Kevin Smith Gets Critical
Kevin Smith is giving a big thumbs-down to ABC’s Good Morning America’s mustachioed movie reviewer, Joel Siegel, after the latter reportedly stormed out of a New York press screening of Clerks II, upset about its lewd content.
According to the New York Post, Siegel stood up about 40 minutes into a preview showing earlier this week disgusted by a scene in which the characters conduct a frank discussion about hiring a woman to get down and dirty with a donkey for a party. The newpaper said Siegel loudly proclaimed, “Time to go!” to his fellow media types and then stomped toward the exits.
“First movie I’ve walked out of in 30 [expletive] years!” the Post quotes him saying of the sequel, which follows the continuing misadventures of two convenient store slackers 10 years after audiences discovered them in the 1994 indie sensation Clerks.
“It was so foul and mean and repulsive. I finally realized I could not say anything positive,” he said to the Post. “I wasn’t ready for this kind of smut…I hope he doesn’t make any more movies.”
And with that Smith, who wrote and directed Clerks II and reprises his role as Silent Bob, became anything but quiet on his blog at SilentBobSpeaks.com, unleashing an expletive-filled rant over Siegel’s remarks.
“As Paul Thomas Anderson once said of the man, getting a bad review from Siegel is like a badge of honor,” Smith writes, adding that he was as “delighted by this news as I was with the eight-minute standing ovation Clerks II received” at the Cannes Film Festival.
Smith says he doesn’t blame Siegel for feeling “revolted” by the donkey show–the Associated Press, for example, said of the scene in question, “Smith leaps brazenly into the abyss…It goes too far for too long and Smith just does not know when to rein it in (if you’ll pardon the pun)”–but the filmmaker takes exception to Siegel making a “big stink about walking out” and disrupting the screening of other members of the press.
“How about a little common f–king courtesy?,” Smith writes. “Never mind the fact that when you’re paid to watch movies for a living and the only tasks required of you are to a) sit through said movies and b) write your thoughts about them before your deadline, walking out before a movie’s over is pretty unprofessional.”
He concludes by saying that he really, truly doesn’t hate Siegel and was happy to learn the critic survived a recent bout with cancer, but still labeled his behavior “unconscionable” and “unethical.”
Siegel was unavailable for comment Wednesday.
Siegel’s antics aside, early reviews for the sequel, which opens Friday, have been wildly mixed. The review aggregating site RottenTomatoes.com gives the film a 63 percent “fresh” rating based on eight reviews, five of which were positive and three “rotten.”
Here a quick recap of some of the early notices.
– “Politically incorrect raspberries and the umpteenth appearance of Jay and Silent Bob aside, a gentle feeling of nostalgia pervades this hit-or-miss sequel, which relocates the gang to the ninth circle of fast-food restaurant hell,” writes Justin Chang in Daily Variety. “Clerks cultists will need no kicks in the groin to step up to the counter for this second go-round.”
– “Smith finds himself back at the top of his game, especially after his most recent offerings,” says the Associated Press’ Christy Lemire. “Clerks II goes disastrously awry in the third act–almost irreparably so–but before that, when the insults are flowing and the graphic banter is crackling, the film frequently achieves a rhythm that’s hilariously infectious.”
– Arnold Blumberg of Now Playing magazine praises Clerks II as a “pleasant, affectionate look back at the characters that gave [Smith] his start, and a somewhat moving portrait of present-day thirtysomethings trying to make sense of their place in the world.”
– “Here’s hoping that Clerks II, Smith’s most hilarious, emotionally honest and poetic (yes, poetic) film will be immediately recognized as the great movie that it is,” opines Kevin LaForest of the Montreal Film Journal.
– Then there’s Village Voice critic Robert Wilonsky who calls the film “little more than a recycling effort. If the footage weren’t in color this time and if the actors reprising their roles were a little thinner, you’d swear this outing was cobbled together from outtakes.” But, he predicts, “the fans will eat it up.”
– Sean Burns of the Philadelphia Weekly pans the follow-up as “lacking the grubby authenticity of its predecessor, the movie feels clueless and out of touch. Sometimes you can’t go home again.”
Kevin Smith Gets Critical