Thursday, August 18, 2011

Kevin Smith's Red State

Kevin Smith has gone on tour showcasing his latest movie, Red State. For the tour he personally introduces the movie, sits at the back of the theater to watch alongside the audience, and then performs a Q&A. He admonishes that this is nothing new as movies such as Gone With the Wind were handled in a similar manner, although he is perhaps the only person in my lifetime to have done so.

Red State was not picked up by a movie studio. Instead of selling his movie for very little and having a third party represent it, Smith opted instead to showcase his movie in the same style that he has been providing his stand-up and Smodcast tours for the past 5+ years. At first Smith had toured extensively across the United States, leaving myself and others wondering if he would ever grace his audiences in Canada with the movie. Sure enough, on August 17th 2011 he did just that in the city of Calgary, Alberta.

I follow Kevin Smith's career with a level of regularity that fits somewhere between the obsessed and the curious. I love pretty much all of his movies equally and for that I am easily pleased with anything he produces. Not surprisingly I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It is not a laugh-a-minute movie like Clerks but more akin to Dogma with a little more dry humor and levity. The story revolves around a hard-lined biblical group in the United States that kidnap three teenagers and as a result the FDA are called out to end the situation, ala Waco. The acting is excellent, which is not surprising as Smith bring out the best in his actors. The storyline is for the most part quite original and engaging with some very memorable moments. The only downside I wish to point out is that (and this is not a spoiler) the preacher has a very lengthy sermon that needed to be edited down. At some point during the sermon I believe the audience was beginning to get lost, however, the sermon does add a great element of fear and trepidation for what would come next. A positive note is that this movie feels like an indy art-house flick, with frayed edges and a richness that can be studied and discussed ad nauseum.

Following the movie Smith entertained the audience with over 2 hours of great commentary on everything from what occurred while and following the filming this picture to events in his personal life, along with answering numerous questions from the audience. In the early phase of this tour Smith was sometime accompanied by actors in the movie, but in this case it was solo Smith. It is hard to not like Smith because he is incredibly personable and real. There is not a moment when you feel that he is up there only for the money or that what he is doing is an act. This is a rare quality that is a driving reason as to why Kevin Smith has become so popular over the past two decades. 

I wholeheartedly recomend anyone reading this blog to go see Kevin Smith on his tour or at the least watch his latest movie Red State once it becomes available on DVD sometime later this fall or early winter.

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