”. And TV Guide’s about as far from the cutting edge as you can get. So with two lame outlets like TV Guide and “Frankly My Dear” insisting I’m not hip… well, that instantly makes me hip, doesn’t it?

And, really? Who gives a shit about hip-ness anymore anyway? Even the notion of “hip” isn’t hip anymore. What decade is McFly here writing in, for Christ’s sake? Hey, Rog: like Kael, the ’70′s are gone, sir – stop writing like we’re still in the midst of them.

Roger writes “But I’ve found his REAL work disappointing, of late.” He’s talking about my films. And that’s fine; taste is subjective (besides, on the last flick, he was in the minority). Honestly, Roger liking or not liking my films means shit-all to me (our Orlando per screen average for “Clerks II” was unaffected by his ramblings); it’s the disdain with which he treats my audience that kills me. It’s one thing to dismiss people because they wear t-shirts; as fucking strange (and “square”, to work with terms Roger might be more comfortable using) as that may be (I mean, what’s this guy think they sell in the fucking Gap? Tux jackets?), it says more about Roger (“I don’t wear t-shirts… ever!”) than the people he’s coming down on. But to insist you all have dead-end jobs and live in your parents’ basements just because you’re fans of mine? I mean, what a snobby thing to write.

Does Janet Maslin have a dead-end job?

How about the previously mentioned Andrew Sarris (a guy who very generously – and very foolishly – pegged me as “the next Scorcese”)?

Those are two of the most influential and respected film critics of the last twenty years or more. They’re fans. Are they “losers” as well, Roger?

(And for the record, both Maslin and Sarris have Wikipedia entries; at press time, Roger doesn’t – though I’m sure he’ll correct that immediately).

This is a dude who’d like people to believe I’m ending (or over).

The L.A. Times doesn’t seem to think so.

Neither does the Washington Post.

But, hey – the guy from the Orlando Sentinel wrote it, so it must be true.

Cheer up, Rog – now you know at least one person reads your stupid-ass blog. You can finally silence that nagging little voice that grips you as you post each new entry (hand quivering atop your mouse), saying “Why bother? Nobody’s reading. Nobody knows who the fuck I am. I’m working in a vacuum. Pauline Kael I ain’t. Shit, I’m not even Earl Dittman. Is there anybody out there for me and my two-bit opinions?”

That’d be me, “hip”-ster. That’d be me.